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Net Zero – What’s In It For Me?

The content for the first Everlution blogs of 2022 is to be provided by CarbonView with the first one found at and reproduced here:

This series of four blogs is designed as a trip through the net zero process, assisting you to understand how the process can increase the profitability of your SME with reduced overheads and enhanced corporate image.

The series is dynamic, bringing you up-to-date information and the latest news in all aspects of carbon accounting, carbon reductions and carbon offsetting.

Combining the information pro-offered in different public reports it may well be that the budget for 1.5°C global warming has already been exceeded and that to keep warming to 2°C warming there must be an immediate reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions from the present 36 gigatonnes per annum to a maximum of 25 gigatonnes per annum.

There will also need to be drastic cuts in other common greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases.

To achieve this, it will be imperative that organisations worldwide begin to achieve net zero status now, with immediate programs to get there sooner rather than later.

Not least of concern for SMEs is the heightened level of risk that comes with climate change. This could be financial, regulatory, supply chain, product & technology, compliance/litigation and reputational risk).

Establishing a net zero regime could be categorised as a control to help remove or reduce climate change risk.

So what does the term net zero mean?

It can be described by formula:

Net zero =  Carbon footprint – Carbon offsets

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon emissions a business is responsible for in its trading operations. Carbon offsets are created in programs that are responsible for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.

Both carbon emissions and carbon offsets are counted in tonnes.

The steps to net zero can be summarized as follows:

  1. Calculate the organisation’s carbon footprint.

  2. Put in place a plan to minimize the organisation’s carbon footprint i.e. reduce its emissions.

  3. Commence acquiring eligible carbon offsets annually equal to the organisation’s annual carbon footprint.

The fortunate part about the net zero process is that it has inherent advantages for your SME operation as it:

  1. Informs owners/managers of what are the carbon emissions of their SME.

  2. Highlights inefficient processes.

  3. Indicates ways their carbon footprint can be reduced profitably.

  4. Enhances corporate social responsibility & ESG credentials.

  5. Positions the SME to meet customer/tender ESG requirements.

For example, if the SME’s carbon footprint is 1000 tonnes of carbon emissions for the 2021 financial year, we have not only established a base year of carbon emissions, but we also know where the emissions have come from.

So let’s work backwards to establish feasible reduction targets for the next five years. We can do this by looking at each category of emission.

Let’s suppose the diesel use of the delivery vans represents over half of the carbon footprint i.e. 550 tonnes of carbon emissions directly from the tailpipes of the vans. That is what can be titled a hotspot. The question then is, what can I do to reduce those emissions and save money in the process?

Some suggested steps could be to investigate:

  1. Opportunities for making the delivery runs more efficient.

  2. Use of biodiesel.

  3. Electric vehicle (EV) upgrade program.

Of course, it is important to build the business case for each option. For instance, the case development for an EV upgrade would include the calculation of internal rate of return of new acquisitions, the feasibility for a renewal energy source to charge the EVs or green power cost etc.

Line-by-line the carbon footprint can be reviewed and options explored with the objective of decreasing each category of emission. From there, short and long term targets can be set. A common timeframe is over a five-year period.

Achieving targets of carbon emission reduction will invariably lead to reduced expenses in the profit & loss statement, and hence, more profit. However, the chances of further expense reductions and heightened revenue streams are also very real.

There is ample evidence that staff wellbeing and productivity are improved when employees know their employer is taking action to help the environment, especially in relation to that company’s operations.

Further, the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2019 indicates that potential employees increasingly have moral concerns about how green an organisation is. Amongst millennials from around the world, climate change and protecting the environment is their top concern.

Deloitte’s findings also suggest younger workers are looking for more than just good pay, and “show deeper loyalty to employers who boldly tackle the issues that resonate with them most, such as protecting the environment”.

Staff buy-in is essential too in the net zero journey, like turning off lights and computers at the end of the day or using recycling bins come down to the behaviour of staff.

The other issue that is on the rise is the greenwashing claim and its damage to company reputations. A proper net zero program will ensure an SME has control over carbon emission claims.

EV News

Audi recently unveiled a new way to add urban charging options, based around modular “hubs” that include charging stations and airport-like lounges.

Such hubs could provide an option for drivers who can’t charge at home, and could handle anticipated future demand for charging in urban areas, Audi said in a press release. The automaker said it planned to open a pilot charging hub at the Nuremberg Exhibition Center in Germany December 23.

The hub is composed of cubes that can be assembled and disassembled in a few days, according to Audi. They contain DC fast-charging stations, which are powered by second-life battery packs from dismantled Audi development vehicles.

The battery packs’ 2.45 MWh of storage capacity means stations don’t need a high-voltage connection to the grid, reducing cost and complexity, Audi noted. A  200-kilowatt low-voltage connection will suffice, while solar panels provide up to 30 kw of additional power, the automaker said.

This setup powers six charge points at up to 320 kw, according to Audi. That’s enough to allow an E-Tron GT to charge its maximum 270-kw rate, the automaker noted. It’s also enough to handle charging 80 cars per day, Audi claims.

At the Nuremberg site, customers can sign a charging contract with a flat price of 31 cents per kwh, regardless of charging rate. That’s competitive with electricity prices for home charging, according to Audi. The hub also supports the Plug and Charge protocol.

The hub also includes a 2,153-square-foot lounge, complete with a 431-square-foot patio, so drivers have a place to hang out while their cars charge. While it remains a pilot program, the charging hub could address real issues with urban EV driving.

As we’ve noted many times in the past, while the suburbs are great for EVs, urban owners have an entirely more difficult set of barriers – not just that they have a parking space, but that they have a charger there they can plug into each night.

Meanwhile siting DC fast-charging stations is challenging, and battery buffering plays a key role in helping reduce the reliance on grid location. EVgo has been one of the only DC fast-charging networks focusing on urban fast-charging needs rather than road-trip waypoints.

General Motors is looking to its dealerships for more Destination Chargers in urban areas, but those will be Level 2 for rates you’d likely use only occasionally.

Shell-owned Ubitricity has devised charging hardware that can fit into streetlight costs, providing charging access to street-parked cars, but it’s only planning to deploy it in the United Kingdom so far. The goal is 50,000 stations by the end of 2025.

CTI courses hosted by Ecoprofit

As climate change events increase in number and ferocity, so does climate change risk for businesses and organisations. To remove or control this risk, organisations need to be equipped with the right practical knowledge.

Carbon Training International (CTI) offers courses that give clear direction to understand how to deal with climate change risk, including a comprehensive understanding of the term net zero.

CTI courses include Strategic Carbon Management, Carbon Accounting, Carbon Offsetting, Carbon Accounting/Offsetting combined, Applied Energy Efficiency and Reducing Fleet Emissions.

You can easily enrol in one of CTI’s online webinar courses at:

Just choose your preferred course and course start date. Extra course dates can be arranged.

The good news: carbon emissions and business costs are linked. The more an organisation reduces its carbon emissions the more it reduces its costs.

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