As businesses increasingly speak out on their sustainability initiatives, carbon tracking is something we hear more and more about. You may have heard a lot of noise about it from one particular business travel agency? Staying informed and accountable on your business’ carbon footprint is beneficial not only to the planet, but to the strength, endorsement, and longevity of your business.
At its core, carbon accounting’s purpose is to ultimately limit and reduce carbon emissions in order to mitigate the effects of global warming and remain within theParis Agreement aim to limit temperature rise to a target of 1.5°c maximum.
But with this one big goal comes a range of opportunities for businesses to improve their operations. Carbon accounting can empower businesses not only to remain compliant and on track with sustainability initiatives, but also to minimise risk, reduce inefficiency and ultimately build brand equity.
First things first, what’s carbon tracking?
Carbon tracking can be defined as“a comprehensive way to measure and track carbon emissions from direct and indirect sources”. Through this, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be calculated from each area of the business, offering an idea of your business footprint and highlighting the optimum areas to make reductions.
In best practice, tracking is followed by reporting. Quantifying the data collected helps to create clear inter-company comparisons, benchmark for future reports and give overall transparency. In order to demonstrably, authentically map impact and progress versus carbon incentives, it’s important to ensure that reporting of carbon data occurs on a quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis.
Top line - it’s the right thing to do
As a society, we’ve got some sh*t to sort out. This year, global average atmospheric CO2 levels have been the highest ever recorded, so it’s no surprise that no countries are currently on track to meet these temperature mitigations. Despite 70%of UK businesses claiming they have plans in place to ‘become sustainable’, it’s estimated that 90%don’t track their carbon footprint. Only 41%of UK businesses are prepared to transition to Net Zero by 2050 - effective emissions analyses could play a huge role in raising this number.
As businesses, carbon tracking and reporting are essential in doing our bit to turn these stats around. If we can keep the global temperature rise to below 2o, most tipping points could be avoided. We need
Net Zero to do this, which requires significant GHG reductions and science-based targets. Quantifying the metrics of your business’s carbon footprint outlines your emissions contribution and defines the next steps needed to improve and tackle climate change.
Show your people you care
Ultimately, being a good business is good business. The more you can consistently demonstrate your economic, social and environmental sustainability value, the more success you’ll have in attracting customers, and maintaining long term relationships with them.
When it comes to making sustainability claims and promises, people are increasingly sceptical and wised up. Without having a track record of tangible data, you could be subject to accusations of greenwashing- a tarnishing activity which 49% of consumers believe brands are guilty of, and 50% of consumers will stop buying from a company for.
Having an accountability framework of this type is fundamental to maintain a competitive edge for all stakeholders involved. -From consumers, to investors, to employees, this transparent approach to business is the bread and butter of the new age. It’s an effective incentive to deliver on climate pledges, and for people to back you while you do it.
Become increasingly smart with your operations
Depending on which way you go about your carbon tracking, there are business opportunities way beyond emissions data. In analysing the full scope of your business practices, across your Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, you can produce a full audit of your business activities, highlighting ways to optimise your practices, including logistics, expenses, turnover, waste, efficiency and your overall outputs. In short, this can be a sure fire way to get a better financial performance.
Get ahead of the game
88% of consumers would like brands to support them in making conscious choices. If you provide them with examples demonstrating just how committed you are now, and in the future, you can capture these increasingly conscious people and save them a load of time in putting in the research to find your commitments.
It’s not just customers on the lookout for data. Although it’s not yet mandatory for all businesses, legal requirements of climate impact disclosure reports are very much on the horizon for companies of all sizes. The EU requires large firms for regularly published reports on the social and environmental impacts of their business.
Staying accountable could send investment your way
Regulators and investors globally are increasingly demanding businesses to disclose their carbon emissions, and having this data to hand shows accountability, forward planning and a conscious approach to business. Companies refusing to do so have been called out by CDP as “becoming increasingly out of touch with reality, investor and public opinion” due to increased weighting of initiatives in comparable, consistent and clear sustainability data to cultivate investment decision making.
It's a no brainer
In a bid to attain the targets we’re currently missing, we need to make the most of accounting technologies to track and verify our carbon emissions. They’re readily available to anybody looking for them. For example at COCO+, we can track and give you a full analysis of your business travel carbon, a Scope 3 footprint which is estimated to be 53% of total business emissions. We’re kind of geeks for it, feel free to request a demo from us.
The bottom line is, if you want to be taken seriously by consciously minded consumers, generate investment, or generally do the right thing, carbon tracking is the way to go. The culture of trust that is able to be built is boundless. Companies who admit and analyse failure are the future, especially ones who transparently include all stakeholders in their improvement journey. There’s a big challenge ahead of us, and this is one of the key ways we can tackle it together. Get counting!