How we became the world's first zero carbon company to have our climate goal approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative
"We're walking the talk on sustainability and showing first-hand the benefits of aligning sustainability to business value by setting science-based targets." Paul Lewis, CEO of Carbon Credentials
When the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) put out a call-to-action in 2016, we were eager to respond. As a zero carbon company we wanted to demonstrate our continued commitment by setting an ambitious science-based target. Over 550 companies have committed to setting a target, and we have now joined the 200+ of these who have had targets approved by the SBTI.
In the UK, 99% of all businesses are small-medium enterprises like Carbon Credentials (companies with fewer than 250 employees), but so far, less than 1% of those organisations that have had their targets approved by the SBTI are SMEs.
What have we committed to?
Based on the criteria set out by the SBTi, we have committed to four targets to achieve by 2030.
MAINTAIN ZERO SCOPE 1 AND 2 EMISSIONS, NO FUELS AND PROCURING RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY TARIFF
REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM PURCHASED GOODS & SERVICES BY -65% PER £ MILLION ADDED VALUE
ENGAGE WITH TOP 30% OF SUPPLIERS TO SET OWN SCIENCE-BASED TARGETS
REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM BUSINESS TRAVEL BY -40% PER P-KM
How will we do it?
Each target comes with their own associated action that we have identified.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO POWER OUR OFFICE WITH RENEWABLES
OUR TELECOMS AND OUR ONLINE DATA STORAGE WILL BE POWERED BY RENEWABLES
WE WILL IDENTIFY AND ENGAGE WITH TARGETED SUPPLIERS
WE WILL OPT FOR GREENER MODES OF BUSINESS TRAVEL E.G. RAIL
First steps: establish baseline
Base-lining seeks to quantify relevant and material emission sources. We found that our overall environmental impact comes from scope 3 sources, which we modelled in detail; our scope 1 and 2 emissions are zero because the office is powered by renewable energy and we don’t consume fuels.
Set ambitious scope 3 targets
The SBTi requires that companies set emission reduction targets that collectively cover at least 2/3s of scope 3 emissions. We identified the emission reduction actions before setting our targets, to ensure our commitments were achievable and appropriate to our operations.
Internal Approval: Building the Business Case
To prove to our management team that an SBT wouldn’t limit growth, we developed an achievable, costed-up strategy. Asking three key questions allowed us to pitch our proposals: What if we don’t adopt a target? What if we don’t achieve it? What are the pros & cons?
Board approval was followed by a thorough official validation process. Targets were assessed by the SBTi Review Team and approved by the Target Validation Team with the issuing of the coveted SBTi decision letter.
We then determined that these six scope 3 categories were relevant and calculated their materiality:
PURCHASED GOODS AND SERVICES
FUEL AND ENERGY-RELATED ACTIVITIES
UPSTREAM TRANSPORTATION AND DISTRIBUTION
For guidance on how you company can join the mission to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and our well-equipped science-based target setting team can talk you through the process.