Moving from ambition into action with our decarbonisation strategy

At COP28, all eyes will be on whether the world is on course to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s 2030 climate goals, and how we can partner across society to do so. In this op-ed BSI’s group sustainability director Ghinwa Chammas looks at how businesses can accelerate action.

Moving from ambition into action with our decarbonisation strategy

While there is undoubtedly a great deal yet to be done to accelerate progress towards a sustainable world, it’s positive to see people now recognize the importance of this. In BSI’s research, 82% of the consumers and Small Medium Enterprises surveyed said sustainability is important to society, with acting to address climate change being considered the priority.

At BSI, shaping a better society and more sustainable world is our north star. Equally, we know that many organizations are still uncertain about what this means in practice. In BSI’s most recent Net Zero Barometer only a third of small businesses said they were extremely confident about how to reach net zero.

This is a journey BSI is also on, having publicly committed to achieving net zero in our own operations by 2030, giving us only a few short years to reduce our scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 90% and our Scope 3 by 42% within the same timeframe, against our 2022 baseline. By sharing the lessons we have learned so far, we aim to support other organizations as they consider how to move from ambition to action.

  1. Quality Data

To set and achieve a goal, there needs to be a clear picture of where you currently stand, and a consistent, credible way to track progress. High quality data enables accurate and measurable goal setting and projections. For example, at BSI, we formalized our carbon reporting systems by moving from employee-compiled spreadsheets to our Connect Climate platform. This reduced time spent analysing data while increasing data accuracy, transparency, and consistency. Our teams now have a better view of our progress against yearly targets.

  1. Ownership and Transformation

Reducing an organization’s carbon footprint involves transformational change and shared responsibility. In 2023, we gave our leadership teams ownership and accountability for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction by implementing a Carbon Allowance Model, introducing a carbon budget for each team.  The model is a flexible framework which allows teams to focus on their top priorities – supporting a diverse and mature approach to reaching GHG reduction goals. We have directly linked these budget targets to leadership incentives and bonus remuneration.

Also, our materiality assessment identified where net zero needed to be embedded in our organization.

  1. Engagement

Goals and data provide the foundation, however people are responsible for activation and results. BSI’s Operational Sustainability Excellence team invest time in developing relationships across the organization via face-to-face interaction, building trust, inspiring action and opening dialogue.

  1. Global Consistency

To successfully make progress, especially in a global organization, all divisions, markets, regions, and teams must commit to shared goals. To achieve this, in 2022, BSI achieved global certification for Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001), helping us build global alignment, manage our impact more effectively and consistently, and reduce risks.

We are proud to share insights from BSI’s journey to inspire others. Ultimately, setting a foundation that generates quality data, engages employees, instils collective ownership and facilitates consistency can help us accelerate progress to a better future and a sustainable world.

Learn more about our journey to net zero.

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