Navigating net-zero: Businesses to focus on smart tech and fleets to decarbonise in 2024

Almost two-thirds of businesses believe that reducing carbon emissions in 2024 will help attract investor engagement, but one-third still express concerns over the data quality and predictions of their energy usage.

Navigating net-zero: Businesses to focus on smart tech and fleets to decarbonise in 2024

Facilities management firm Mitie has today (8 January) published its Net Zero Navigator 2024. The research is based on a survey of 100 sustainability leaders from organisations with over 1,000 employees, carried out in November last year.

The survey analyses the key trends that could emerge in corporate decarbonisation efforts this year.

It found that 33% of companies are not confident about their ability to predict energy usage, even with the latest technology available. However, 65% realise that reducing carbon emissions will help improve the bottom line, and that delivering on net-zero strategies will boost investor engagement.

Mitie’s managing director of energy and decarbonisation Pradyumna Pandit said: “The start of a new year brings the opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards net zero goals and set new resolutions to accelerate their achievement.

“From the use of technology in carbon reporting to an increased focus on biodiversity, the predictions and findings from this year’s Net Zero Navigator will provide organisations with ideas, tools, and guidance to make an impact on their emissions in 2024.”

One of the key findings of the survey is that advances in technology look set to assist with corporate decarbonisation data collection moving forward.

Many firms are already automating annual carbon reporting, but Mitie warns they might be missing out on actionable insights that could help cut carbon emissions and develop new sustainability strategies.

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help to enhance energy efficiency measures and the survey found that 57% of businesses have implemented smart solutions, ranging from forecasting energy supply and demand to increasing the reliability of grid connections.

However, the survey warns that the adoption of smart, around-the-clock solutions will require businesses to develop strategies that account for and mitigate the energy costs of running those systems.

EVs, water and the circular economy

Late last year, the Government confirmed a five-year delay on the ban of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, to 2035; a weakening of requirements for all homes with oil and gas boilers to replace them with low-carbon alternatives and weakened requirements for landlords to improve building energy efficiency.

Analysts have since warned that the decisions have “increased longer-term risks” to decarbonising the UK in line with its 2050 net-zero pledge.

However, the Mitie survey found that most organisations will continue to decarbonise their fleet in line with the original deadline and will resist the temptation to relax measures now.

There are still some barriers to overcome in fleet decarbonisation. In total, 35% of survey respondents cited charging costs as their biggest barrier to EV adaptation and many businesses will recalculate plans to ensure they are accounting for charging infrastructure and costs into business decisions.

Focusing on decarbonising the energy sector alone will not put the world within touching distance of a net-zero carbon economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that moving to renewables across the globe will only address 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. To tackle the remaining 45%, the paper notes that transitioning to close-loop value chains, diet shifts, emerging innovations and carbon capture and storage are all required.

The Mitie report also highlights other areas of sustainability that businesses can focus on to contribute to their net-zero aspirations.

It notes that reducing water consumption will provide an “easy win” for firms looking to cut Scope 3 emissions, while circular procurement will help reduce waste and associated emissions.

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    The mention of “carbon capture and storage” is all very well, but as an aged chemist (FRIC rtd.), I cannot imagine the reality of the capture capacity, over decades, that will be required unless we become largely converted to fusion energy. I do not see the reality of this, for some considerable time, as the major energy source, even in the most advanced economies.
    Nothing is easy, the first law of reality.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie