By Teresa Meadows: Head of Environment, Audit and Public Affairs
When I started with BASIS last summer, carbon, and the pledge to reach net zero, was a hot topic and widely discussed. Joining to lead their environmental offer, talking about new courses on carbon and climate change mitigation and wider initiatives, I was keen that we developed our own credentials too.
So, I set off to look at what needed to be done…soon discovered that you could become ‘carbon literate’ and that there was a wealth of information out there that you could/should/will begin to learn and know.
Through my research, I came across The Carbon Trust (www.carbontrust.com), which had a lot of useful resources and understandable language! Their four-step process involved:
- Make a commitment
- Calculate your baseline emissions
- Switch to a green tariff
- Plan to reduce
Thinking it might be best to switch one and two, to know how much our emissions were, I decided to calculate these first and then make the commitment.
As an SME business, we could also use their calculators, which predominantly needed the fuel and energy we used for vehicles and heating the offices…no air conditioning to worry about!
With some digging through past records, finding key bills and meter readings, and asking people about the cars they drove, we soon had a set of figures and could calculate our footprint. We decided to use 2019 as our baseline, to be pre-COVID and all the changes it brought to us—the result: 37,702kg CO₂e as a business in 2019.
Baseline set, we then set about to make the commitment, which we have now done, to halve our emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050, the SME Climate Hub’s recommendation. Along with an annual update and public sharing of the results.
2021’s carbon footprint has just been completed, and it is significantly different (21,313kg CO₂e), mainly due to a significant reduction created by activities being held remotely in 2021.
A change in thinking and mindset – having a figure makes all the difference to work from. Our action plan is now being set, and there are several different initiatives in the plan to achieve and go beyond our target – a reduction in our emissions being the main objective.
Have you started your footprint?
Whether as a small business (The Carbon Trust calculators), as your farm business (Agrecalc, Farm Carbon Toolkit, or Cool Farm Tool), or as an individual/with your family (Climate Hero Carbon Calculator).
The tools are there, and starting on the process today, will not only help with achieving net zero ambitions but is also likely to help you save money as an individual or as a business too…and certainly gets you thinking, if nothing else!