Thanks to everyone who has asked questions during our Accelerate to Net Zero: Europe event. The questions and the answers were grouped by theme, simply click on the question to reveal the answer.
(answers from Pauline Op de Beeck, Veronika Thieme, Imogen Catterall and Joana Costa-Figueira)
Scope 3 / Suppliers
Q: How do companies push suppliers to adopt climate mitigation technologies and who bear the cost of technologies?
A: A good first step is to be up-front on the importance of climate action and make clear the role the supplier has to play, not just in your value chain but also in the global context.
The company should then present a timeline by which they expect data/reductions, that is reasonable. Being transparent and clear on needs and purpose is essential for success. Companies should make financial contributions to the net zero transformation of their supply chain and consider how best they can support suppliers on their mitigation journey. This engagement should be seen as collaborative and mutually beneficial for both parties.
Q: How do you deal with the uncertainties and risks regarding how your company will be able to reach Net Zero targets internally and externally? How can you convince stakeholders that it's not greenwashing if the reduction solutions are not yet clear or a
A: It is important to be transparent about what you know and how far that gets you as well as the investment you’re taking to get there. It is also necessary to demonstrate spending on R&D to work towards answering today's ‘unanswerable’. For internal purposes, it is good to communicate that this is the case for most companies.
Q: When it comes to scope 3 it is often focused on the supply chain. Do you also consider your Retail or Sales partners within scope 3 emissions?
A: Depending on the business this is also calculated in the value chain footprint. It is rarely a material category.
Q: Engaging with strategic suppliers: does that mean that there are tender advantages for suppliers who are performing better on climate actions? Or how do you motivate suppliers to join you on the Net Zero journey?
A: Tender advantages are indeed a key way to motivate suppliers and this is something that has worked well for our clients. Educating them on the risks & opportunities for action is also a necessary part of the engagement process.
Q: How best can Scope 3 emissions be audited and managed?
A: Moving towards primary data is the best way to have an accurate scope 3 footprint that is audited. Managing these emissions will depend on the influence your organisation has over those categories. Furthermore, you should prioritise improving and managing the aspects of your value chain that have the biggest impact on your scope 3 footprint.
Q: Can you talk about practical steps for implementing a Net Zero plan please?
Q: How can we achieve transparency regarding carbon impact and delivery of net zero targets and how can we ensure that all decision-making takes carbon impact into account?
A: Investors and stakeholders are increasingly scrutinizing companies’ sustainability plans and alignment with their targets. The need for transparency was made clear at COP27 with the launch of the Net Zero guidelines by ISO and the report from the United Nations’ high-level expert group on the net zero emissions commitments of non-state entities which both set out recommendations and principles to follow to stay on track to Net Zero. These guidelines, together with those laid out by the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard are essential to make sure Net Zero targets are solid and transparent.
Having recognised the need for transparency on a company’s progress to Net Zero, the Carbon Trust has launched the Route to Net Zero Standard – the only certification that helps companies verify the progress achieved over time and communicate internally and to the wider public the progress on their ambition. Further information about our Standard can be found here.
Q: What is the role of voluntary carbon offsetting on the way toward Net Zero? And what is the future of carbon offsetting?
A: It is voluntary only and does not contribute to the achievement of net zero. It is called ‘beyond value chain mitigation’ and is something the SBTi encourages but does not require. Carbon offsetting will become focused on higher-quality removal projects, however, a lot of investment is required in this area in order for that market to develop.
Q: When we will have more guidance about removals?
A: The SBTi currently provide an indication of the types of removals which would be acceptable as neutralisation options in the target year, and ongoing. They also recommend beyond value-chain mitigation on the journey to Net Zero to stimulate growth within the removals market, this will help ensure removals will be in enough abundance in the target years and ongoing. The SBTi has not specified when there will be more guidance on removals specifically, but in the Carbon Trust, we are working on creating advice on types of investment and removals on the journey to achieve Net Zero.
Q: What is one carbon removal technology/solution that you are most excited about?
A: Carbon Trust is excited about the potential seaweed has as a removal solution if it becomes a verified methodology. Sustainably sourced seaweed can sequester nearly 200 million tonnes of CO2 every year as well as foster biodiversity growth. Another attractive aspect of seaweed is that it can be grown locally in the UK which is a criteria Carbon Trust is seeing from clients seeking to purchase/invest in offsets. Seaweed projects also have higher removal potential when compared to land-based UK projects such as afforestation which are constrained because of the lack of land availability. That is because seaweed can be grown in both shallow and deep waters around the UK.