The UN Paris Agreement and Science Based Targets require all sectors, all people and all emissions sources to be net zero by 2050. This is a “must get” position to protect ourselves from the extreme impacts from climate change.
Some sectors will be harder to transition than others and this means that developed economies and sectors (those better able to move) should move much more quickly. Office-based businesses are one of those sectors.
The journey to net zero is about doing less bad. But one tonne of CO2 beyond zero is carbon positive; where our actions start to do something positive and restorative for the planet. Whilst net zero is our “must get” position, carbon positive is our “want to get” position.
Carbon positive is where we start to restore our planet from the damage that has been done to its air, land, water and habitats. The office sector is well placed to lead, to get to net zero first and push beyond into carbon positive. To forge a pathway for other sectors to follow.
Begin your journey with these four simple steps on the path to carbon positive:
1. Rate with NABERS
Before you can manage your environmental footprint, you need to measure it. Australia’s property owners use the National Australian Built Environment Rating System to benchmark their buildings against best practice in energy, water, waste and more. This sets baselines and uncovers opportunities to improve performance. Use this time to survey staff attitudes to identify the best way to tackle behaviour change and engage your people.
2. Reduce energy
Consider the least-cost opportunities to reduce your energy consumption – whether that’s at lighting upgrade, a behavioural change campaign or an investment in new office equipment. Simple and straightforward solutions can reduce your energy bills by a third.
3. Replace with renewables
Onsite renewables (such as solar panels on your building’s roof) and offsite solutions (like purchasing energy through large-scale wind farms), is the next step to cut energy costs and drive efficiencies through your business.
Look at purchasing carbon offsets to compensate for any remaining emissions. When you choose the right carbon offset, your company invests in conservation and renewable energy projects, while eliminating its emissions entirely.