The pathway to carbon positive

The pathway to carbon positive

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. 

4. Restore
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.
 

CitySwitch Signatory of the Year and New Signatory Awards - category judging criteria

  • Delivering outcomes as demonstrated by an improved or maintained current NABERS Energy rating and achieved energy savings* (up to 28 points)
  • Implementing one or more energy saving initiatives (up to 10 points)
  • Demonstrating leadership by undertaking innovative, creative or progressive office energy efficiency activities (up to 10 points)
  • Engagement of staff/ customers/suppliers and/or stakeholders to educate and create market transformation (up to 10 points)
  • Participation in CitySwitch local program activities (up to 10 points).
Note, new Signatories submitting for New Signatory of the Year Award need only complete an indicative rating – all other submissions must be accredited.

CitySwitch Partnership of the Year Award - category judging criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Submitted projects should:

  • Involve more than one registered company 
  • Demonstrate that they are  innovative and over and above “business as usual”
  • Demonstrate that they catalyse “market transformation” and or “address a market barrier”
  • Deliver a reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions within the built environment 

Judging Criteria

  • Delivering outcomes as demonstrated by an improved or maintained current NABERS Energy rating and achieved energy savings* (up to 14 points)
  • Implementing one or more energy saving initiatives (up to 10 points)
  • Demonstrating leadership by undertaking innovative, creative or progressive office energy efficiency activities (up to 17 points)
  • Engagement of staff/ customers/suppliers and/or stakeholders to educate and create market transformation (up to 17 points)
  • Participation in CitySwitch local program activities (up to 10 points)
  • The submitting entity MUST be a CitySwitch Signatory
Note, Signatories submitting for the Partnership of the Year Award may submit an accredited NABERS tenancy, whole building or base building rating.

It’s easy and free to join the program. Your good-will commitment to the program is an acknowledgement of the business sector’s role in
contributing to environmental sustainability and your intention to reduce your own energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

As part of this, Signatories to the program commit to achieve an accredited NABERS Energy tenancy rating (between 4 and 6 stars) and
work with CitySwitch to improve their tenancy’s environmental performance.

Find out more about how obtaining a NABERS Energy rating ensures you can benchmark your performance, better manage your progress
over time and promote your star rating achievement.