Net Zero

Building a Sustainable Future: Our Net Zero Commitment and Climate Action Plan

BetterUtilities is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes, far and wide, to reach carbon neutrality. We provide a free service to help you look at where you can improve, and can even set you up with other companies that can help you install more efficient systems. First, we should explain what net zero means:

What is Net Zero?

‘Net zero’ is breaking even on your business’s impact on the environment, which can be done with some changes to the way your business operates. The goal should be to reduce the emissions that you create, while also cancelling out what you do use with carbon removing activities (like planting trees). This is much easier to do when you cut your usage.

The UK government has set up a target of becoming a net zero country by 2050.

What are the costs and benefits of net zero?

The costs of achieving net zero as a country are mostly conservative estimates, as tech advancements could lead to this costing far less in the near future. For example, artificial carbon sinks are currently being researched and developed, which could be a man-made alternative to trees and oceans. Wind energy in particular is also dropping heavily in price, with a fall of 30% in 2019 alone. Many other renewable energy sources are also becoming more affordable, so a future of majority electric power is looking more and more likely.

The most recent estimate was done by the Climate Change Committee (CCC), although before the Coronavirus pandemic, so these figures could be different (the economy, and behaviour of the population have both changed since). They made the prediction that achieving net zero would cost just under 1% of the country’s GDP, coming in at around £50 billion per year.

The government’s Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), however, have estimated it being closer to £70 billion per year.

As for the benefits, having cleaner air and a healthier planet could potentially even make back the costs we’ve described above.

Firstly, an obvious one, a cleaner environment would mean that more of the earth stays habitable, which would go some way against intensifying housing crises.

A drop in pollution can also reduce the number of hospital admissions, and reduce the number of long-term physical side effects like asthma, respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer.

It can also make the world’s workforce more productive, as air pollution has been shown to have an effect on focus and mood. Alongside the link between air pollution and Alzheimer’s, and its effect on the growth of children mentally and physically, we believe this would be a worthwhile investment, which can potentially save us as much as it costs on healthcare alone.

How can my business become net zero?

For a business to reach their target of becoming net zero, we’d recommend making some big improvements to your business’s energy efficiency, while also getting some help from experts in the field. This can help you set realistic goals, and a realistic plan to achieve them. We’ve listed some of them below:

Switch to electric heating

This is probably the fastest and most straightforward method of creating less emissions. If you plan on issuing company cars in the future, we’d also recommend making them electric too.

Move smarter

If you’re thinking about opening up a new location, or if you want to move elsewhere, find the most energy efficient building possible. This is the foundation of your net zero plan, and puts you at a huge advantage before you even start planning anything.

Team up with similar businesses

Depending on the type of business you run, it may be useful joining a group/coalition based on your industry. You all run into the same problems and have similar goals, so sharing information and helping each other can be very beneficial.

Create energy on-site

If you own a business with the resources to do something like this, it boasts a lot of benefits other than simply reducing the amount of energy you use on the National Grid. The investment will show you some return, as you won’t be outsourcing as much energy, saving costs. If you create enough, you can even sell some to the grid.

It also means that your business can continue working in the event of a power cut!

This is a thing you should jump on early, as the government needs businesses to take part in creating their own energy if they are to reach their own goals. You can learn more about why this is going to become increasingly important here.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) catches carbon so it can be transported to a storage site and deposited safely, where it won’t enter the atmosphere. It has a 90% capture rate, and its facilities even have the potential for being carbon-negative. Direct air capture is a method of pulling CO2 directly from the atmosphere and storing them in those facilities, reversing climate change.

Create a zero-waste culture

Top-down methods of saving energy are important, but creating a culture of zero-waste gives you the ability to pass some of the buck onto others- it is a team effort after all! When everyone is pulling in the same direction, creating as little waste as possible, it’s a lot easier to reach net zero.

Get a consultation

If you need any help hitting your targets, or even drawing up some targets in the first place, we can give you a consultation on it.