Most business leaders want to change their environmental impact for the better but find it difficult to make a start.
By Dave Hickey
Rising temperatures, water demand issues, floods and extreme weather, more commonly experienced in recent years, are some of the local effects of global climate change.
Those effects bring increased challenges for all organisations and businesses including disruption to staff and supply chains. Actions by society and government to cut carbon emissions will mean responding to changing business regulations and public pressure to make your operations more environmentally friendly.
The recent Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive sets out the requirements larger companies will need to satisfy and this will extend to medium and then smaller enterprises over time.
Playing our part
The world cannot decarbonise without businesses playing their part immediately. The planet cannot wait for top-down regulation to come into effect, especially when companies can make an impact right now by reducing their emissions.
This can include everything from reducing energy consumption, procuring cleaner energy to engaging with suppliers to ensure they have sustainability programmes in place. Reducing consumption of goods and the production of waste may be targets as well as business travel, etc.
Having a good climate programme in place will create opportunities to win business.
This does not come without its challenges for organisations wishing to make a positive impact on the climate crisis, however.
It can be very intimidating for businesses to embark on their climate journey, and owners and managers might feel like they are falling behind or don’t know where to start.
Stakeholders throughout the organisation must be educated to understand what they can do to reduce carbon emissions and how to go about setting targets.
There are opportunities for employees to be real advocates for climate action and mobilise change within their organisations.
Individuals can also help alleviate climate risk. One of the most important steps individuals can take is making sure their companies have a climate program in place by becoming vocal advocates for change.
In many cases, we have already seen that employees have been the ones to get companies to start thinking about climate.
For companies that want to change, but aren’t sure how to go about it, the simplest way to positively impact the climate crisis is to get started. Begin with the numbers: having data is the best and easiest way to have conversations internally.
The Climate Toolkit for Business developed by the government is a very useful tool to help get started. More details can be found here.
Like most action plans for business it starts with understanding the current position (Now); identifying targets (Where); and developing a plan to get there (How).
- Measure where you are now
- Set targets for where you want to be
- Develop an action plan and monitor progress
No business could reduce its emissions overnight, so get started early and engage multiple people within the organisation. This is a journey, not a sprint, but the goal is reachable with good communication and buy-in from all stakeholders across the organisation.
At DHKN we will start work on our own Climate Action Plan early in April and will provide updates on our journey over the coming months.