How to Communicate Carbon and Energy Reduction
Effectively communicating your carbon offset and energy saving initiatives is a key to the success of your carbon management program and reducing energy usage. Not only will you inspire others so that they also take responsibility for their environmental impact, you will also gain maximum business value.
Many companies are taking action to improve their environmental impact by reducing and offsetting their carbon emissions. These organizations have found that there is a strong business case for managing their carbon footprint, including cost savings, improving processes, brand enhancement, competitive advantage and inspiring customers and staff. In other words, a good carbon management program adds value to the organization.
Jacqueline Arias, founder of Republica Coffee, says, "Being carbon neutral I was able to push a large supermarket to increase the number of Republica products on the shelves from one to seven. The range is also supplied to two major airlines, where our ethical position helped us win these contracts."
The benefits of an effective communication plan are huge and include:
- Inspiring and educating your customers to take action and reduce their environmental footprint by choosing your products or services.
- Informing your stakeholders of your organization’s progress in achieving its objectives.
- Motivating your employees to participate in achieving the goals that you have set through your carbon program.
- Positioning your organization as a sustainability leader inspiring others to take action.
- Increasing positive media coverage for your organization.
- Addressing reporting regulations when required.
In order for your company to succeed in achieving the benefits listed above, it is important to develop an effective communications plan as part of your overall carbon management program. Make sure you include the following elements when implementing your communication plan:
- Assign responsibilities for your communications team to be clear on the goals and how they will be achieved.
- Define how the information is obtained within your company - the quality of the information needs to be assured.
- Brainstorm how and where the information will be spread out. For example, you can communicate through your company’s website, sustainability report, annual report, newsletters, employee meeting, intranet, advertisement, media releases, at conferences, on invoices, on product labels, in tenders.
- Capture valuable feedback from customers, employees and other stakeholders that will help you to continually improve the program.
Suggestions of several good communication principles that will help you get started:
- Communicate internally first. That way, you make sure that key members across your company are well informed about the carbon program and will provide consistent messaging to external points of contact.
- Align your actions with your communications. In other terms “walk the talk”. You can also share challenges that you are facing, this will show you are being authentic.
- Give details on your carbon program. What are you doing to reduce your environmental impact, which carbon projects did you choose to offset your emissions and why?
- Include compelling stories from the projects you are supporting with images: “Seeing is believing.”
UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC
The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.
While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.
"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."
The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.
- Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
- Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
- Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
- Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
- Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.
In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies.
Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”
Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society.
Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."
Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).
Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.