Part of the UK government strategy to spark a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ looks at the reduction and eradication of greenhouse gasses (GHGs). These gases exist within the atmosphere that trap heat as a part of a natural process and create a ‘greenhouse effect’. As earth’s surface cools at night it releases the heat back into the air where some of the heat becomes trapped by greenhouse gases within our atmosphere. It’s these gases that retain our temperature on earth at an estimated average of 14 degrees.
Human activities which are known to increase the natural greenhouse effect is what scientists believe is the root cause of global change and warming. Phasing out fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and moving towards renewable energies such as wind and solar are viewed as more sustainable options with net-zero plans pushing for fast reduction to meet the agreed COP 2030 & 2050 targets.
Making responsible and sustained choices as people, businesses and contractors is where we can all look to make better lifestyle decisions to work together as a society to reach better environmental solutions and to take positive action to reduce our negative contributions.
What are Greenhouse Gases?
There are gases which naturally exist within our atmosphere but the percentage of that is increasing by man-made proportions. The biggest contributor is CO2 from fossil fuels with large-scale deforestation being the highest perpetrator.
Although some gases naturally occur they are exacerbated through human actions and of such the concentration within our atmosphere is rising. Fluorinated gases, however, as purely man-made sources, are particularly potent due to their ability to trap heat and therefore have the potential to impact climate warming and change more so than the likes of CO2 and their effects are thought to last anywhere between 2,600 -50,000 years
Causes of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)?
It’s with the cutting down of our forests (trees help to regulate and absorb CO2), farming livestock (produces methane) & fertilisers (producing nitrous oxide) and the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas that produce carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) that risk the highest rise in climate change and that add higher volumes of GHGs into the atmosphere alongside fluorinated gases which are 23,000 times more potent than CO2 (produced from equipment and products that use these gases).
Looking at Forward Focused Solutions: The Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The GHG protocol is a framework to measure and manage GHG emissions from public or private sector operations. It’s a global standard that’s comprehensive in nature and establishes a set of guidelines by which to estimate the impact activities have upon emissions produced and how to therefore plan and go about reducing the production of these gases and mitigating the risks associated with producing them upon our environment, communities and businesses.
The Streamline Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) scheme replaced the Carbon Reduction Programme and states that certain sized organisations are to report their energy and carbon emissions in their annual directors’ report. If you are a company, LLP or group that moves beyond the following thresholds you are required to be compliant when your annual turnover is more than £36million, with a balance sheet total of £18million and 250 employees plus.
What are Scope 1,2 & 3 Emissions?
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a recognised standard that categorises GHG emissions into 3 described scopes.
Scope 1: Direct Emissions
Covering direct emissions from controlled or owned sources such as company vehicles, on-site fuel combustion, manufacturing and processing emissions and refrigerant losses.
Scope 2: Indirect Emissions
This covers indirect emissions purchased from the likes of energy such as, electricity, steam, heating and cooling. As an organisation if you use these fuels you become indirectly responsible for the release of these GHG emissions.
Scope 3: Other Indirect Emissions
This covers all other indirect emissions through activities from an organisation, event or facility such as, business travel, waste disposal, transportation and distribution, assets and franchises that are leased, commuting to and from work along with the purchasing and selling of goods and services plus investments.
The identifying advantageous benefit of scope emissions to businesses and public sector bodies, is that it allows them to identify suppliers that can aid in their sustainability and to make informed decisions across the board of development, logistics operations, procurement and to affectively drive towards lower emissions and towards the national effort, working towards achieving net-zero.
Taking a sustainability route is not only good for business and organisations but good for your employees too, who can get on board with considering their commuting choices and to engage them when planning travel for business as well — where all actions implemented can build genuine change, climate friendly strategies and where change can and will be visible in paving the path as an organisation to lead with green.
The Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Target
The government’s strategy for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ is set out in a ten-point plan, which includes working with businesses to reduce the cost of access to low carbon tech and sets out clear pathways across sectors to enable targets to be met.
Allowing for the adaption of integration of emerging technologies and reducing costs of existing ones, whilst setting out clear policies and proposals to stay on track with our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and supporting a global shift in greenhouse gas removal with monitoring and supporting verification, focuses strategic implementation & operations that work forwards to achieve a decarbonised economy by 2050.
Taking an Ethical & Sustainable Business Stance
How we choose to respond to climate change and warming within the next decade and how we implement and take positive action to avert and negate the furthering of any ill-effects upon our planet, which correlates directly to the challenges and changes our people, our communities and our businesses face too, will all be a part of how we look to address the reduction of the man-made emissions we produce.
There is much that can be done and successfully achieved to counter climate change and warming both in the short and long-term. As a business you may look to innovate and to lead at the forefront, collectively with other organisations and countries by looking at scope 1, 2 and 3 options, renewable sources of energy and technologies you use, products that you source, programmes and environmental plans that seek positive change and that drive down emissions whilst always looking for key wins and clear driving points to minimise GHGs with a forward focused approach and action that leads to net-zero by 2050.
If you want to look at reducing your GHG emissions we offer Eco Audits and other assessments that work alongside all major protocols and methodologies to enhance your buildings performance and to reduce your organisational carbon footprint.
For help with your sustainability route, you can get in touch with us at Sustain Quality to discuss how we can further help you in your net-zero mission.