Bee Net Zero

BEE Net Zero

What is net zero?

We’ve all heard of net zero, but what exactly does it mean?

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Your journey to net zero

Follow our 10 Key Steps to achieving your net zero goal.

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Things you can do now

Key Actions you can take today to reduce your carbon footprint.

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Your journey to net zero

Bee Net Zero is making Greater Manchester the easiest place in the UK to become a net zero business, supporting the transition to a zero carbon economy.

In order to set a Net Zero goal, you must first understand where your emissions come from. Site energy use, refrigerant gases and transport fuel are the first things people think about (often referred to as Scope 1 & 2 emissions) but your sources of indirect carbon emissions (scope 3 emissions) also need to be identified. These can include: 3rd party transport; energy ‘embodied’ in your raw materials, components and packaging; staff commuting & homeworking emissions; emissions associated with waste management.

To quote an old adage – if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Once you’ve identified your scope 1, 2 and then scope 3 sources of carbon emissions, you will need to calculate the annual tonnage of CO2e emitted as a result of these. This involves gathering data on, for example, the quantity of electricity consumed each year, the number of distribution miles travelled, then converting this into CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) using Government and other conversion factors.

A beginner’s guide to carbon footprinting

A journey to Net Zero requires short, medium and longer term goals and targets. A single statement of We Will Be Net Zero by 2050, is not enough to help you manage the challenge on an ongoing basis and increasingly, people know that. Think about how you are going to monitor and report on your progress and which stakeholders you will share this with.

  • Three quarters of the world’s biggest companies expect to deselect suppliers based on environmental performance.
  • Staff morale and productivity is boosted when working for employers that match their own values.

Having identified and quantified your carbon emissions, use this information to determine where your 'hot spots' are. 

It is widely agreed that an absolute reduction in carbon emissions should be the priority action for all businesses. Anything else could be seen as ‘greenwashing’ (making unsubstantiated environmental claims). Resource efficiency has the added advantage of increasing profitability and, often, productive throughput.

Initially, you should focus on actions within your direct control that will have the greatest impacts e.g. improving your building, upgrading old equipment and reducing waste and over-consumption.

Longer term investments such as electrification of your fleet could help future proof against future price rises, market changes and Government policy developments.

Scope 3 emissions, such as carbon ‘embodied’ in your raw materials, packaging and components may require bolder action and more innovative thinking – but engaging with your suppliers early is important.

Make your own savings

An easy action is to negotiate an energy contract that specifies a supply from renewable sources.  This will help support the growing renewable energy generation network in the UK and reduce our reliance on traditional power stations that use fossil fuels.

Many companies are looking to their rooftops and other areas of their site to house solar panels, for instance, in order to generate their own electricity on site. Other options include renewable heating technologies such as Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) and Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

NB – solar panels generate significantly more electricity in the late spring and summer than they do in the winter; and, although excess electricity can be sold to the grid, solar arrays should be designed to maximise the proportion of power that is used on-site.

SMEs are responsible for nearly half the UK’s business-related emissions. Large buyers are increasingly asking their suppliers to demonstrate lower carbon footprints. Your scope 3 (upstream and downstream) carbon emissions could far exceed those within your direct control.  What influence could you bring to, for instance:

  • Encourage suppliers to specify raw materials and products with higher recycled content?
  • Encourage 3rd party hauliers to invest in more fuel efficient fleet?
  • Help innovate alternative business models that embrace a circular rather than a linear economy?

Many companies jump too quickly into carbon offsetting and making 'Carbon Neutrality' claims.  Carbon offsetting is not the answer to your Journey to Net Zero but, arguably it does have its place in the conversation. Once emissions have been reduced as far as possible, there may be residual emissions that cannot be avoided (yet). Approach carbon offsetting with caution though – do your research: Are the carbon credits robust and third party certified? Is the project making a positive impact on carbon emissions globally? (and not merely limiting damage or moving the damage elsewhere).

A beginner’s guide to carbon offsetting

It's important to recognise that no-one has all the answers right now. In order to achieve global net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (or sooner), we will have to work together locally and globally, across sectors and supply chains in order to massively innovate the way we live and work and the technologies we develop and adopt. How can you engage with that process?

Green Intelligence is a free monthly e-newsletter that can be tailored to your business needs and specific interests and you can register for the free resource using the contact us for support form.

Need support?

Access advice and finance through the Business Support & Funding finder. Helping businesses to access tailored services from publicly funded providers.

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Partners

Bee Net Zero takes a collaborative approach to helping businesses on their journey to becoming net zero. Bringing together networks, organisations and support programmes from across Greater Manchester, Bee Net Zero makes this transition straightforward and cost-efficient for businesses.

Things your business can do to make an immediate difference

Equipment

Switch equipment off when not in use. Consider lifetime energy costs when buying or upgrading equipment. Don’t over-specify equipment. Maintain production equipment (e.g. fixing leaks, seals and insulation).

Lighting

Switch off unnecessary lights. Maximise use of natural light. Invest in lighting controls and sensor switches. Upgrade to LED and consider dimmable fittings

Heating

Check heating control times & settings (don’t over-heat). Don’t obstruct radiators. Don’t leave windows & doors open in heated (or cooled) rooms. Upgrade to more efficient heating.

Building

Draught-proof windows & doors. Insulate your roof to reduce heat loss. Consider rapid roller shutter doors or warehouse door curtains. Install double glazing

Staff

Sign up Green Champion volunteers. Start a staff awareness campaign. Report back on progress. Reward successes.

Transport

Journey plan to reduce unnecessary mileage. Encourage use of public transport & cycling. Provide staff training on fuel efficient driving techniques. Consider switching to electric vehicles.

Energy Sources

Purchase your energy from renewable sources. Consider investing in solar PV. Consider renewable heat sources (e.g. air/ground source heat pumps).

Materials

Identify & reduce areas where materials are wasted. Specify consumables with limited packaging. Ask suppliers about materials with recycled content. Reduce outgoing packaging.

Waste

Try to repair rather than replace. Identify waste that can be reused. Segregate recyclable wastes. Find out what happens to your waste.

Journey to Net Zero

A fully-funded online programme exclusively for SMEs in Greater Manchester that are at an early stage on the path to net zero emissions.

Low Carbon Network

Our Low Carbon Network is a powerful tool for raising the profile of businesses in the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector and improve the visibility of local supply chains.

Green Intelligence

Green Intelligence is a free fortnightly e-bulletin of environmental business news and information, tailored to your needs.