Net Zero Week, Day 2: What challenges are we likely to face in the transition to Net Zero?

It is clear that the majority of business are committed and have a huge desire to move towards a Net Zero future. However, there are considerable challenges with this, and it can be difficult to know where to start and how best to proceed. We believe that it is important to understand these different challenges and how best to tackle them in order to work effectively towards Net Zero. 

Knowledge 

One of the main challenges is lack of knowledge or experience with carbon management. This is needed in order for your business to plan effective solutions and to measure your progress along the way.  

Without first understanding where your emissions are created and what processes will help reduce these it is extremely difficult to know where to start. It can be difficult to convey how the different processes of the business can have large impacts on Co2 levels and with technologies always improving it is vital for business to keep training and guidance up to date. 

There is lots of support available for this and once this is understood we can start to work towards solutions. 

Funding 

One of the biggest issues in creating and following a net zero plan is cost. How are all of these new technologies and energy saving initiatives going to be paid for and how can we reduce our emissions in a financially sustainable way? 

  • The first step will always be to look at the Low-cost, high impact solutions to lower energy use such as LED lighting. Once this is addressed, we can start to look at the more expensive options, 
  • For this we can look towards Funding models – There is the opportunity to lease renewables such as solar and many PPA models. This will allow you to start making energy savings with no upfront cost.  
  • As well as this there are funds and grants available – particularly for SMEs such as interest free loans or government funding for projects such as electric vehicle chargers.  

Geographical location 

Geographical location is another major challenge for some businesses, 

In more remote areas the electrical infrastructure may not be there for many opportunities such as Solar power and other options would need to be looked at. 

This highlights the importance to conduct thorough feasibility studies and the need to have a Plan B. It is important to find the balance between investing in new technologies but ensuring that it is appropriate for your individual use case.  

Supply Chain 

Another major challenge in achieving Net Zero is that whilst we can make progress in starting the path to next zero as an individual business it can be difficult to ensure that this is replicated throughout your entire supply chain. However, as the government targets draw closer there will be more pressure for business to report their emissions and it may become more important to understand the carbon implications of certain suppliers. 

Individual Behaviours 

As well as large operational changes and introduction of new initiatives and technologies it is important to also address the challenge of changing individual behaviours such as transportation to work or energy use from staff whilst on site, 

These challenges towards net zero can be addressed through initiatives such as training or incentives for car-sharing. This is something that has already occurred in the majority of workplaces in regard to other environmental practices such as recycling. Emissions from individuals can often be overlooked but can have a large effect on your businesses carbon emissions. 

Ultimately, there are a number of net zero challenges to face and there can be unexpected issues that arise along the way. However, if you have a good knowledge of your energy use and establish a thorough plan and use the support available it is something that all businesses can work towards in a sustainable way.  

Further Reading

Reaching Net Zero in the UK – Climate Change Committee (theccc.org.uk)