Decarbonisation: The pathway to Net Zero

Decarbonisation: The pathway to Net Zero

The energy system is changing rapidly, but the changes need to go further and faster.

The decarbonisation challenge has set about systemic transformation across all industries. This unprecedented transition to net zero is significantly impacting businesses large and small – selecting your route and navigating your way through is no mean feat.

In June 2019, British Parliaments made a historic commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for England and Wales, whilst Scotland legislated a target of 2045. This was as a direct consequence of a climate emergency, and a recommendation that the net-zero target was necessary, feasible and cost effective – endorsed by the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC).

This landmark step has put energy consumption and carbon emissions high on the priority list for us all.

In addition, many businesses may also be eligible for policy-related deductions, such as reduced Climate Change Levy (CCL) fees, if it can demonstrate a green carbon neutral policy or is committed to working towards using energy more efficiently.

New standards are having an impact

To help achieve this goal organisations have started to provide various frameworks to help businesses drive towards a common goal and standards:

  • ISO 50001: this ISO standard provides a practical way to improve energy use,
  • LEED 4.1: the next generation standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance

For businesses this has created challenges in understanding their energy consumption, managing it effectively across operations and perhaps more importantly creating an action plan to help reduce consumption; all while not impacting the growth of the business.

Challenges to Decarbonisation

Achieving decarbonisation is a challenge, and there are a number of enabling and disruptive factors that will shape your path selection; policy, resources, disruptive events, technologies, stakeholder expectation – and the list can be expanded.

Determining transition pathways

There is no one size fits all approach, many government and international bodies have researched the various scenarios, impact and effect of decarbonisation for many industries.

Monitoring trends, assessing energy use and emissions provides context and relevance across industries. And its these benchmarks and empirical evidence that will help you to best shape and select the pathway to achieving your own goals.

Image Source, UKGBC

Key benefits


Monitoring, managing and controlling a company’s carbon footprint can materialise financial benefits. Whether this be by reducing energy cost, taking advantage of funding mechanisms, trading surplus energy or by improving the efficiency of operations; there are potential savings available by adopting a decarbonisation strategy.


With increasing public interest in the impact of energy usage and production on the environment and community, adopting and publicising an organisations decarbonisation culture can deliver reputational benefits. Providing opportunities for PR, enhancing employee satisfaction and supply chain relationships, embracing the pathway to net-zero can positively augment a company brand.


By adopting a decarbonisation strategy companies are also able to review their energy sources and consumption. By diversifying the supply and utilisation of energy, companies can adapt to changes in the energy market and reduce the reliance on any single energy source – ultimately achieving more sustainable operations at reduced risk.


Knowledge is power; by adopting a decarbonisation strategy, it will build awareness and visibility of a company’s energy usage that will be monitored and tracked on a regular if not real-time basis. This will enable companies to benchmark comparable operations, derive insights and enable informed strategic decisions that can help transform business operations.


A well thought through decarbonisation strategy (coinciding with other key business strategies) demonstrates leadership and commitment, generating wider business awareness, strengthening the brand message and helping to drive economic and efficiency benefits.

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