Goals are crucial, but data is necessary to gauge performance.
Before you go run wild with green initiatives, it is imperative you understand where your business currently stands. You need a starting point to evaluate strategic options and measure progress against.
We have financial statements to gauge whether you are profitable or not.
Your business will fit into one of three categories:
(1) Carbon positive - you produce more carbon than you use
(2) Carbon neutral - you produce the same amount of carbon that you use
(3) Carbon negative - you use more carbon than you produce
Climate change is driven by our use of fossil fuels. As a whole we emit a lot of carbon into the atmosphere while destroying ecosystems that can remove it from the atmosphere. Check out The Economist's video for a crash course in understanding the planet's carbon cycle and our impact on it.
To begin to repair the carbon cycle our businesses of today need to become carbon neutral and ultimately carbon negative.
A healthy and balanced carbon cycle helps businesses by providing a more predictable operating environment through decreased risk of extreme weather events, decreased cost of capital and inconsistent climate regulations from changing government administrations.
Working towards a carbon neutral business today will enable your business to avoid being shocked by a carbon pricing system or industry regulation aimed to reduce carbon emissions. The first step to avoid this is to measure your current carbon footprint to see how much you need to reduce emissions by.
There are a number of carbon calculators available to use, however I recommend the one at carbonfootprint.com. Just follow the steps on the website and you'll have your starting point.
We will discuss strategies to achieve carbon neutrality in upcoming blog posts.