Corporate sustainability is no longer just the “responsible approach” but rather the path to financial resilience. Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) legislation, along with carbon offsetting, have brought significant benefits to large corporations, including cost reduction and improved brand image.
Today, the legislation does not yet apply to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, though the government has instructed that all organisations must bring emissions to net-zero by 2050. This means that it is prime time for innovative SMEs to take the lead and accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions.
So, how can carbon offsetting make a significant difference?
Offsetting your company’s carbon footprint is a direct way of ensuring that your operations are contributing as little as possible to global warming. It is simply the act of compensating for the emissions you generate by investing in international environmental projects which actively sequester an equal volume of carbon dioxide or prevent the release of more greenhouse gases. After calculating its annual emissions, a company needs to purchase sufficient volumes of carbon credits from a verified source in order to rebalance its annual footprint.
The planet can’t wait. Make a change.
You may be asking, “is carbon offsetting effective?” The answer is yes, carbon offsetting is effective. Besides decreasing atmospheric CO2 levels, there are several other co-benefits that are carefully considered, measured and woven into project proposals. Many of these additional services, ranging from regional flood protection to educational programs for local children, achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
This makes investment in carbon offsetting projects incredibly good value, both environmentally and socially. If you’re still in any doubt, let’s take a look at the 6 more reasons why your SME should offset its carbon footprint.
Read the 6 reasons why embracing carbon offsetting is essential to your SME
There are many paths to SME sustainability, but reducing your carbon footprint is the action you can take now. Your company’s footprint matters more than you think, and many small changes can significantly impact our planet. As more and more businesses become carbon neutral, the profits are many and evident.
1. Carbon offset schemes give you control of expenditures and the chance to reduce them
It is only natural that carbon offsetting starts with measuring CO2 emissions. You can identify and tackle excessive energy use and other inefficiencies in your organisation while sensitising your employees on energy consumptions through carbon accounting.
Alongside energy savings and cost reductions, you can enjoy an internal rate of return (IRR) of 48% on average, which can be even greater depending on the industry you are operating and the amount of your investment. The evidence is indisputable; investing in carbon offsets allows you to cut expenses in the short term while reducing your environmental impact and strengthening your financial resilience in the long run.
2. Investors prefer forward-thinking SMEs that pursue sustainability Additionality and Permanence
A significant change is taking place in the way investors evaluate firms, with environmental and social sustainability efforts a core component in decision making. Large businesses with high brand recognition and visibility were the first to experience the effects of the shift, while mid-sized firms are now undergoing the same scrutiny.
However, all businesses should seize the chance to collaborate with investors who are prepared to reward them for producing long-term value for society as a whole. Going carbon neutral ahead of the competition is the way to show commitment, vision and value.
3. Consumers are increasingly favouring carbon-neutral brands
A 2020 study by Research Insights found that 70% of consumers are ready to pay 35% more on brands that value sustainability. As well-informed shoppers seek brands that align with their values and keep a more critical eye on their performance, more and more corporations assume environmentally ethical practices.
Amazon, Apple, Delta, and Nestlé are only a handful of the global giants that have pledged to reduce or even eliminate their carbon footprint following the consumers’ demands. The strategy to accomplish it: carbon offsetting. So, companies that want to succeed need to follow customer demands and modify their strategy accordingly.
4. Climate-related policies will soon pass from large corporations to SMEs
Climate-focused legislation is evolving, especially after the Paris Agreement of 2015, when 197 countries committed to preventing global warming from rising more than 1.5°C. It is only a matter of time before governments try to incentivise companies to incorporate sustainability into their operations.
If you want to remain ahead of the game, you need to be an early adopter. Integrating regulations to green your SME ensures that you maintain a competitive advantage while avoiding future legal difficulties and financial penalties.
5. Employees want to work for responsible companies committed to values and ethics
According to Deloitte, Millennials desire meaningful employment with a good societal impact. However, two-thirds are hesitant to accept a job if the company does not have a solid corporate social responsibility (CSR) goal. They would even accept a smaller income rather than work for a firm that is not environmentally conscious.
The current generation of top talent evaluates possible employment offers based on a company’s commitment to environmental and social causes. Allowing your firm to fall behind on its corporate sustainability commitments can only mean that you will be losing these top talents in the future.
6. Taking now concrete action in carbon offsetting makes you a leader of innovation
In the UK, only 1 out of 10 SMEs calculate their emissions. This shows an enormous opportunity to become the sustainability pioneer and break new ground in your sector.
Reviewing and redrawing company practices with their impact on the natural environment in mind when others don’t reflect more positively on your brand. It instils trust in your leadership and commitment to a healthier world for all.
Lead your SME to sustainability and into a carbon-neutral future
Robust climate action helps create a brighter future, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is an urgent first step. While the road to sustainability can seem daunting, carbon neutrality is easy to achieve.
Carbon offsetting schemes require a three-step process that you can quickly introduce into your operations. You simply calculate emissions, reduce the emissions you can and finally invest in an offset project. Simple and effective, reducing your carbon footprint delivers immediate results and advantages both to the planet and your SME.
Make the transition easy with the expertise of Plannet Zero
At Plannet Zero we know how complicated the path to sustainability may seem. That’s why we have designed a package tailored to the needs of SMEs. One Two Zero programme helps you start the journey to sustainability through an easy 4-step process:
Throughout the sustainability journey, our experts empower and support your team by identifying opportunities, guiding them on how to achieve goals, and even helping them make the switch to renewable energy. Favoured by your supply chain, cost-efficient and straightforward: this is the One Two Zero programme. The time to act is now; if not, then when?
Lead the change-Calculate your carbon footprint.