Businesses across the world are turning their attention towards the growing climate crisis. But as the UK strives towards its net zero targets, it can be easy to become trapped in a smokescreen of superficial sustainability.
Earlier this year, Oxfam released a report highlighting the dangers of setting unrealistic carbon targets. The ‘net zero smokescreen’ refers to an excessive focus on certain land-based carbon removal strategies, such as tree planting and reforestation. While these schemes are an important part of our efforts to reach net zero, they should not be prioritised against other, arguably more effective options.
So, what are the effects of the smokescreen and how can businesses avoid falling into this trap?
The problem with the smokescreen
Put plainly, focusing excessively on land-based carbon removal options can waste time, money and resources.
Oxfam has reported that to reach current net zero targets using these options, the UK would need 1.6 billion hectares of new forests. This is the equivalent of land five times the size of India. But attempting to implement these plans with in sufficient land resources could result in the world falling victim to more pollution, as well as impacting human life. With irreversible climate issues on the horizon, the focus must remain on achievable environmental goals.
To limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees and prevent further damage, carbon emissions must be cut by 45 percent by 2030. But with such heavy and misdirected reliance on reforestation, businesses and governments around the world are putting the planet in even more danger. It is thought that this could result in an 80% jump in food prices, sending even more families into poverty. Meaning these well-intentioned efforts are making the situation worse.
Don’t get trapped
There are many easy ways to avoid getting trapped behind a smokescreen. One is to simply set clear net zero targets. These targets should be transparent and ambitious, but achievable.
Switching to renewables, incorporating low carbon tech, and educating staff can help businesses to avoid adding further to their environmental impact.
To promote a sustainable ethos, a business must first plan its sustainability targets. These targets can be reached with simple yet effective changes, such as:
- Improving waste management
- Educating employees
- Becoming green energy efficient
Promoting a sustainable ethos with transparent goals can be advantageous for businesses, in addition to promoting environmental wellbeing. Becoming eco-friendly allows businesses to provide customers with complete transparency. Not only does this reassure them of your reliability, it could also attract a wider range of potential clients that are interested in your business’s green credentials.
Where does Monarch come in?
At Monarch, we are dedicated to finding the most efficient and effective solutions, tailored to your business’s needs. Our extensive range of services and team of experts are on hand to take care of everything. So you can start your journey to net zero smoothly.
Setting and focusing on realistic net zero goals will bring you one step closer to true sustainability. Our intelligent procurement and sustainable utility reporting, means we can effectively sort out your energy efficiency. Allowing you more time to focus on other aspects of the business. We want to help you, to help the planet.
Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you start your green journey.