Why Does My Company Need A Carbon Strategy?
For many business leaders, the idea of a carbon strategy feels like an unnecessary waste of time and effort. They look at carbon strategies and efforts to become carbon neutral as fads of consumer desire and media influence. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A carbon strategy for every company, regardless of what you sell, who you work for, whether you’re privately owned or a publicly held company, or if you don’t seem to create any carbon emissions at all, is vital.
The short answer to why your company needs a carbon strategy is that it makes good business sense. Carbon management is rapidly becoming a requirement for many reasons, reasons which will be reviewed in this blog in greater detail. A carbon strategy is becoming as necessary as a budget, a hiring plan, or a marketing plan. Your company will need to manage carbon to survive. Are you ready?
Reason 1: Carbon costs money
Carbon, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, is expensive. It’s likely to become even more expensive as time goes on as governments are forced to reduce their subsidies for fossil fuel companies, increase penalties for carbon producers, and move their investments in business incentives and infrastructure to greener solutions.
A carbon strategy that reduces carbon significantly will typically rely on renewable resources and reusable goods. A renewable resource, for example, a wind farm or Solar PV system, that can produce the electricity that your factories need, will be a single major line-item expense, that while costly initially, will continue to produce energy for 20 to 30 years to come. Whereas a tanker load of gasoline will only last you for as long as you burn that gas. While there is still a nostalgia for fossil fuels which create carbon, the wise investment will be in conserving energy and the planet, supplementing that with renewable resources that while they require a large upfront investment, will be with your organization for years to come..
Reason 2: Investors
Investors are increasingly seeking green options to invest in. This is especially true of institutional investors who have massive quantities of money and large populations of investors that they must answer to. In those cases, many institutional investors have begun to divest from extremely dirty, carbon-producing industries simply because of the pressure of their members.
A carbon strategy shows investors that your organization is attempting to reduce its environmental impact and increase its corporate responsibility. This creates a favourable image in the minds of investors and draws more investment money from more diverse sources, allowing your organization to grow with the public funding you issued stocks for.
Reason 3: Employee expectations
In the era of the Great Resignation, employees are seeking employers that show responsibility towards the values they hold close. Millions have bought electric cars, hybrid cars, and high-efficiency cars simply because they want to have a smaller impact on the environment. Millions of employees will not only look at their salary, benefits, and the corporate culture, but will also look at the company’s environmental strategies and make commitments for companies that are conscious of their impact on the world around them.
A published carbon strategy with implementation, reflecting measurable results will go a long way to inviting employees who see part of a corporation’s success as needing to be carbon neutral or carbon positive.
Reason 4: Climate legislation
Until recently, businesses and industries could expect that the government would protect them from legislation that would affect their bottom-line regarding carbon emissions and environmental impact overall. For decades, politicians and parties have stymied efforts by others to implement climate legislation and laws even when the scientific evidence was overwhelming.
The same consumer pressure that exists for corporations to create a carbon strategy is now coming to bear on politicians. As large-scale, devastating weather and natural disasters affect increased numbers of people, fewer people can deny the effects of climate change. This has created a seismic shift in many political organizations that climate change, including carbon emissions, will need to be handled on a larger scale and with greater speed.
By having a complete, implemented carbon strategy that addresses issues within your organization, you will be able to stay ahead of legislation. This means you can make your own decisions and timelines, without struggling to meet an arbitrary deadline set by legislators for changes that you do not determine.
Reason 5: Consumer expectation
Where “green products” were only sought by a small portion of consumers in the past, most of today’s consumers look for products that are recycled, recyclable, carbon neutral, and show other efforts to be environmentally responsible.
Consumers are making purchasing decisions based on the efforts companies are making to reduce their carbon footprint. Using your carbon strategy as a marketing tool can make it a profitable effort beyond any savings, efficiency, or reduction of fuel usage.
To consumers, a carbon strategy displays an effort on a company’s part to be a good corporate citizen. Even if your company is not in the oil and gas industry, transportation, or agriculture, where the majority of carbon emissions occur, your carbon strategy displays an effort to do all that you can in your sphere of influence. In the future, this will become one of the strongest marketing tools your company can create and implement.
Not changing will be expensive
For all the reasons listed above and others that are less obvious, not changing will be an expensive choice. While it is comfortable to stay with the current carbon strategy, which may be no strategy at all, the winds of change will force corporations to change their carbon emissions and environmental impacts.
Because every solution to reducing carbon in creating a viable and strong carbon strategy conserves energy or reduces non-renewable energy usage, it is the conservative solution. These solutions, while they may have a larger upfront cost, will also provide long-term benefits, and decrease expenses in the future.
By analogy, this is a moment not unlike the change for many companies who had to make the choice to move from horse-drawn carriages to the more expensive, but more efficient, internal combustion trucks to carry their products to market.
Changing now and creating a carbon strategy that will be viable in the future will not only save you money but could very well save your business.