Pioneering the Path to Decarbonisation
In this ever-evolving industry, companies must think innovatively when decarbonising across all aspects of their operations in order to prepare for the inevitable changes ahead. As such, it’s critical to envision what is yet to come and how effective decarbonisation can aid in the path to limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.
In the last blog of this series, we share our view with fellow industry leader MyCarbon on the industry and what we would like to see happen to bring about more transparency, accessibility and effective climate action.
Our Vision for Greener Future
Here's what Dr. Toby Green, Co-Founder and Director of MyCarbon had to say about the future of the industry:
”The industry is only now booming very much in its infancy and it’s got a lot of growing to do. There will be a larger emphasis on the validation and expertise of carbon accounting.
It’s a bit ridiculous that to be a qualified financial accountant, it takes several years of tough examinations; all due to the importance of getting the job right. Yet, anyone can be a carbon accountant. In the future, this will have to change! You can’t have just anyone classed as a carbon accountant overnight or without the right qualification. The same is true when it comes to net-zero strategies and emission reduction roles. This is why we pride ourselves on the academic and scientific training of our team, who have worked hard to achieve credible skills that help our clients manage their impact with confidence.
Similarly, it’s silly that a company can claim carbon neutrality by just calculating their scope 1 and 2 emissions and offsetting them, without any auditing of the original calculations. We will continue to push for the industry to enforce more transparent communication around the methodologies of how footprints are calculated, and the assumptions and work that goes into the final figures that are used. Whilst more scrutiny might make reporting challenging in the short term, it will ensure that long term changes can actually take place... and once good standards are set and implemented, they will become easier to follow!
Mandatory reporting will also become more of a thing. In the UK, we already have SECR and TCFD, but there will be more stringent regulations for carbon accounting and reporting. This will ensure that companies are accurately measuring and reporting their emissions, and that they are taking steps to reduce them in line with net-zero targets.
In order for a country to hit net-zero, all companies working within that region also need to hit net-zero. This means that there will be a need for more rigorous standards around carbon offsetting and removal. Any offset or removal scheme that is used must be Paris Aligned, meaning it meets the criteria set out in the Paris Agreement. This is part of what excites us so much about our collaboration with GoodZero, who very much share this belief.
This will have a significant impact on the offsetting market, as more companies will be looking for high-quality offsets to help them meet their targets.”
“One significant shift we observe is the growing focus on avoidance and removal projects, with an increasing emphasis on removal. While this presents new opportunities, we must acknowledge the challenges that come with it. The availability and long-term effects of removal projects are not yet fully understood since many are still in their early stages. As we venture into uncharted territory, it's crucial to proceed cautiously and ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of these projects. As such, collaboration with the scientific community is essential to help validate these new removal projects in line with the Paris Agreement.
Another critical aspect we need to address is the scalability of removal projects. As we explore their potential, we must ensure that these projects can be scaled up effectively to have a significant impact. Investing in research and innovation will be crucial to unlocking the full potential of removal solutions.
Meanwhile, it's important to recognize that offsets alone are not a comprehensive solution. They are a valuable tool to help us on our journey towards net-zero, but they should be accompanied by real efforts to reduce emissions within a company’s operations and industry. We must strive for a holistic approach that addresses both carbon neutrality and biodiversity conservation. Projects that consider biodiversity alongside carbon offsets have the potential to create meaningful and lasting positive change.
Lastly, a topic close to my heart is the disparity between the global south and the global north. I strongly believe that the global north must shift its focus in carbon offset projects towards the global south. These regions are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change and should be the primary recipients of our support, especially financial. By directing our efforts towards the areas most vulnerable to climate change, we align with the urgency of the Paris Agreement and work towards the goal of reducing emissions by 2030.
As we look ahead to the future of the voluntary carbon market, I can easily envision a transition towards a mandatory system. This shift would require careful consideration and collaboration among industry stakeholders. By focusing on removal projects, directing our efforts towards the global south, and embracing a comprehensive approach that addresses both emissions and biodiversity, we can make significant strides towards a sustainable future. Let us seize this opportunity to inspire change and work together towards a world that thrives in harmony with nature.”
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