Carbon Intelligence | Our 1.5C science-based target
We have become the world’s first zero carbon company to have our climate goal approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative
“We’re walking the talk on sustainability and showing first-hand the benefits of aligning sustainability to business value by setting science-based targets.”
-Richard Tarboton, Director of Strategic Services
When the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) put out a call-to-action in 2016, we were eager to respond. As a zero carbon company we wanted to demonstrate our continued commitment by setting an ambitious science-based target. Over 1000 companies have committed to setting a target, and we have now joined the 600+ of these who have had targets approved by the SBTI.
In the UK, 99% of all businesses are small-medium enterprises like Carbon Intelligence (companies with fewer than 250 employees), but so far, less than 1% of those organisations that have had their targets approved by the SBTI are SMEs.
What have we committed to?
Based on the criteria set out by the SBTi, we have committed to four targets to achieve by 2030.
- Maintain zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions, no fuels and procuring renewable electricity tariff
- Reduce emissions from purchased goods & services by -65% per £ million added value
- Engage with top 30% of suppliers to set own science-based targets
- Reduce emissions from business travel by -40% per p-km
The fit out and design process of Carbon Intelligence’s office focused on sustainability and staff well-being, supporting the team’s passion for delivering high quality consulting with a keen environmental focus.
How will we do it?
Each target comes with their own associated action that we have identified.
- We will continue to power our office with renewables
- Our telecoms and our online data storage will be powered by renewables
- We will identify and engage with targeted suppliers
- We will opt for greener modes of business travel e.g. rail
First steps: establish baseline
Baselining seeks to quantify relevant and material emission sources. We found that our overall environmental impact comes from scope 3 sources, which we modelled in detail; our scope 1 and 2 emissions are zero because the office is powered by renewable energy and we don’t consume fuels.
Set ambitious scope 3 targets
The SBTi requires that companies set emission reduction targets that collectively cover at least 2/3s of scope 3 emissions. We identified the emission reduction actions before setting our targets, to ensure our commitments were achievable and appropriate to our operations.
Internal Approval: Building the Business Case
To prove to our management team that an SBT wouldn’t limit growth, we developed an achievable, costed-up strategy. Asking three key questions allowed us to pitch our proposals: What if we don’t adopt a target? What if we don’t achieve it? What are the pros & cons?
Board approval was followed by a thorough official validation process. Targets were assessed by the SBTi Review Team and approved by the Target Validation Team with the issuing of the coveted SBTi decision letter.
We then determined that this six Scope 3 categories were relevant and calculated their materiality:
PURCHASED GOODS AND SERVICES
FUEL AND ENERGY-RELATED ACTIVITIES
UPSTREAM TRANSPORTATION AND DISTRIBUTION
An approved 1.5C science-based target and market differentiation from competitors.