Why is decarbonising important?
Decarbonising has become a worldwide phenomenon and a priority for the public and private sectors. This is because decarbonising is vital in the quest of fighting climate change. Businesses across all industries (e.g., in consumer products, energy, transport) have set goals to become net zero by 2050 following the Paris Agreement.
We believe that structurally reducing all CO2 emissions in the private sector is the way forward to achieving the goals set in the Paris Agreement. This goes for your business as well in your supply chains. Moving away from fossil fuels can help to accelerate the energy transition.
Where should we decarbonise?
The organisational footprint
Today we should expect most companies to have insight in the footprint of their organisation and reduce it, but smaller companies are lagging behind. For reduction, companies should attempt to improve the energy efficiency of stores by using LEDs, more efficient heating, ventilation, and heat pumps. For business mobility as well as commuting a sustainable travel policy is a must. The use of public transport, electric cars, and especially less flying can significantly decrease a company’s climate impact.
For grocers, refrigeration in stores is a concerning emission and will require considerate efforts to manage refrigerant leaks and, in extreme cases, a complete rethink of store systems.
Supply chain footprint
Emissions in the supply chain, so-called Scope 3 emissions, can account for 80 percent of the total carbon footprint for many companies. The direct costs of abating these emissions would fall primarily on their suppliers—for example, to install heat pumps, solar power generation, and energy storage in their manufacturing facilities or switch to green materials and sustainable, low-carbon packaging for products. A large part of Scope 3 emissions can be reduced by focusing on the downstream emissions from the use of products once they are sold. Measures include decarbonizing the grid by switching to cleaner sources of energy and encouraging consumers to trade in older, less energy-efficient products for newer, more energy-efficient ones.
Also, focus on the reduction of methane.
Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas contributor to climate change following carbon dioxide. On a 100-year timescale, methane has 28 times greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide. Approximately one-third of global anthropogenic methane emissions come from the energy sector. Reducing methane emissions is a significant step towards keeping temperature increase below 2°C. Participants joining the Methane Pledge, done at last year’s CoP in Glasgow, agree to take voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030.
- The estimation is that 45% of the emissions in the energy sector can be mitigated at no net cost, given that methane is a saleable product in the form of natural gas.
- Focus on reducing methane emissions in the agriculture and waste sectors is urgent also with a need for international collaboration, including through engagement with third countries and multilateral initiatives.
What can the private sector do?
The agrifood sector is responsible for methane emissions. Last 2 years we see increasing efforts to reduce methane emissions, mainly by food brands and the retail sector in their supply chains. Next to carbon reduction they accelerate methane reduction from farm to fork.
What can the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) do?
- Develop more offsetting projects such as regenerative agriculture and biodigestion of manure and biomass to biogas and eventually followed by a biogas to electricity process. This can globally support the energy transition.
- Since waste is a large problem globally and especially in developing countries because there is no proper waste handling. Increased urbanisation greatly exacerbated this problem. Here the establishment of proper landfill waste sites with biodigesters can reduce methane and improve the lives of local people significantly. Today they suffer from a lot of stenches which negatively affects their well-being and health.