Minimising the CO2 emissions of an enterprise can both cut its costs and boost its brand value. Rodrigo Bezerra, marketing supply manager for BP Target Neutral, offers his advice on reducing your firm’s ecological footprint
Becoming a carbon-neutral enterprise and/or developing carbon-neutral products and services can be highly effective ways of tackling the climate-change challenge while also enhancing your company’s brand.
The process of going carbon-neutral doesn’t need to be costly or complex. Indeed, it promises rapid cost and efficiency savings, meaning that you’ll have more money to reinvest in your business.
BP Target Neutral is a voluntary carbon offsetting programme that has been developing carbon-neutral products and services for BP’s customers and partners since 2007.
Having worked to international best-practice standards in this field for more than a decade, we can offer a number of tips, based on the experience we have gained, for building an effective carbon-neutral strategy.
1. Set clear objectives
Carbon-neutrality projects have more chance of lasting success when backed with a sound business case or CSR objective. Do you know your market? How will you position the marketing? What extra value can you gain from going carbon-neutral? If you consider such questions at the outset, it will help later. Conduct customer research or test mocked-up propositions to see what’s likely to work.
2. Measure and manage your emissions data
Engage an expert to help measure carbon emissions across the life-cycle of your product and/or operations. This is important, because it will highlight wastage and potential efficiency savings.
3. Plan for the long term
Going carbon-neutral requires a lasting commitment that needs to fit with your business strategy. In fact, its benefits will be realised only if you take a long-term approach to the process. You’ll benefit from year-on-year cost and efficiency savings as you carry out your carbon-reduction plan.
4. Work to a best-practice standard
Adopt an internationally recognised framework, such as the British Standards Institution’s PAS 2060. Working to such a standard will lend independent credibility to any carbon-neutrality claim.
5. Put purpose behind offsetting
Most firms have certain emissions that can’t be reduced, which is where offsetting comes in. Using credits from carbon-reduction projects to offset these is a great way to achieve carbonneutrality. An offsetting project will often do more than cut a firm’s carbon footprint; it can also improve lives in the community in which it operates. Unlock the full value of this investment and consider its use as a marketing tool.
6. Visit your offset projects
Not all offset programmes are created equal. Gaining a good understanding of what you’re investing in will mitigate risk, so a fact-finding mission is a good use of your time. Gaining a deeper knowledge of your offset projects this way will also help you maximise their marketing value.
7. Be transparent in your reporting
If you do this right, you’ll have much to be proud of. Publish all documentation backing your carbon-neutrality claim in line with the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance’s code of best practice (icroa.org).
For further information about BP Target Neutral, visit bptargetneutral.com
Rodrigo Bezerra is a civil engineer with a master’s degree in energy and environmental management. Having worked in the carbon sector for 12 years (three of which have been at BP), he has been influential in fields including policy, strategy and international offset project development