Investing in carbon reduction projects can help companies achieve CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) objectives. Decarbonisation, carbon offset projects, and carbon neutrality are all terms used to reduce carbon emissions to preserve the environment, provide clean water, etc. Decarbonisation is also part of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) to help limit the factors of climate change.
What is Decarbonisation? How to reduce your carbon footprint?
After the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide emissions have risen by about 50% due to our activities. This is way higher than the natural emissions of CO2 during the last 20 000 years! These important emissions alongside other GHG have a great impact on the climate.
In December 2015 the Paris Agreement resulted from was the result of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. This agreement is an international treaty about climate change binding the 196 parties that adopted this agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions, including carbon emissions. The purpose of this agreement is to limit global warming. Since then low carbon solutions and carbon neutrality targets have been on the rise.
Furthermore, in November 2021 the UN Climate Change Conference’s outcome (COP26) was the Glasgow Climate Pact. This agreement reaffirms the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the “temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. Also among the agreed-upon actions was the action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 45% by 2030 relative to the 2010 level, and zero around 2050, in addition to the reduction of other greenhouse gases.
In 2023, many actions and requirements will be regulated regarding carbon emissions, especially since the European Commission adopted the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) directive back in November 2022. The CSRD contain a set of standards that are being developed by EFRAG under the name of ESRS (European Sustainable Reporting standards) which will be a set of 13 standards. In addition, the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) is also preparing with its committee the ISSB- (International Sustainability Standards Board) their standards IFRS S1 & S2. IFRS S2 is related to climate disclosure and mainly acts on reducing GHG emissions and carbon emissions.
We are still far from accomplishing these objectives, and further actions need to be taken, especially decarbonisation, to evade natural catastrophes.
What is Decarbonisation?
Decarbonisation refers to the measures, strategies, and processes implemented by organisations and countries to reduce carbon emissions and eventually achieve zero carbon emissions.
There are 3 types of emissions or SCOPE. The GHG emissions can be divided into direct and indirect emissions.
- Scope 1: Direct emissions from, for example, heating, cars and a company’s activities.
- Scope 2: Indirect emissions related to energy consumption (electricity, heating)
- Scope 3: Indirect emissions resulting from a company’s value chain, this includes purchase, services, distribution and other actions.
When a company wishes to track its carbon footprint, it is done by analysing the emissions from those 3 scopes combined.
Decarbonisation aims to replace our current energy consumption, especially fossil fuels with renewable clean energies.
How to reduce your carbon footprint?
We are in 2023 and we are already behind concerning the targets set in the Paris Agreement. However, it is not too late to make a bigger effort and achieve the goals set in the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow.
To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, strategies and policies are put in place. Among these policies we can mention the European Green Deal, Pathways to 2050: Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy, Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, The United Nations Climate Action PLAN, and many more actions are adopted and proposed. There are even international standards, such as ISO 14064 that can guide and help companies, governments, countries and other organisations to quantify, monitor and report on GHG emissions and removals.
To get there we can rely on “Green Technologies”. They are environment-friendly tools and approaches that seek to reduce the negative impact of climate change, by reducing GHG and carbon emissions. Sustainable activities and practices can be adopted to mitigate carbonisation. Here is an example of decarbonisation in some sectors:
Energy and electricity: Replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy resources and renewable energies for heating and electricity can greatly reduce carbon emissions, such as heat energy from biogas “methanogenesis”, and wind and solar energies for electricity generation. There is also the use of hydrogen as a furnace steam and waste incineration to produce electricity due to steam generation. The pathway to decarbonise Europe’s power system could cost around 403 billion euros.
Buildings: The cement industries are one of the most important emitters of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Adopting 3D printing technology can drastically reduce carbon emissions. Also shifting towards Green Buildings can help preserve natural resources. Also, Green roofs in the city can be important in capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. In cities, trees and vegetation can help reduce the temperature to around 8 degrees Celsius.
Transportation: This is one of the most essential polluting sectors in the world. Replacing fossil fuels has greatly started in the transport industry. More and more vehicles are manufactured that run on electricity and companies are being more and more competitive in the market with the use of this technology.
There is carbon capture and storage and hydrogen utilisation that can help in the shift to climate neutrality in sectors and activities where it is challenging to decarbonise. In addition, the Life Cycle Assessment can greatly help companies to estimate the carbon emissions that can be produced during the manufacturing of a product or other services and take action accordingly.
Individual efforts: Of course other than industries and the huge sectors of the economy it is up to us to act and make a difference even if it is small. Many small differences combined can lead to a great positive impact. We can choose energy suppliers that use renewable energy, collectively use public transportation rather than our cars, and promote and encourage the use of healthy transportation means by adopting electric vehicles. Encourage reforestation projects to reconstruct our planet’s lungs. Forests are major sources of carbon storage.
How can Carbon footpring and Digital work together?
Digital technologies are a major ally to industries to help them save energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions.
It is important to mention that the decarbonisation process includes several monitoring actions: measuring the evolution of emissions, energy consumption and production, evaluating the actions and the new procedures in place… All the gathered information demands analysis and evaluation and it can be a heavy administrative burden.
Among the digital technologies that help reduce carbon emissions, there is also the digitising process of decarbonisation in the industry.
A dedicated digital tool will allow data pooling and centralising all the information you need on a single platform, gathering real-time data from connected sensors and probes to measure and evaluate your carbon emissions.
It is possible to interconnect the platform with other internal tools and import data to your global action plan and set new objectives and actions that will automatically notify the parties concerned.
Business intelligence and statistical tools can provide dynamic dashboards that allow you to monitor the evolution of the carbon footprint and the evolution of your internal strategy.
According to several studies, decarbonisation processes can be costly and can reach around 119 trillion euros. But not acting to reduce carbon emissions can cost more as healthcare costs could greatly increase and natural disasters can be more and more frequent. Decarbonisation goes hand in hand with CSR and ESG policies adopted by corporations. Relying on a digital tool can help you efficiently monitor and take fast actions concerning carbon emissions, and it can be one of the steps of decarbonisation in your industry.
To go further:
> To understand more about digitising and monitoring your Greenhouse gas assessment with BlueKanGo, check out the "Greenhouse Gas assessment application" on the BlueMarket.