Why becoming carbon literate is a must for all businesses

18 November 2021 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Ilona Alcock, a Director at Elevate, a business development consultancy focused on the sustainability domain, explains why becoming carbon literate nowadays should be a must for businesses of all sizes.

Hot on the heels of COP26, one thing in particular is becoming increasingly clear: businesses must commit to becoming more sustainable, and fast. For the first time ever, the people in power are beginning to understand that we are too far gone to wait until COP27, or COP28 – change needs to happen now.

The best piece of advice I can give is that businesses prepare for these changes in advance, so that they can continue to thrive within a much greener landscape. Preparing for such a change should not be feared: it should be seen as an opportunity to create new jobs, upskill the workforce, and export innovative solutions.

Ilona Alcock, Elevate

In fact, the UK is changing as we speak, perhaps best exemplified by the fact that our low carbon economy is almost four times the size of our manufacturing sector, generating £42.6 billion in 2019 alone. As more and more businesses across the country realise that a reduced carbon footprint is the key to a successful, greener future, carbon literacy training has been thrust to the forefront of the fight against climate change.

Businesses need to start thinking seriously about the impact they can have on the environment, but many raise concerns about the cost of adopting greener options, be that renewable energy, electric vehicles or zero carbon buildings. However, the majority of changes actually offer immediate cost savings (e.g. through reducing waste) or deliver significant ROI over a period of time (e.g. installing solar panels).

In fact, it has been shown that sustainable investments perform at least as well as the wider market, with ethical investments firms like Castlefield seeing unprecedented interest in ESG funds.

Carbon literacy training should be seen as a lifeline – as a means of providing businesses with essential climate change learning that catalyses action to reduce greenhouse gases. Those businesses that have received carbon literacy training understand the impact they have upon the planet, and possess both the knowledge and skills that allow them to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 15%. What is also becoming clear is that not acting now will lead to huge future costs.

What’s more, recent research has shown that 70% of people would prefer to work for a company with a strong environmental agenda. The younger generation expect their employer to have a sustainability policy and want to be involved in driving positive change. KPMG, for example, where the average employee age is 25, now offers advice on living sustainability outside of work, as well practical changes – like banning single use plastics in offices.

Here at Elevate, we are proud to be the world’s first carbon literate business development organisation. The green agenda is by far the most common issue that businesses in every sector want to talk to us about, whether that is to increase their knowledge or to share best practice with others.

We believe that businesses need to work towards changing before they are forced to do so. The Government’s focus on sustainability is only going to increase over the course of the next decade, and the companies making the right decisions and investments today will be best placed to reap the benefits of tomorrow’s greener landscape.