Decarbonisation roadmaps are currently being developed by governments, sectors and organisations across the world to define the actions that will be taken to achieve reduction targets. Here we share some of the lessons we learnt along the way to building the ATI’s organisational Net Zero Roadmap.
Not only is the ATI accelerating the transformation of the aerospace by supporting the development of ultra-efficient and zero-carbon technologies, we also believe it’s important to show leadership by reducing our own emissions too. Back in March, the ATI signed up to the Race to Zero campaign, pledging to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest.
Since signing up, we have been developing our own internal Net Zero Roadmap to identify areas to reduce emissions and actions to implement in the short and longer term. The simple methodology we used can be applied widely across many different types of organisations and sectors and here we share some of the lessons we learnt along the way.
1) Consider what you want to achieve and set your target. While you may wish to align your targets with national commitments you may strive to be more ambitious. Defining the scope and timeframe for your target is also important. The carbon reduction target the ATI set relates to absolute emissions, but we also decided to track an intensity metric. In our case this was carbon emissions per employee, but others could also be considered such as carbon per £m of revenue. This is particularly useful if your organisation is likely to change over time, as this will help you normalise the data in the future.
2) Buy-in and participation are key right across the business. Without this you’re unlikely to have sufficient resource committed, unlikely to be targeting the right areas, and won’t be able to effectively implement your roadmap. It’s important to appoint a lead with sufficient time and focus to drive the project forward but the whole business will need to participate in the development and implementation of your roadmap to ensure decarbonisation is achieved. One way to achieve buy-in is by reflecting on the financial savings that can be achieved through decarbonising (which typically far outweigh the costs), as well as the reputational risks of not making progress towards Net Zero as an organisation.
3) Baseline your carbon footprint. Data is crucial, because without an understanding of your carbon footprint you won’t be able to determine how you can reduce it effectively. The accuracy of your data can be improved over time, so don’t strive for perfection initially if it’s holding you back from making progress towards developing a roadmap. The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol sets a standard for classifying an organisation’s GHG emissions and explains how to group them into scope 1, 2 and 3. The ATI’s data showed that over 95% of emissions were scope 3, largely relating to purchased goods and services. We therefore calculated much of our baseline footprint using spend-based conversion factors. This only gives a crude estimate of emissions but it provided us with an adequate indication of where we needed to focus efforts, while internally acknowledging the need to gather more accurate data from suppliers where possible in the future.
4) Generate ideas to reduce emissions over time. Our brainstorming sessions plotted ideas against feasibility and impact, to assess the likely impact of each suggested action on our footprint and the cost or effort associated with implementation. For example, moving our website to a hosting platform powered by renewable electricity was considered low cost and effort but relatively impactful, while the business cost associated with moving to a 100% paperless office was currently considered too high although it may be something we wish to consider in the future.
5) Put the actions you intend to take forward into a timeline, prioritising those actions with the highest anticipated impact and lowest cost or effort, and agree the timeline with those involved in delivery. By estimating what impact each action will have on your carbon footprint you can then plot your anticipated carbon reduction against your target trajectory over time to determine if your plan is likely to be sufficient.
6) Your roadmap is now ready for implementation. A regular review will ensure actions can be added, amended or reprioritised based on changes to your carbon footprint because of business activity or additional information being received, or based on emerging policy or technology. This will also allow you to take additional action if your carbon reduction achievements are not in line with your predictions.
In summary, don’t hesitate to start your journey along the road to Net Zero. With ambition, focus and a simple framework you can achieve significant cost savings and reduce risk for your organisation. The aerospace sector is rightly focused on achieving Net Zero flight but organisations are also minimising lifecycle emissions through more sustainable practices which an organisational roadmap can support. For further guidance please visit: