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Carbon Management Hierarchy – What Does it Mean?

Published: 14th June 2024

What does Carbon Management Hierarchy really mean?

A carbon management hierarchy means a collective group of companies in which their aim is to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.  This involves focusing on reducing and offsetting carbon emissions. With this, the carbon management hierarchy helps companies find the correct balance to help with the hierarchy. Therefore, they are ensuring an efficient path towards their net zero goals. Carbon management is also about understanding how businesses are contributing to carbon emissions and taking accountability and pursuing steps to reduce them as much as possible.

What is Net Zero Emissions?

Net Zero emissions is when the greenhouse gases that are being put out into the atmosphere are balanced by being removed back out of the atmosphere.  The point of net zero is when global warming stops.  It is important to be aware that to reduce all emissions to zero by the timescale needed will be incredibly difficult to achieve, hence the usage of the term ‘net’.

In order for net zero to be effective, it has to be permanent. For this to be called permanent, it means that removed greenhouse gas does not return to the atmosphere.  In other words, meaning greenhouse gases should not return to the atmosphere through incorrect carbon storage or deforestation.

The goal is Net Zero, however, there are different terms such as (Carbon Neutral, Net Zero, and Climate Neutral) which point to different ways that emissions sources and sinks are accounted for in context. It is internationally agreed that Net Zero is the ultimate goal for mitigating global warming.

What is mitigation?

Mitigation means reducing climate change and involves reducing the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Reducing these sources of gases or enhancing the sinks that accumulate will store these gases, and the goal of mitigation is to avoid human interference with the climate system and allow the greenhouse gas levels to stabilize. By doing this, it will allow the ecosystem a chance to adapt to its natural climate change.

Steps to reducing carbon emissions

Monitor carbon emissions

Before setting a target for reduction you will firstly need to know what your current carbon emissions are. Once you have identified and monitored your carbon emissions, the next step is to set a target for reducing those amounts.

Identifying opportunities

After you have set your reduction target, the next step is to identify the opportunities and ways in which you are able to reach the target.

Implementation

Once the opportunities for reducing have been identified it is important to assess and select the ones that will fit best within your organisation and your goals, and then set out to implement them.

Tracking

Continue to track and monitor your carbon emissions on a regular basis throughout the year in order to see how your reductions are going based on your set target. Use this tracking data to continue making reductions and explore new opportunities to aid your reduction target.

Link objectives

Link your carbon reduction with your company’s commercial objectives and goals. It is important to include your carbon footprint data within your end of year accounts too.

Carbon accreditation processes

There are two main carbon accreditations that you can work towards obtaining to show that you are setting out to reduce your carbon emissions as a business, these are:

ISO 50001

The ISO 50001 energy management system allows businesses to establish the best practices when it comes to energy efficiency.  Not only will it help save your business money, but it will also improve performance, aid in protecting the environment and boost your green credentials.  The ISO 50001 certificate shows customers and investors that your business is committed to reducing its carbon emissions.

B-Corp Certification

A B-Corp Certification measures a company’s social and environmental performance and verifies that a business is achieving high standards of environmental transparency and social responsibility.  This can include supply chain and materials, charitable efforts, and employee benefits.

Why is it important to obtain a carbon accreditation?

Obtaining a carbon accreditation will not only demonstrate to your customers and investors that you are committed to helping the environment, but it will also avoid the risk of greenwashing.  It will allow you to be authentic in your carbon emission reduction goals and help to keep you on track.  As more and more consumers and corporations are setting out on the path to become sustainable, having a carbon certification will also give you a competitive edge over other businesses within your industry.

Final thoughts

By undertaking the steps outlined, you can set out on the path to reducing your carbon emissions as a business.  Alongside this, by becoming carbon certified through one of the above accreditations you will also enhance your company profile and demonstrate that you are committed to lower your carbon emissions.

BEM Services provides expert knowledge and advice across all sectors of the construction industry, alongside mechanical and electrical engineering expertise. To find out more, contact us today.