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Will reducing my business’s carbon footprint take a lot of my time !?

While 2050 remains the target for many of the Government’s Net Zero plans, 2030, remains an important milestone for demonstrating real progress to these targets. As this date looms large on the horizon and more and more customers choose to deal with sustainable organisations, the need for businesses to implement a carbon reduction strategy and publish their net zero commitments is becoming ever-more necessary.

But, despite many small and medium sized businesses wanting to do something about their carbon footprint they lack the internal resource to manage this themselves.

So it is understandable that with an already squeezed workforce, business owners want to understand the commitment required in order to first measure their carbon footprint, and then plot a strategy to achieve meaningful carbon reduction goals.

Investment v reward

In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every business is different, has different starting points and different roadmaps. The time and resource required to reduce your business's carbon footprint can vary depending on several factors, such as the size and nature of your business, the current levels of emissions, the reductions you wish to make at the time and strategies you implement to do so.

But while it's true that some measures may require an additional investment of time and effort, the benefits of reducing the carbon footprint of any business often outweighs the initial commitment.

Annual Cycle of carbon measurement and reduction

Perhaps the best way to describe the commitments needed by businesses in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint is by outlining the process we undertake, on an annual basis to help businesses manage their carbon emissions and achieve their carbon reduction targets.

At Go Climate Positive, we take our credibility in regard to carbon reduction extremely seriously and take a number of steps to ensure any efforts and activities are backed by internationally recognised standards. Our carbon coaches use an annual cycle of calculation, reduction, offsetting, accreditation and tailored support to help businesses understand and then reduce their carbon emissions.

First a client’s current carbon footprint is calculated using the full implementation of the Green House Gas (GHG) protocol corporate accounting and reporting standard, including the Value Chain (Scope 3) standard.

Our carbon coaches then set science-based targets to provide a clearly-defined pathway to reduce these emissions in line with the overall goal set by the UN and the UK Government, to limit global warming to 1.5°C, supported by a tailored action plan for each business to implement.

What Happens After I Sign Up?

Kick off meeting

Once a client signs up, we book a kick-off meeting which usually takes around two hours. To help you prepare, we will send you a range of questions beforehand. Your answers will help us determine the emissions generating activities we need to include in your footprint calculation, which in turn helps to identify the data you need to collect for us.

This can cover up to 22 categories of activity (which covers the full “Scope 1,2 & 3” analysis) as we think it's important to get a complete understanding of your footprint, but of course some data will be more relevant and more readily available. To ensure the job stays manageable we always aim to work with the data you have available now, not what we might ideally like in theory.

Data collection

All of your required emissions data is uploaded to the Go Climate Positive portal. You don’t have to collect all the data at once, you can visit the portal as many times as you like. The data format is very flexible and if you would like more than one person to be responsible for collecting the data, we will send out invites to as many people in your organisation as you need.

We ask you to aim to complete the task in no longer than 8 weeks, which is important for maintaining momentum. In our experience this initial data collection is likely to be the most time-consuming part of the process for you. The good news is that having done it once, most clients find it gets easier in future years.

Read this article to find out more and what data do need to collect

Carbon Footprint calculation

Once we have your data, it will typically take us up to two weeks to calculate your carbon footprint and we might need to ask you for some more information during this time.


We will create your draft Carbon Footprint report in the portal and give you a breakdown to help you understand it in detail.

Agree emissions reduction targets, short-term actions and offsetting strategy.

The findings of your report will help us agree your Science based targets with you and then we will help you to write an action plan and set targets based on your goals.

You can read more about this process in our article what happens after I sign up’.

Time for Employee engagement

Incorporating Scope 3 (Value Chain) carbon emissions also includes the commuting and business travel of employees. These emissions can rarely be reduced without the full engagement of a workforce. Therefore, to calculate these accurately, some time might be required to create a staff survey. Also, whilst not strictly mandatory, spending time to create cross-organisation buy-in to sustainability plans generally leads to a more successful outcome for the business.

What else should I expect?

It is really important that prospective clients understand the way we work and how this effects the amount of time required of them. While you may be familiar with the work of consultants, we describe ourselves as Carbon Coaches.

We think of a consultant is someone who understands how to achieve carbon reduction in a specific area of specialism e.g. sustainable energy and will help you to identify and implement changes in that area, whereas a Carbon Coach helps you to identify which are the right areas – across the spectrum of options – that are right for your business.

This means we take a slightly different approach to the hands on, done-for-you model.

Our role is still to help you achieve your desired outcomes by facilitating your carbon reduction journey. We will be your climate conscience and will support you every step of the way, but it is important that you understand that you will take ownership of your own journey and the implementation of the agreed actions.

We will empower you to make the right decisions and, will hold you accountable for delivering your carbon reduction plans.

As your partner, what we ask in return is you supply data in a timely and accurate fashion and give an honest appraisal of your commitment and motivations to achieving the targets you set for your business.

The first step, and therefore investment of time involves assessing your business's current carbon emissions and identifying areas for improvement. This is a relatively quick piece of work but will lead to a requirement for data gathering. We ask that this is undertaken within an eight-week window but how much time this requires will depend on the nature of your business, the amount of data required and its current availability.

Once we have your data, we will analyse it and help you to create an action plan to reduce your carbon emissions.

One important thing to understand about our service is that you don't need to spend time understanding how to calculate your carbon footprint correctly - we do that for you.

The time required for implementing your action plan depends on the specific measures you choose to adopt. This might include improving energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy sources, optimising transportation and logistics, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable practices among employees. Other changes may also be required out of the scope of your normal business activities and lie with your suppliers or other members of your value chain, meaning some changes may be relatively quick and easy to implement, while others may take more time.

It is also important to recognise that carbon footprint reduction is an ongoing process and so represents a long-term commitment. We work with clients on an annual cycle of measurement, reduction and certification to ensure they remain committed to their carbon reduction goals, but also as new technologies and practices emerge, they stay informed and continue to make informed decisions over time.

Over the next 10 years we expect a rapid increase in the number of businesses required to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions by law, perhaps extending to all small to medium-sized enterprises. We also expect all suppliers to public bodies and PLCs to be required to have a carbon reduction plan in place. Lastly, there is a growing expectation from consumers that businesses should be doing what they can to tackle the climate emergency and a growing desire from business owners to play their part. Therefore, the time investment made on any carbon reduction activities is a worthwhile endeavour. Reducing your carbon footprint can lead to cost savings, increased operational efficiency, enhanced reputation, as well as a positive impact on the world we live in.

To talk to one of our Carbon Coaches about how we can help reduce the carbon footprint of your business, get in touch today.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about this, or any other aspect of the Go Climate Positive programme.

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21 Naunton Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucs, UK GL53 7BJ

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