ESG initiatives for a net zero future? Hold on to your assets

4 minutes

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. For many organizations globally, it’s a goal, plan and mission. It’s a time of opportunity, and we’re seeing organizations across public and private sectors setting aggressive net zero emissions targets

With environmental social governance (ESG) initiatives driving changes, the concept of carbon neutrality can become a reality. From serving as stewards for tomorrow’s planet to saving money through more efficient operations, there are many reasons for organizations to pursue smart and achievable sustainability goals — and it starts with your assets.

Since more and more local, state and federal governments worldwide are stepping up to help tackle carbon emissions, we’re illuminating the basics of all things net zero and ESG. 

So, what exactly is net zero? 

Net zero is broadly defined as a target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases created by human activity through reducing emissions and absorbing existing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, which is no small feat.

The bulk of greenhouse gases are produced by burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and, the most significant contributor to emissions in the United States at 27%, transportation. Fuel switching, improving operating practices or developing more fuel-efficient technologies are just a few ways to reduce emissions across transportation.

How does ESG fit into the net zero story?

Environmental, social and governance are metrics or factors used to evaluate organizations and countries on their sustainability efforts and are becoming increasingly important to investors.

  • Environmental can include the contribution an organization makes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, waste management and energy efficiency.
  • Social includes human rights, labor standards and routine issues such as adherence to workplace safety. 
  • Governance is a set of rules defining rights, expectations and responsibilities between different stakeholders.

With sustainability surfacing as a global objective, many investors and policy makers are demanding ESG plans that outline a path to meet net-zero carbon emission targets.

How can organizations reach net zero emissions?

Reducing fuel dependency and use can help organizations achieve net zero and sustainability goals. Still, it can be more complex than simply switching out a fleet of fossil fuel vehicles for ones that utilize renewable energy. 

Whether the challenge is tracking your energy usage across manufacturing operations or monitoring and managing a large collection of buildings, reaching a net zero state boils down to gathering and understanding the data.

To achieve net zero, organizations need to track and analyze every asset that produces carbon. Without this information, you can’t effectively manage energy consumption and environmental impact. 

A basic blueprint for net zero should look something like:
  1. Calculate your carbon footprint. An organization’s carbon footprint is the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result of operations.
  2. Gather and track data. From utility bills to overall consumption, by examining and recording your company’s energy usage, you can spot trends over time and identify opportunities for improvement.
  3. Create a plan (and follow through). Once you understand your company’s carbon footprint and your baseline data, you can develop a strategy to help lower and eliminate emissions.
  4. Repeat. 
Why is it important to invest in sustainability? 

There are significant benefits of working toward net zero. For starters, steps taken today can help tomorrow’s people and planet. Another reason is more efficient energy usage can result in savings across your organization.

A lower-carbon future can mean lower costs. With smart tools like IoT, otherwise known as Internet of Things, that can track, analyze and remediate energy usage across your entire organization, you can ensure you’re only using what’s needed — and only paying for what you use. Additionally, as regulatory bodies increasingly reach for net zero goals, the price of non-compliance will likely only grow. 

Moving forward, ESG-related data will factor more heavily into nearly every aspect of business as organizations and governments are held accountable for the expectations set to address everything from social inequity to climate change. With net zero targets top of mind, now is the time to gather tools to track and get a grip on your company’s energy use and data. 

Whether your organization has aggressive sustainability goals or is just starting to investigate your options, gaining visibility into your assets can help you better understand your usage and identify opportunities for cost-saving adjustments.

Brightly energy solutions enable operations professionals to realize a future where smart assets power efficient operations to create more sustainable communities.