Carbon 101

Unveiling “Sustainability 101 for Small Business” – a new 10 part course

08 Apr 2024

With many of our clients, we’ve seen a recurring theme. When they come to us, they need upskilling to be able to understand and talk confidently about their carbon emissions today and their sustainability plan going forward. We’re also aware that a lot of companies know they should be doing more for the planet but are stuck on how to start. So, we thought, why not share what we know? 

That’s why we put together this course – to clear up the confusion and get more companies feeling ready to join in on the sustainability effort. Made for small businesses, this course focuses primarily on carbon accounting and management— which we believe is the most transformative first step.

So here for you is “Sustainability 101 for Small Business”.

In under an hour, our 10 concise videos will fit into your busy schedule, and hopefully sweep away the overwhelm. It’s all about that crucial first step. Ready to BEGIN HERE?

Why Should You Care?

In today’s market, sustainability is not just a badge of honour; it’s a strategic necessity. “Sustainability 101” simplifies complex concepts into bite-sized, digestible lessons. This course is your roadmap from “what if” to “what’s next,” turning climate commitment into your competitive edge.

This course will equip you with the knowledge to:

  • Make informed decisions that reduce costs and carbon footprint.
  • Enhance your brand’s appeal to customers and employees alike.
  • Future-proof your business against regulatory changes and market demands.

What’s Inside?

Here’s a snapshot of the transformative knowledge and skills you’ll acquire:

  • Chapter 1: Initiating Your Sustainability Journey – Discover how to kickstart your business’s sustainability efforts with a clear, four-step process emphasizing carbon literacy, sustainable integration, and impactful communication.
  • Chapter 2: Defining Your ‘Why’ – Understand the driving forces behind sustainable practices, from enhancing company culture and operational efficiency to safeguarding against regulatory changes and greenwashing.
  • Chapter 3: Overcoming Barriers – Tackle the challenges of cost, capacity, and complexity that hinder sustainability efforts, and learn strategies for overcoming these initial obstacles.
  • Chapter 4: Sustainability Terminology Demystified – Equip yourself with the essential vocabulary of sustainability, enabling clearer communication and a deeper understanding of key concepts.
  • Chapter 5: Understanding the Three Scopes of Emissions – Gain insights into Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, crucial for identifying and managing your carbon footprint effectively.
  • Chapter 6: Quantifying Carbon Emissions – Learn what a tonne of carbon really represents for the environment and your business, enhancing your ability to measure and articulate your impact.
  • Chapter 7: Achieving Net Zero – Explore the concept of Net Zero, understanding the balance between emissions reduction and offsetting to neutralize your carbon footprint.
  • Chapter 8: Measuring Your Carbon Footprint – Master the initial steps for calculating your business’s carbon footprint, setting a baseline for strategic reduction efforts.
  • Chapter 9: Identifying and Prioritizing Reduction Targets – Discover how to pinpoint your major carbon sources and develop targeted strategies for effective emission reductions.
  • Chapter 10: Practical Tool for Scope 1 and 2 Measurement – Access a free tool to measure your direct and indirect emissions, offering insights and starting points for reduction initiatives.

Chapter 1: Taking Your First Green Steps – A Journey Begins

Welcome to the starting line of something truly impactful – your business’s sustainability journey. With “Sustainability 101 for Small Businesses” we’re stripping back the layers of complexity and expense often associated with green initiatives to show you the simple, actionable ways your small business can make a big difference. Think of this chapter as the first day at the gym for your business – but instead of lifting weights, we’re lifting some of the weight off the planet’s shoulders.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

The Four Cornerstones of Sustainability for Small Businesses: We break down the process into four actionable steps: carbon literacy and integrating sustainability into your business ethos, calculating your carbon footprint, reduction and offsetting solutions and communicating your green credentials. For a closer look at how we apply these steps with businesses like yours, visit Our Carbon.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

To see these four stages of sustainability in action, check out some of our clients’ journeys. Liquona’s transformation into the UK’s first net carbon negative video production agency, and Active IQ’s leap towards leading with award-winning sustainability initiatives, exemplify the real-world application and impact of the sustainability journey you’re about to embark on. These stories not only inspire but also illustrate the tangible benefits of committing to sustainability:

Chapter 2: Uncovering Your ‘Why’ in Sustainability

Diving deeper into “Sustainability 101,” Chapter 2 guides you through identifying your core motivations for integrating sustainability into your business strategy. Understanding your ‘Why’ is crucial—it propels your journey forward, aligns your actions with your values, and communicates your commitment to stakeholders.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

– The critical role of understanding your business’s core motivations for embracing sustainability, highlighting the significance of aligning your sustainability goals with your overall business vision.

– Insights into defining your sustainability ‘Why’, which goes beyond the surface level of operational efficiency and brand improvement, to include enhancing employee morale, protecting against regulatory risks, and contributing to future-proofing your business against climate change impacts.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

For further insights into the tangible benefits of embedding sustainability within your small business, explore the British Business Bank’s article on the Benefits of ESG for Small Businesses. This resource underscores the competitive advantages of sustainable operations, including attracting eco-aware customers, meeting supply chain demands, enhancing employee satisfaction, reducing operational costs, and making your business more attractive to investors.

Chapter 3: Navigating Barriers to Sustainability

As we dive deeper into “Sustainability 101”, Chapter 3 tackles the real-world obstacles businesses face on their path to sustainability. Understanding these barriers is the first step toward overcoming them.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • An exploration of the three main challenges to sustainability: cost, capacity, and complexity. These barriers often deter businesses from starting their sustainability journey, but recognizing them is the first step in overcoming these challenges.
  • Insights into common misconceptions and practical obstacles, such as the perceived high costs of carbon accounting, the effort required to engage stakeholders, and the difficulty of integrating sustainable practices into daily operations.

Chapter 4: A Mini-Language Lesson in Sustainability

Chapter 4 demystifies the jargon of sustainability, providing you with the essential vocabulary needed to understand and communicate your sustainability efforts effectively.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • An introduction to key sustainability terms and concepts, helping you navigate the complex landscape of environmental responsibility.
  • The importance of clear communication in engaging stakeholders and fostering a culture of sustainability within your organization.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

For a comprehensive glossary of sustainability terms, HSBC UK offers a sustainability for business page for many more terms (Sustainability terms for business).

Chapter 5: Unraveling the Three Scopes of Emissions

In this chapter, we delve into the crucial aspects of carbon accounting by breaking down the three scopes of emissions. Understanding these scopes is foundational to measuring and managing your carbon footprint.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • A detailed explanation of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, providing a clear framework for identifying the different sources of greenhouse gases within your business operations.
  • Strategies for calculating and reducing emissions in each scope to create a more sustainable and resilient business model.

Chapter 6: What Exactly is a Tonne of Carbon?

Grasping the magnitude of a tonne of carbon is essential to understand the impact of our actions on the environment. This chapter aims to quantify and make tangible the often abstract concept of carbon emissions.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • An explanation of what constitutes a tonne of carbon in relatable terms, helping to visualize the volume and impact of emissions.
  • The significance of measuring carbon emissions accurately to identify and implement effective reduction strategies.

Understanding the scale of carbon emissions is a crucial step towards meaningful sustainability efforts. By comprehending what a tonne of carbon truly represents, businesses can better gauge their environmental impact and progress towards reduction goals.

Chapter 7: Net Zero – Navigating the Pathway to Sustainability

Achieving Net Zero is a critical goal for businesses striving to mitigate climate change. This chapter explains the concept of Net Zero and outlines the steps businesses can take to reach this ambitious target.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • The definition of Net Zero and its importance in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Practical steps and considerations for businesses aiming to achieve Net Zero, including emissions reductions and offsets.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

For those looking to take a deep dive into setting a science-based target for Net Zero, the Science Based Targets initiative offers comprehensive guidance. This more advanced reading is ideal for businesses committed to aligning their sustainability efforts with global goals to combat climate change. You can explore more about setting science-based Net Zero targets here.

Chapter 8: Creating Your First Carbon Footprint

Establishing your business’s carbon footprint is the cornerstone of any sustainability strategy. This chapter guides you through the initial steps of gathering the necessary data to calculate your carbon footprint.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • The significance of establishing a baseline year for your carbon emissions to track progress over time.
  • A straightforward approach to collecting data on your business’s activities, crucial for calculating your carbon footprint.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

For businesses ready to tackle this first crucial step, Our Carbon provides a handy cheat sheet. This resource simplifies the data collection process, outlining the exact information you need to gather about your business activities. Completing the cheat sheet ensures you’re well-prepared to calculate your initial carbon footprint effectively. Access the cheat sheet here for a practical start to your sustainability journey.

Chapter 9: Identifying Your Carbon Culprits 

In Chapter 9, we delve into the realm of Scope 3 emissions, unveiling the ‘carbon culprits’ often hidden within your value chain. Addressing these requires a novel approach, setting the stage for innovative collaboration and reduction strategies with your partners and suppliers.

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • The process of discovering your carbon culprits—those significant sources of emissions within your operations—and the realization that these are often deeply interconnected with other aspects of your value chain, opening avenues for collaborative reduction strategies.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

For an in-depth exploration of Scope 3 emissions and actionable strategies for small businesses to collaborate with their ecosystem, Our Carbon’s blog offers a master class on the topic. This resource is invaluable for businesses aiming to thoroughly understand and effectively manage their Scope 3 emissions.

Chapter 10: Measuring Your Own Scope 1 and 2 Footprint

Chapter 10 offers a practical tool for your sustainability journey—the Our Carbon Free Carbon Footprint Calculator. This chapter guides you through using this valuable resource to measure your business’s direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2).

In This Chapter, You’ll Discover:

  • An introduction to Our Carbon’s Free Carbon Footprint Calculator, designed to help you easily calculate your Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
  • Tips on gathering the necessary data and using the calculator to get an accurate snapshot of your carbon footprint.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

Take advantage of the free calculator provided by Our Carbon to start measuring and understanding your business’s carbon footprint today. Visit Our Carbon Free Carbon Footprint Calculator to access this tool and begin your journey towards a more sustainable business operation.

Your Carbon Snapshot
Your Carbon Snapshot

Now You’re Sustainability Savvy: What’s Your Journey Forward?

Wrapping up “Sustainability 101 for Small Businesses” it’s clear that sustainability is a unique journey for every business.

Keen to keep the conversation going? 

We’re here to share insights and explore possibilities tailored to your business. 

It’s all about discovery—learning from successes we’ve seen and crafting a path that resonates with your goals. 

So, if you’re curious about what sustainability could look like for you, let’s chat.

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