You’ll probably hear the words 'net zero' a lot over the next couple of weeks, as world leaders gather at COP26 in Glasgow and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate the climate crisis and prevent further global warming.
But what does 'net zero' actually mean?
In a nutshell, net zero emissions means that you aren’t adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Net zero is achieved by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases you emit as much as possible, and then neutralising any emissions that really can’t be avoided. Experts have advised that net zero is a vital part of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees celsius and avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
There are two key aspects to achieving net zero: tech companies around the world are exploring ways to remove greenhouse gases from the environment, but it’s even more important to make sure that we’re not producing them in the first place. The fewer emissions we produce, the fewer we need to remove - it’s a no-brainer.
Who’s working on it?
Most countries (132 to be exact) are aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but some have committed to a more ambitious deadline: Uruguay plans to hit their target by 2030, Finland by 2035, and Austria and Iceland have set a deadline of 2040.
Others are trailing behind. China, the world’s biggest emitter, plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 - this isn’t quite the same as net zero, as it refers only to CO2 emissions, rather than all greenhouse gases. India is even further behind, with a lacklustre target of 2070. And some countries, like Russia and Indonesia, are yet to make any commitments at all.
But it’s not all bad news - shout out to Bhutan and Suriname who have already achieved their net zero goal!
It’s crucially important that we start to see some concrete plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from world leaders at COP26. It’s not enough to bank on carbon capture technology improving in time for the 2050 deadline - we need to see real change now.
Targeting net zero as a nation is a vital part of tackling climate change. But it’s not just a target for our government: net zero is also something that businesses and individuals can aim for as well.
If you want to learn about how to make your house more energy efficient and environmentally friendly - we’ve got your back.
Our net zero plan
We plan to reach net zero as a business by 2030, and we’ve formally committed to achieving that as founding members of Tech Zero - a climate action group for tech companies of all sizes. We don’t see net zero as optional. We believe it is a requirement for all businesses.
As part of our net zero commitment, we will:
- Measure all our emissions and report them publicly each year
- Aim to at least halve all emissions by 2030
- Become a carbon neutral business
- Assign our Chief Impact Officer to be responsible and accountable for our net zero target
- Report on the progress of our short- and mid-term goals every year
As well as our own net zero goal, we’re looking at the bigger picture too. Here’s how we’re supporting the UK’s target of net zero by 2050:
- Working with other tech companies to tackle the climate crisis and make the UK the top global destination for green investment as a founding member of Tech Zero
- Helping reduce emissions from our homes. The residential sector makes up 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions and we’re in a position to help drive this figure down. Reducing residential emissions is no simple task but we’re dedicated to educating and encouraging homeowners to make positive changes.