Business case and drivers
You should think about the main external and internal drivers, as these will underpin your business case for climate action.
External drivers may include:
- public perception
- boosting competitiveness
- meeting stakeholder expectations (for example investors/supply chain/local community).
Internal drivers may include:
- retaining/attracting new staff
- driving increased sales
- achieving operational savings
- company ethos.
Building a business case for climate action based on specific drivers can bring senior management on board too. This is vital if you are to succeed. The business case should show both the financial costs and potential benefits of action. For example, if you need to reduce operational costs, you may have a strong case for investing in energy efficiency measures. If your business is customer-facing, a key part of our business case could be increasing your brand value.
Toolkit 1 provides a checklist to help you find the most important drivers for your business. You can then choose which climate actions you want to take.
Actions to reduce emissions vary in terms of cost, impact and ease. Choosing what’s right for your company will depend on your:
- resources (for example staff, materials)
- timeframe for achieving actions.
Once you understand these, you can choose which actions to make a priority. Some may be too costly to take now, while others may take too long to make an impact. Whichever actions you choose, you must make the case for the resources you need to achieve them.
You should choose and tailor your climate actions to address the key drivers you identified in phase 1. For example, if you want to improve public perception, this would be best done with an outward facing climate action. Conversely, if you want to cut running costs, you should focus on inward actions to reduce energy use.
You can use toolkit 2 as the basis of a discussion in a decision-making meeting or workshop. The latter is a great way to secure buy in, by involving staff/senior management in this process.
Rolling out climate actions
To make a success of your chosen climate actions, you will need strong project management. You should therefore identify a dedicated person or team to carry out the tasks, as well as monitor and report results.
Their first task should be to create a more detailed assessment of the likely costs, benefits and resources required. That way they can confirm the actions chosen in phase 2 are viable.
Next, they should develop an implementation project plan. This should detail i), the activities associated with rolling out each climate action ii) timeframe for deployment iii) responsibility for implementation iv) risks and v) milestones. Toolkit 3 provides a template for this.
To ensure climate actions are taken on time, to budget and meet quality expectations, you must develop progress reporting procedures. This could include weekly team meetings to review progress against the project plan, and consideration of risks and mitigation actions if needed. Reporting should include regular (for example, monthly) meetings with the CEO / senior management to update on progress and ensure buy-in. Continual project reporting will enable you to monitor challenges and wins along the way. This may help boost the success of future climate actions.
Monitoring, recognition and spreading the word
Monitoring emissions reductions is the best way to understand if the action has been successful. Yet many organisations lack the resources or knowhow to do this. Companies may instead prefer to monitor whether the climate action has been achieved, since we already know these climate actions will help to reduce emissions.
Recognition is vital to ensuring that climate actions are rolled out successfully. You should recognise and celebrate the success of those who have taken climate action. This is also a great way to promote the importance of these efforts to the wider company. You could use company awards or climate action-based performance bonus schemes for example.
Spreading the word can help share the impact of your climate actions to a wider audience. That way you can address some of the common external drivers for taking climate action (for example, brand value and public perception). You can do this through direct external communication channels, like your company website, blog or annual report. You could also use industry-wide channels, for example, industry events or industry body publications.
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