IEMA’s new briefing paper outlines the need for business relevance, multiple tools, planned pathways and transparent approaches.

As we fast approach the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate, news that the recent spate of pledges from major economies could put the world on course to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals are encouraging – but only if those pledges are acted upon.

This is further highlighted with yesterday’s reports by the Committee on Climate Change on the important role both businesses and the public sector have in delivering Net-Zero across the real economy.

IEMA’s Chief Executive, Sarah Mukherjee is clear that the reality of achieving Net-Zero starts with realistic pathways and programmes: ‘Industry by industry, sector by sector work is underway to transform how business is done. Sustainability professionals are at the heart of this transformation to sustainability and IEMA is there to provide insight and access to good practice’.

‘Totting up pledges gives a reason for hope that at last a corner has been turned, but without action this will be a false dawn’.

IEMA, the UK’s largest sustainability professional association, is publishing new insights on good practice approaches to meeting the challenges of transitioning to Net-Zero here.

This updates IEMA’s widely used Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Management Hierarchy placing it within the context of a Net-Zero transition.

The report’s author and IEMA’s Policy and Engagement Lead, Nick Blyth, said: ‘We know from IEMA members’ experience that a range of carbon reduction measures are available and are being deployed.

Pathways to Net-Zero need to be tailored to the organisational context. Focus, relevance, transparent approaches and, especially, professional skills are all fundamental to a successful outcome’.

IEMA’s widely adopted GHG Management Hierarchy was first published in 2009 when the risk of defaulting to offset solutions was often seen as undermining approaches to reduce carbon emissions.

In the 2020 update the focus on optimum carbon reductions remains, but the severity of the climate emergency warrants an escalation of action across all fronts and with a sense of urgency driven by sustainability professionals.

Good practice should continue to see carbon reduction targets addressed separately from compensation measures. Carbon offsetting can help and contribute to a status of current ‘carbon neutrality’, but this should not obscure the imperative for clear and transparent carbon reduction targets, milestones and actions.