5 ways carbon accounting can help boost your business

8 December 2022

As a business leader, you might be hearing more and more about carbon accounting and wondering whether your business should embrace it. In this article, our sustainability consultant Oli Stradling gives five reasons to say ‘yes’ that obviously include doing what’s right for the planet, but also consider the wider positive impacts it can have on you and your business…

First - what is carbon accounting?

Carbon accounting is the process of calculating, analysing, measuring, and reporting an organisation's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which allows them to quantify, track and improve their carbon footprint.

This results in a range of environmental, social and economic benefits, which are important to many sustainability professionals and activists around the world, but may sometimes fail to excite C-suite executives.

However, there are many good (and commercially good) reasons business leaders should embrace carbon accounting. Here are five to get you started…

1. Carbon accounting can futureproof your business and boost your bottom line

Not only will investing in your net zero journey improve your business’s reputation amongst stakeholders and customers, but it will safeguard you against the financial and legal implications of forthcoming legislation and carbon reporting requirements.

Increasingly, showing you embrace carbon accounting and are taking steps to reduce your emissions will enable you to compete for work more successfully.

It will also allow you to collaborate with your supply chain and avoid being penalised when asked to disclose carbon data.

2. Carbon accounting can give your team a sense of purpose

According to the Energy Saving Trust, 87% of UK adults are concerned by climate change and according to Mckinsey, 70% of employees see their sense of purpose as being defined by the work they do. By incorporating carbon accounting into your business, you can facilitate decarbonisation and give your employees a new drive and reason to hit the ground running every day. After all, there really is no bigger challenge to get stuck into than addressing climate change.

3. Carbon accounting can help you attract and retain the best talent

Employees are over five times more likely to stay at a company where they feel a strong sense of purpose from contributing to sustainability actions.

Carbon accounting allows you to communicate your sustainability credentials and action both internally and externally, and can also be used to improve staff’s carbon knowledge. Employee retention is a growing problem so embracing carbon accounting can give yours a significant boost.

4. We’re in a climate emergency - carbon accounting can show you are part of the solution

On a similar note, almost 75% of UK local authorities have declared a climate emergency and the sharp increase in climate protests in recent months such as those from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion demonstrates the accelerating importance of this issue.

The general urgency for action was ramped up extremely quickly in the UK thanks to momentum built around COP27, which happened in November of this year.

Carbon accounting is the foundation for directly addressing the climate emergency by quantifying your business’ impact, decarbonisation actions, and progress towards meeting climate targets.

5. Carbon accounting can help you leave a better legacy

Ultimately, CEOs and other C-suite executives should ask themselves what legacy they want to leave behind.

The biggest climate impacts are yet to come and people will look back at how we reacted to the challenge of decarbonising. Heroic legacies will come from the business leaders who take decisive steps, create the change the world needs and deliver radical action to decarbonise their businesses and preserve the climate.

Final words

We hope this blog highlighted the importance of carbon accounting in helping to create a joint purpose in tackling the climate crisis in your business - a shared purpose that most employees will be excited to get behind - as well as helping make your organisation more attractive to do business with. If you’d like more information on anything discussed in this article, or to start understanding your sustainability and climate-related risks, you can contact me at oliver.stradling@cityscience.com or info@cityscience.com

Alternatively, if you’re ready to get started with your carbon accounting and decarbonisation journey, take a look at our Carbon Maturity Assessment, which will help you understand where you are now and what your best options are for making things better.

It involves answering 15 questions online, following which you’ll receive a report that will classify where your organisation sits on a spectrum of preparedness for the climate emergency, quantifying the actions you’re currently taking and helping prioritise what you should be doing next.

It’s completely free (until January 10th) and was originally created for Local Authorities, but we’ve developed a streamlined version for SMEs that want to begin their decarbonisation journey but aren’t sure where to start. You can learn more here.