Decarbonization has been a growing practice in companies, as part of carbon savings goals and the development of a cleaner production chain.
Advances in climate change due to massive emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere have made society mobilize in favor of improvements. The conclusion is that decarbonization is urgent, especially for companies and sectors that pollute such as transport and industries.
Currently, in Latin America, there are already around 50 companies with carbon reduction targets established or in the process of being prepared or validated according to globally accepted scientific methodologies (SBTi). This confirms that some companies already recognize the importance of the energy transition, the NET Zero goals and the search for a more responsible and active sustainability.
Why is it important to decarbonize companies?
The last Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), from 2022, pointed out that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by 12% over the last decade, reaching 59 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) in 2019 These numbers only reinforce the urgency of decarbonization, with actions aimed at a low-carbon economy.
Therefore, it is essential that companies commit to decarbonization to reduce climate change and the consequences that GHGs have caused. In addition, another important reason is the growing demand from investors for ESG goals, with a clearer position from companies about their responsibilities and actions to curb emissions.
For example, many companies have already committed to becoming NET Zero by 2050. This means that they will achieve carbon neutrality, balancing carbon dioxide emissions with their removal or eliminating emissions from their production, throughout the chain involved. The expectation is that these actions will be expanded in the coming years with several technologies emerging to support the adaptation and planning of these companies.
How to become a more sustainable company?
Decarbonization is the process of reducing the carbon footprint of a specific scope, such as a company, organization or region. The carbon footprint is a term used to describe the total carbon footprint of a system, including fossil fuel consumption, waste, land-use change, and other direct and indirect emissions.
This change can be achieved by replacing energy sources or fossil fuels with low-carbon sources. For companies, this process includes implementing changes in the way their products and services are produced, shortening their carbon footprint.
Thus, investing in decarbonization brings several benefits, in addition to the environmental ones, such as increased attractiveness to investors, greater adherence to customers and increased credibility throughout the production chain.
Decarbonization can be achieved by adopting carbon savings targets, defining thresholds and deadlines for all involved. It is possible to divide the steps into 4 stages.
- Carrying out a diagnosis: Mapping the company’s carbon footprint, encompassing all the resources used from the beginning to the end of the process, such as what is consumed internally, energy purchased or produced, fuel used in processes. Doing a complete inventory helps you understand which step has the highest emissions.
- Analysis and search for solutions: After understanding the company’s carbon footprint, it’s time to look for solutions and propose goals. Solutions can be improving efficiency, changing business partners, implementing a clean energy project. Goals must be realistic and achievable so that companies can improve their environmental performance over time. The most ambitious goals could include full decarbonization, where the company will try to have zero carbon emissions.
- Implement solutions: This phase is time to put the idealized actions into practice. It could be changing the type of fuel in the fleet or developing power generation. The solution implemented must be the one that is most cost-effective for the company’s overall goals.
- Monitoring and maintenance: As environmental goals require years of implementation, it is essential to maintain monitoring and maintenance to ensure that projected expectations are achieved.
Finally, it is important to highlight that successful decarbonization requires a change of mindset, with the incorporation of ESG objectives, that is, environmental, social and governance goals, in all the company’s processes.