The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a recent report stipulating that without drastic measures to cut carbon emissions, reduce energy use and remove carbon already in the atmosphere, we are “extremely unlikely” to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5C. With this new paradigm, it’s quite obvious what the to-do list should be for the production companies and large energy intensive ones. But what should companies do when their portfolio or style of business does not allow for seemingly easily achievable change of processes or fuels? Where do those businesses begin?
Reaching climate neutrality by mid-century is still possible, but only if companies step up climate action. The commonplace to begin is to understand what is currently in a business’ “carbon portfolio”, which includes understanding emissions and remits of its footprint. Ordinarily, this activity is known as a “snapshot” of organizational emissions over a course of a 12 month period. It can also be called “baseline footprint”, meaning a starting or business-as-usual spot from which the company will start its journey toward emission reduction and effectively carbon neutrality or zero fossil fuels.
But what do companies face while attempting to measure their carbon footprint? Here are four key challenges and how real estate companies can tackle them to meet carbon neutrality:
-Boundaries: where is the line drawn between owners vs. tenant responsibilities?
-Data: where should data come from and how is it obtained and stored? What kind of data is good enough?
-Credibility: how trustworthy is my footprint? Is it really what it says? What if the rules changed since I’ve started the process?
-Assumptions & Goals: having a footprint is just the very beginning of the journey, where companies go with it is the main question. What assumptions will it make? What goals will it set?
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