A Decarbonisation Partner: Key to Hitting Emissions Targets

Posted in on Aug 14 2023, by Ben ChurchillBen Churchill

Overview - why a decarbonisation partner

Setting emissions reduction targets for your organisation probably felt like a huge feat (and the commitment is something to celebrate). You laid the groundwork and set a clear target. But how exactly do you achieve those lofty goals? What’s your roadmap to assess current emissions levels in every business sector, implement effective solutions, monitor progress, and then iterate and re-engineer as needed?

It’s tricky to even get an accurate baseline for your own carbon footprint — and what’s contributing to it. You have multiple plants to run, stakeholders to answer to, and core services that you need to deliver to your own customers.

Decarbonisation is a mammoth undertaking for any multinational company — but you don’t have to go it alone. In fact, there are experts out there who can help you understand your emissions, how to apply solutions, and how to make the most sizable impact. If you don’t have the time or expertise in-house, a decarbonisation partner can make the entire process more efficient for you.

Establishing a roadmap to achieve decarbonisation goals

Nobody would claim that setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions targets is easy, but compared to what comes next in the process, it’s almost straightforward and routine. You come out of it with tangible targets that you need to hit by 2030, 2040, or some other date. But most organisations lack the expertise or knowledge to efficiently establish a roadmap towards those goals.

You’re just not in the business of decarbonising your plants or building sustainable shipping operations every day. So you’re likely facing three major challenges because of that:

  1. Understanding your existing footprint. When you initially set your targets, you might have done some research into your current emissions levels. Those numbers may have informed your broader goals, and how much you’ll be able to reduce your carbon footprint over the next few decades. But to actually achieve your targets, you need to understand your existing carbon footprint at a granular level. That means mapping out total emissions not just for your company, but each plant and building — as well as what’s contributing to them. Uncovering this data is typically a headache and leads to patchwork assessments and plans when not done correctly. For instance, a corrugated packaging manufacturer, couldn’t get an accurate read of what was driving emissions at one of their plants because they didn’t have optimal sub-metering installed. Proceeding without it would have really inhibited their decarbonisation efforts, since they would have been working off of faulty data and potentially addressing the wrong factors.
  2. Working out the steps to execute. Many companies also experience challenges on the delivery side, when it comes to executing a plan of action. You have a great team of engineers and data scientists, but they’re well-versed on your product and processes — not decarbonisation. They’re trying to execute on pressing business needs, like producing goods for your customers. They likely don’t understand how to pull the data they need for emissions and carbon reporting, how to assess that data accurately, and then turn it into something useful for curbing emissions at scale. They also might not know what the engineering required to reduce emissions would be, as far as choosing and implementing solutions.
  3. Misjudging opportunity cost — or losing it completely. Opportunity cost is a big driver behind sustainability initiatives, since companies — especially huge conglomerates with global operations — have a lot to gain by becoming more energy efficient. But the longer it takes to bring your engineering and operations teams up to speed, the more steam you lose in your overall efforts. It can take time for operations and engineering managers to sift through the data they need to accurately report on emissions. Or if they don’t seamlessly integrate a decarbonisation solution, that can risk precious uptime for your plant. All of that can translate to more energy consumption, dollars, and missed targets for your company over time.

Bigger Impact with a Decarbonisation Partner

There’s a clear answer that avoids any patchwork plans: a partnership approach. A decarbonisation partner brings their own expertise and resources into the picture. They can pair their broad knowledge with your understanding of your facilities’ unique conditions to seamlessly tackle your GHG targets.

A decarbonisation partner works with you to overcome those major hurdles. They’ll help you on your journey to reducing emissions by:

  1. Maximising impact. 'deep decarbonization' partners have a deep understanding of what it takes to reach net zero and GHG targets. They understand how to assess and monitor data from different sources across many facilities to identify the biggest contributors and work to address them. And because they work on sustainability initiatives regularly, they know how to engineer solutions in all types of unique environments. They’ll undoubtedly have the technology to impact your targets, regardless of your facilities’ conditions, processes, or infrastructure.
  2. Moving quickly towards goals. A partner can establish your baseline carbon footprint with accuracy and then pull from available solutions based on their experience and knowledge. They likely don’t need much time to workshop or test out any theories on how to curb your emissions. With a robust and practical plan that’s tailored to your targets, they’ll speed up time to impact for you. In many cases, working with a partner can help you go above and beyond the targets you initially set. For example, beverage manufacturer C&C group set science-based targets to reduce their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 35%. Soon after, they partnered with CoolPlanet, and the team identified an opportunity to reduce Scope 1 emissions by 42% at their Bulmers manufacturing facility — and proposed specific engineering solutions to get there.
  3. Increasing operational efficiency. You can offload all of the heavy lifting around your decarbonisation efforts to a partner, so your team can focus on core operations and business initiatives. They have the time, knowledge, and resources to uncover emissions contributors, monitor progress, and achieve results for you. And you’ll be freed up to keep doing great work in your industry.

Your decarbonisation partner will translate your goals into one clean roadmap

A partner can help you better understand your existing carbon footprint and your options to cut emissions. But the relationship doesn’t just end there. Decarbonisation partners are also by your side to guide you through the application and delivery of your solutions, to ensure you reach your goals.

The typical relationship with a decarbonisation partner — and the results you get — usually looks something like this:

  1. Reporting: Your partner will start by ingesting data about your carbon footprint from your existing systems and technology. They’ll understand it, analyse it, and model it out to establish a baseline and potential scope for reductions. Their models will generate insights that you can act on as you execute a plan for decarbonisation. And they’ll guide you along the way when it comes to putting together that plan.
  2. Define key interventions: Typically, a partner will already be familiar with existing technologies and solutions, so they can recommend a path forward for you. For example, our team at CoolPlanet has an entire library of proven interventions that we can draw from, such as industrial heat pumps, air heaters, and solar arrays, and we understand what works best and what doesn’t for specific scenarios. The right solution depends not only on your GHG targets but also your performance and process needs for your facility, and your partner will advise you on that.
  3. Manage delivery: After identifying the right solution, it’s time to actually implement it. But a partner doesn’t just leave it up to your engineers to do this. They’ll work with your engineers to get a decarbonisation solution up and running while taking advantage of factory downtime. They’ll also find ways to optimise for workflow efficiency and increase your energy savings along the way, so you get the best results.
  4. Monitor success: While your team stays focused on production and quality, your partner will keep track of progress over time. They’ll track how well the solutions are impacting your emissions reductions targets and closely measure energy consumption metrics. They can also make adjustments as needed to processes or engineering to further optimise your new setup and hit your targets.

How does this process look in action? One major glass manufacturer turned to our CoolPlanet team because they recognized inadequate and inefficient processes were likely costing them money. Their traditional approach hindered them from identifying anomalies, and that’s where CoolPlanet’s expertise came in.

We installed our analytical software and monitored critical process variables in real-time to reduce energy losses. The result was upwards of €455,235 in savings.

Consider your decarbonisation partner's full capabilities

When it comes to selecting a decarbonisation partner, you don’t just want a software provider who offers a carbon account platform or CRM. The right partner will also lend their engineering and consulting expertise to build you a functional roadmap that can quickly deliver an impact for you.

Some partners can plug into your systems to generate tons of data for you, but leave it to your facilities and engineering teams to act on — and then you’re back to where you started. Instead, look for a partner who provides clear visibility into reductions progress at the board level with insightful reporting, and sustainable engineering guidance at the plant level to get results.

If you’re setting sustainability targets and need a partner to help you act on them, we’re here to achieve significant reductions for you. Reach your net zero goals with CoolPlanet.