FAQs on sustainable business growth

Accelerate your zero carbon journey with our frequently asked questions on decarbonisation and the steps you need to take to build a sustainable business.

Around the world, businesses have been falling over themselves to announce and accelerate their net zero targets. Instead of diverting attention away from climate change and sustainability, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown organisations that their future growth depends on their ability to become a more sustainable business.

But a lot of questions remain. While many organisations have made commitments to reduce their carbon footprint, it can be difficult to know where to start. Below, we have outlined some of most the frequently asked questions around sustainability and decarbonisation, with answers to help accelerate your journey toward net zero.

What is net zero?

Science tells us that we must limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. And to achieve this, we need to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – where the total emissions produced and removed from the environment is kept in balance.

Around the world, many governments and businesses are now realising that the targets they’ve set are not good enough. They need to be bolder and take action sooner, or global temperature rises will exceed 1.5°C. If this happened, hundreds of millions of people around the world would face droughts, floods, extreme heat, and more.

To achieve net zero, you need to build a sustainable business. Watch our video to find out what that means.

Why should my business act on decarbonisation now?

Decarbonisation doesn’t just mean reducing your carbon emissions. It’s also about ensuring your organisation remains profitable in the long-term, and that it’s able to withstand risks, meet regulatory requirements, adapt to changing market demands and make a positive contribution to local communities. In short, it means balancing the demands of both planet and profit.

Get this right, and there are wide-ranging benefits. Our research found that leading sustainable businesses are less exposed to policy risks and uncertainty; they’re better able to hold their nerve in the face of short-term pressures; they’re better able to prioritise long-term gains; and they’re able to use energy-efficient technologies to develop new revenue streams.

Download our sustainability report to hear what your peers are thinking about sustainability, their energy transition and the journey to net zero, and the steps they're taking now.

How do I set corporate sustainability targets to reduce our carbon footprint?

Reducing your carbon footprint requires two types of target. First, long-term sustainability targets that are aligned with recognised standards and science based. Our research has found that 61% of sustainable business leaders already base their decarbonisation strategy on scientific data, compared to only 15% of everyone else – the followers. These long-term targets set the direction and pace of change. Second, you need near-term goals to drive momentum and establish immediate accountability for reaching the longer-term goals.

If you’re just beginning your decarbonisation journey, our infographic will help you set the right targets and establish the foundations of an effective sustainability strategy that strikes the right balance between your commercial and environmental responsibilities.

As a senior executive, how do I turn sustainability targets into action?

Some of the world’s best-known brands and CEOs say they remain committed to the plans for zero carbon that they had put in place previously. Far from reducing the ambition, COVID-19 has created a groundswell of interest from the public, investors and shareholders that is exerting pressure on businesses to maintain the pace of change.

In our new guide we explain how executive teams can build and successfully implement a carbon reduction plan, the importance of communicating the business value of corporate sustainability initiatives and we review some best practices that illustrate an energy transition, what we call an Energy Pathway, that achieves your ambitious net zero targets.

What energy solutions help companies reduce their carbon footprint?

There are many low carbon energy solutions and technologies that can help to reduce your carbon footprint, including solar, electric vehicles, heat pumps, battery storage, energy optimisation, energy insight solutions, and more. And new technologies are constantly being developed that can help businesses reach net zero, including hydrogen infrastructure, electrification, energy digitalisation, and more.

We can help you analyse, finance, install, operate and optimise energy, with integrated energy solutions that futureproof your sustainable energy strategy and keep you ahead of the curve in reducing your carbon footprint. Visit our corporate sustainability page to learn more about how our energy solutions can help you realise your pathway to net zero.

How do I become a sustainable business?

Corporate sustainability relies on finding the right balance between economic and environmental considerations. Organisations cannot focus exclusively on profit, without considering their environmental impact – equally, they would be left without a viable business model, if they prioritised environmental concerns over financial performance.

To help organisations find this balance, we created the Sustainable Business Model. Based on the input of influential analysts and business leaders, the model identifies eight characteristics of business success. The most sustainable businesses won’t just possess these eight characteristics - they will continuously execute them in an environmentally and economically balanced manner, in order to drive long-term business success.

What is Centrica doing to reduce its own carbon footprint?

Since 2019, we’ve reduced our total carbon emissions by 18%. We’ve achieved this through a range of measures, including property efficiencies, employee behavioural changes, a move away from upstream generation and production, and by utilising the energy solutions that we deliver to our customers – such as LED lighting, battery storage, solar PV, energy optimisation and electric vehicles.

We aim to reduce our own carbon footprint 40% by 2034 and ultimately reach net zero by 2045. And by 2050, we want to help our customers reach net zero too. Tackling climate change is one of the most important issue facing our society and as a leading provider of energy for homes and organisations, we take our role seriously.

Interested in how you can start your organisation can begin its energy transition and reduce it carbon footprint? Speak to our experts.