Edinburgh Chamber’s net zero journey

As the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce we have a responsibility to not only support businesses on their net zero journey but to also lead by example and focus on our own sustainability journey to ensure we play our part in the city reaching its net zero target by 2030.

The Edinburgh Chamber started its net zero journey a year ago with the first step seeing us calculate our carbon footprint to get a baseline which we could then build and work from. This is a good starting point for any business and it enabled us to know where we currently are with our carbon emissions and what areas we should be focusing on to help us reduce our emissions and impact.

A company’s carbon emissions can be split into scopes 1, 2 and 3 and therefore as a starting point we calculated our Scopes 1 and 2 emissions. Once we had calculated these we started collecting data for our Scope 3 emissions. This is the Edinburgh Chamber’s largest scope of emissions and therefore it took a while to collect the required data. Once we had this data we calculated our scope 3 emissions using a carbon calculator. This created our baseline and from this we could then see where our largest areas of emissions were and decide what areas we were going to prioritise and focus on going forward.

Some of these actions include setting up a Green Champions team to ensure all departments are represented and are part of the Chamber’s net zero strategy. The Green Champions team going forward aims to meet regularly and it gives members an opportunity to discuss progress as well as share ideas of other actions and areas we could be focusing on.     

As part of our net zero journey we have also signed up to the Edinburgh Climate Compact which is a commitment to take action within our organisation to contribute to a green recovery and radically reduce the city’s carbon emissions. We hope through being part of the Climate Compact we can learn from other organisations, share learnings and support other SMEs to sign up and start their net zero journey.

Since starting our net zero journey there have been a few learnings to note. Firstly, it’s ok if it takes a little longer, than you initially thought, to collect the required data. Data collection is one of most important steps when starting your journey so take your time to ensure you have accurate data for your reporting year. This is particularly true for scope 3 as it may require you to speak to your suppliers and request data for your company. Secondly, once you have calculated your baseline start with the actions that you have most control over and will give you the small wins, start small and then work on the more challenging actions. Thirdly, ensure everyone on the team is on board. Employees are a key part of any company’s net zero plan so ensuring everyone is on board and engaged is vital to meeting set targets and actions. Lastly, when creating your strategy it’s important to acknowledge the work you might already be doing in regards to sustainability as they are always a good starting point. For example, we donate unwanted or faulty IT equipment to get recycled or refurbished.

If you are looking for support to help you start your net zero journey please get in touch with the project team at netzeroedinburgh@edinburghchamber.co.uk or call the team on 01312212999.