4 steps to an effective decarbonisation strategy

July 2, 2024
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As worries about climate change grow, businesses are now seen as crucial contributors in the fight against global warming.

Developing an effective decarbonisation strategy is vital — it's not only about caring for the environment but also making a wise decision for your business's future.

In this article, we highlight 4 key steps for businesses to deliver environmental benefits alongside long-term business resilience and growth.

1. Prioritise abatement levers

Understanding where and how emissions are across a business’ value chain is crucial to develop and deliver an effective decarbonisation plan and its strategies.

This step is about more than just recognising high-emission activities; it's about a deep dive into the emission hotspots across your value chain and pinpointing specific opportunities for reduction.

Consider factors like emission reduction potential, cost-benefit analysis, and implementation feasibility, using frameworks like the mitigation hierarchy.

The mitigation hierarchy:


The most effective measure is to prevent emissions from occurring. This might mean altering your business model to reduce reliance on high-emission activities or switching to renewable energy.


Where avoidance isn't feasible, focus on minimising emissions. This can be achieved via energy efficiency measures, optimisation of logistics, responsible procurement, production and supply chains.


Focuses on replacing high-emission materials or processes with those that have a lower environmental impact. A classic example is the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.


Engage in activities like reforestation or habitat restoration to counterbalance inevitable emissions.


When all other measures are exhausted, offsetting emissions through external projects is the final recourse. It's crucial to view this as a supplementary measure rather than a primary strategy.

2. Develop decarbonisation pathways

After identifying your abatement levers, the next step is to chart out pathways that clearly outline the impact of various emission management strategies over space, time and across the value chain.

This involves forecasting outcomes and a comprehensive analysis of potential risks, technological and regulatory uncertainties, and alternative scenarios. Incorporating elements like carbon pricing into these evaluations can provide a more comprehensive view.


Key elements of the roadmap:

Energy efficiency measures

This could range from upgrading to energy-efficient machinery to improving insulation.

Fuel switching

Transition to low-carbon alternatives in business operations, such as electric vehicles and improved biomass heating systems.

Process optimisation

Tackle fugitive emissions through regular maintenance and process redesigns. Fugitive emissions refer to the release or leakage of gases into the atmosphere, including unintended emissions from production, processing, transmission, storage, and use of fuels and other substances.

Emissions’ reduction

Address direct emissions (Scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased energy (Scope 2), and all other indirect emissions (Scope 3) through comprehensive strategies.

Data management and GHG footprints

Leverage the energy and GHG data management software to enhance visibility into your climate impacts. Using frameworks like the GHG Corporate Standard helps categorise emissions effectively.

Target setting and auditing

Establish clear climate targets based on your business’ emission footprints. Use auditing to inform emission reduction measures and evaluate them with a focus on return on investment.

3. Reporting, disclosure, and communication

Transparency in sustainability efforts is no longer a choice but a key practice for businesses - across sectors and geographies. Engaging stakeholders - from investors to customers, and employees to regulatory bodies - requires a commitment to comprehensive and clear communication about your decarbonisation efforts.

Align with global standards

Adhering to frameworks such as the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) ensures that your business’ sustainable reporting meets international benchmarks.

These standards provide a structured approach to reporting, helping stakeholders easily understand your efforts and progress.

Internal communication

Equally important is the role of internal communication in building a culture of sustainability within your organisation.

Regular updates, workshops, and inclusive discussions ensure that internal stakeholders are aware and involved in your sustainable journey.

Reporting tools

Use a software for real-time reporting, like Apiday!

These platforms can provide updates on emissions’ reductions, energy savings, and other sustainability metrics.

They serve as a powerful tool for keeping all stakeholders informed and can also foster a sense of accountability and progress within the organisation.

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4. Next steps: advanced carbon tracking and accounting

In the quest for carbon neutrality, having a robust carbon tracking and accounting system is indispensable. It's about moving beyond traditional record-keeping to a more integrated and strategic approach.

ERP integration

Integrating carbon tracking into your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system provides a holistic view of carbon usage across the supply chain.

Identification of key areas

Where emission reductions can be most impactful.

Progress tracking

Continuously monitor and analyse the progress of your decarbonisation efforts to identify areas that require additional focus or a change in strategy.

Supplier collaboration

Work together to identify opportunities for reducing emissions in the supply chain. Encourage suppliers to adopt sustainable practices and provide support or incentives for doing so.

Data accuracy and verification

Ensure that the data collected is accurate and verifiable, regular audits and third-party verifications can add credibility to your carbon accountings.

Use Apiday

We simplify the complex process of data gathering and aggregation for transparent GHG calculations. Our platform supports you in your decarbonisation journey by providing the tools needed to measure, manage, and report emissions effectively! Book a call now to discover how we can help you.

To conclude…

Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to decarbonisation.

Strategies must be custom-tailored to address the unique challenges and opportunities of your business and industry. It's important to adapt to any changes in environmental laws and market trends.

By doing so, your business will not only contribute to a healthier planet but also position itself as a forward-thinking, responsible leader in the global market.

4 steps to an effective decarbonisation strategy

Streamline your decarbonisation journey with Apiday!

We simplify the complex process of data gathering and aggregation for transparent GHG calculations by providing the tools needed to measure, manage, and report emissions effectively. Try it today!

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