Empowering the journey to net zero with data

Business Impact: Empowering the journey to net zero with data
Business Impact: Empowering the journey to net zero with data

Amid the ominous challenge and existential threat of climate change, the urgency to achieve net zero has become paramount. Moreover, the race to net zero demands the swiftness of a hare, not the slow pace of a tortoise. Time is of the essence.

Both public and private sector organisations worldwide are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprints and actively contribute to the goal of net zero by 2050. However, many are asking how to achieve this ambitious target. The answer lies in the power of data.

Data-driven solutions are becoming a critical tool in paving the way forward. Using resource management data, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their emissions and identify areas for improvement. With organisations struggling to manage workspaces effectively, data has become the key to taking targeted steps in reducing their carbon footprint and implementing more sustainable practices. The countdown has begun and the race to net zero is one where businesses cannot afford to fall behind. It’s time to get a head start with the help of data.

Charting the course

Without accurate data, businesses across all sectors may not have a clear picture of their environmental impact, making it impossible for them to identify areas for improvement.

Those dealing with an organisation’s resources are pushed to their limits to simply maintain efficiency, let alone achieve net zero. Since the pandemic, underused space and turbulent energy prices have been driving real estate executives to reset their strategies and place greater focus on space optimisation and reducing energy expenditure.

Yet, the biggest challenge to acquiring accurate data is funding. Implementing energy-efficient technology or data collection software, or even investing in renewable energy sources can require significant upfront costs. This may be a barrier for many, particularly in the public sector where budgets are restricted. However, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Data provides a clearer insight into combatting these challenges and can lead to a long-term return on investment (ROI). More importantly, it supports an organisation on its journey to net zero.

Set the heading for net zero

As one of the most powerful tools in the fight against climate change, the right data can allow businesses to gain valuable insights into their energy usage patterns, identify areas for improvement and track progress over time. One element for organisations across every sector to consider is how employees now work.

The shift in how we work has led to wasted resources and unnecessary carbon emissions in other areas, specifically office spaces. Therefore, implementing the right management data can allow firms to better understand their physical resources. For example, data might reveal certain areas of an office that are consistently overused or underused, indicating an opportunity to adjust the layout or occupancy to save energy and improve efficiency from a business perspective.

Furthermore, saving money on reduced office space and equipment can free up investment for net zero initiatives, such as green leasing. Green leases serve as a means for decarbonising real estate and opens a more collaborative effort between landlords and tenants, all in support of achieving net zero.

While reducing the size of office spaces can help organisations cut their carbon footprint, there is a catch. As more people work from home, the burden of emissions is shifted to their households instead. Individual staff behaviours are harder to measure and control, let alone enforce. Therefore, it’s crucial to instil a company culture of sustainability by setting policies and providing support to help workers reduce their environmental impact while working from home.

Unchartered territory

The term ‘net zero’ should inspire change towards a more efficient and cost-effective business model. Rather than considering net zero as a burden, business leaders should think of it as an opportunity to improve how they operate, decrease long-term costs and increase efficiency.

Now more than ever, data can be used to inform and drive business decisions to capitalise on climate action. However, achieving this will require a full-scale review of an organisation’s internal strategy that targets precisely where it can reduce emissions and eliminate waste.

With the application of data management systems, companies can take advantage of insights that not only align with their business objectives but also their net zero objectives, enabling them to better understand their environmental impact and forecast reduction scenarios accurately.

With governments around the world observing matters closely and the general public exerting mounting pressure, the sprint towards net zero is in full swing. Business leaders must now focus their efforts on this crucial goal before it slips out of reach.

Business Impact: Karl Breeze, CEO, Matrix Booking

Karl Breeze is CEO at workplace management firm, Matrix Booking

Read more Business Impact articles related to sustainability:

Business Impact Volume 17 (3: 2023)

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