The scale of change for the UK to achieve net zero is already sizeable, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this. It has also shed light on existing problems of inequality, but these can be tackled via our collective efforts to reach net zero.
Despite COVID-19, climate action continues to take centre stage in the public domain, as more of us advocate for a green recovery and more businesses commit to achieving carbon-neutrality in the upcoming decades.
On 14th January 2021, Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance announced that 30 of the World’s largest investors have committed to reaching short-term carbon emission targets for 2025. This is a significant breakthrough, with asset holders and managers intending to fully decarbonise their portfolios by 2050.
Furthermore, major global companies including BT, British Airways, Sainsburys, Unilever, Apple, American Airlines, BP and Ikea have set forth significant commitments towards becoming ‘net zero’ by or before 2050. In October 2020, the National Health Service (NHS) became the World’s first health system to commit to net zero by 2045.
Gemserv is proud to be a completely carbon-neutral company. We offset our carbon emissions by calculating the amount of carbon the company emits each year based on staff commuting, business travel and energy consumption. We then invest in carbon offsetting projects to mitigate the impact of our tCO2e (carbon footprint). These international projects are designed to offset our emissions to zero.
Over the last six years, Gemserv’s emissions increased to 250 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions largely due to staff commuting and the number of staff has doubled. However, in 2020 our total carbon emissions decreased by 60% as staff commuting, business travel and energy consumption significantly reduced as a result of the pandemic lockdowns.
Gemserv offsets its emissions by supporting a Gold Standard Project, Danjiang River Solar Cookers in China, which distribute free solar cookers to low-income households, supporting 300,000 people and 100,000 households. The solar cookers consist of a parabolic dish which concentrates solar energy to provide heat for cooking. This helps to improve indoor air quality by removing the need for traditional coal-fire cooking stoves reducing fuel consumption and emissions produced.
The thermal efficiency for a traditional coal furnace is 15%, in comparison to the solar cookers’ thermal efficiency of 65%. By supporting this Gold Standard Project, Gemserv indirectly supports the production of additional benefits such as:
- Affordable and clean energy;
- Improved health and wellbeing for people;
- Reduce poverty; and
- Responsible consumption and production.
Investors, businesses, and governments are realising the inevitability of needing to achieve net zero. Each business’ roadmap towards carbon-neutrality will be different. These must consider the future propositions whilst balancing ways to decarbonise operations efficiently. The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for so many, however it has revealed key political, social and economic problem areas which can be addressed as we work to establish stable foundations for a successful carbon-neutral economy.