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Building Your Decarbonization Roadmap

Developing a successful decarbonization roadmap can be likened to planning an expedition to summit a challenging peak, like Mount Everest. To achieve your goals, it is essential to establish a roadmap, complete with key milestones that serve as trail markers. This is crucial and will ensure that every team member knows how to measure progress and define success.

What is a decarbonization roadmap?

A decarbonization roadmap is a strategic sustainability plan that outlines specific actions, milestones, and timelines for reducing carbon emissions to net-zero or near-net-zero levels, typically for a company or government organization. It involves assessing:

  • current carbon emissions
  • setting realistic yet ambitious reduction goals
  • identifying viable technologies
  • practices for emissions reduction
  • implementing changes across operations, supply chains, and product portfolios.

Why do you need a decarbonization roadmap?

A carbon reduction roadmap is crucial because it not only aligns an organization with international climate goals, such as those set by the Paris Agreement. It also mitigates climate risks, future-proofs business operations against regulatory changes, and meets the increasing demand for sustainable business practices from consumers, investors, and other stakeholders. Moreover, a well-designed decarbonization roadmap can uncover opportunities for innovation, cost savings, and competitive advantage, demonstrating an organization’s commitment to environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility.

What are the steps for successfully taking decarbonization action?

Follow the steps below to increase your chances of reaching the “sustainability summit” and achieving your decarbonization goals.

  1. Align internally on metrics for success: Much like establishing checkpoints on your ascent, this ensures every team member knows the milestones and how to measure progress. Here are some examples of the most common environmental metrics:
    • reduction of electricity usage
    • change in fuel consumption for company vehicles
    • carbon emissions reductions
    • gallons of water saved
    • increased waste diversion
  2. Gather energy data: Collecting data to understand your current energy demand is like gauging the oxygen levels required for a high-altitude climb. It is essential to consider “unpredictable weather patterns” such as business growth or acquisitions that can impact your planning. Zeigo Activate is a great place to start if you are new to your decarbonization journey or looking for improvement in your current system. Our decarbonization software offers users at any spot in their journey to track, analyze, and reduce emissions.  Learn “why and how you should measure your carbon emissions from the get-go.
  3. Using the data to create a Business-As-Usual (BAU) emissions scenario: This what-if analysis serves as your baseline, imagining the trajectory of your emissions without any interventions. Next, add the different decarbonization levers – efficiency projects, electrification, and renewable energy – into the equation to see how they impact your emissions.

Customized roadmap

When you customize your decarbonization roadmap, it’s easy to see which levers will have the greatest impact.

An example from Zeigo Activate, where you can build a customized action plan by selecting a target, such as cutting emissions in half by 2030, or customize a target specific to your business and strategy.

4. Explore options. Evaluate the different types of renewable energy in the market, and the unique set of challenges and opportunities each of them brings. You’ll need strategies to manage execution risk, market risk, counterparty risk, and more. Fear not: we understand that managing risk might sound scary, but we have a wealth of resources to help guide you inside our free, educational community, Zeigo Network.

  • Six key considerations when negotiating a PPA is an easy guide that breaks down the seemingly monstrous feat of PPAs into 6 bite-sized pieces to help corporate energy buyers decide which renewable generation projects are worth the investment.
  • “What Makes a Successful PPA?” article is a powerhouse for all and any answers you need for PPAs. Inspired from a recent webinar with Zeigo Power and King’s College London industry experts answer some of the most asked questions from attendees.

5. Create your strategy: Now you’re ready to create a strategy. Combine what you learned in the data collection task, the baseline exercise, and the education around solutions and reporting to decide what you want to accomplish and how to get there.

6. Engage with the market: Utilize platforms such as Zeigo Network or Zeigo Power to run an RFP or reach out directly to solution providers.

7. Patience is paramount: Negotiation and legal review can be as lengthy and complex as acclimatizing to higher altitudes or waiting out a windstorm. Taking your time to achieve the best outcome is as vital on your sustainability journey as it is in your push to the top.

8. Monitor performance: It is crucial to track your efforts to ensure you are on the right path. Transparent reporting and dashboarding tools will enable you to share your progress with your team and other stakeholders. At Zeigo, we specialize in providing reliable emissions data and expert support through our network to help you achieve your carbon reduction goals with clarity and precision.

Overall, developing a decarbonization roadmap requires a thorough understanding of your organization’s current energy demand, identifying different decarbonization levers, evaluating your options, engaging with the market, and monitoring performance. Patience and diligence are critical in ensuring the best outcome for your organization’s sustainability journey.

If you have a carbon reduction strategy and are getting ready to invest in clean energy, check out our guide:Mapping out the Pathway to Renewable Energy for some tips.