We’ve just recorded an amazing podcast with someone very closely connected to the Mission Zero report which we hope to bring you more news on soon.
During the hour-long discussion, we touched on what were referred to as the 4 ‘C’s’ of sustainable business as being: Certainty; Clarity; Consistency; and Continuity.
These are seen as the essentials for supporting businesses as they look towards a much more sustainable future.
If you do a quick Google on the ‘4 C’s’, you’ll find a number of different options, predominantly for developing Business or Marketing strategies, with lists that seem to contain:
- For Business: Capabilities, Capacity, Constraints and Culture. Also Clarity, Communication, Collaboration, Choice.
- For Marketing: Customer, Cost, Convenience and Communication. Also Clarity, Credibility, Consistency, Competitiveness.
When we are talking about support for business though, I would personally add 3 more to the list: Collaboration; Compliance; and Counting! Bringing the total up to what I would call ‘the 7 ‘C’s’ of Net Zero’.
Let me explain more and see if you agree?
People are finally waking up to the phrase “there is no Planet B” and it can’t happen quickly enough.
Businesses are trying to plan for Net Zero and the stages needed to get there, whether they have declared a target date of 2030, 2040, 2050 or anywhere in between.
As a business, they need to plan for the year ahead (budget planning); plan for the next 5 years (forecasting); and plan for their future (legacy planning).
The past few years have been tumultuous to say the least, but as the uncertainty and disruption has shown, most businesses are very resilient and can cope with rapid change but that does come at a cost for each business, whether financial, economic, or personal.
What is far better for business is having certainty of what is going to happen so that longer-term plans can be made, costed, implemented and constantly reviewed and adapted.
Along with certainty, clarity is a must for businesses to operate effectively, whether that is day-to-day or over the next decade.
Being clear on what legislation companies must adhere to, understanding the economic drivers of our political masters, and knowing what makes employees ‘tick’ so that they can develop the working patterns and comfortable, inviting spaces to increase productivity, will all help businesses thrive and grow.
Clarity on these issues helps businesses be clear on what they can offer their customers and the wider society.
Consistency doesn’t mean doing the same thing over and over again, or just continuing endlessly on the same path.
But it does mean avoiding the economic rollercoaster we’ve been on over the past three years.
Businesses need to know that they are operating on a commercial playing field that is as level as possible, and that means that pressures and constraints they operate in are consistent, wherever they are.
Having spent the past year touring the country with our Net Zero Roadshow, I can tell you that businesses operating in more than one location face different pressures and ‘playing fields’ from local authority to local authority.
Not only are business rates a devolved local matter, changing costs from one office to another, but planning is a devolved issue as well, meaning that the Net Zero plans and requirements change from town to town as well.
Not really what you would call consistent.
Mitsubishi Electric was 100 years old in 2021 and the company took the moment to review its purpose, analysing the thoughts of our Founder who declared that: “We manufacture electric products of the highest quality that contribute to society”.
We now align ourselves with the aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as we realise that to sustain our business into the future, we have to have a sustainable business.
And the same is happening with other businesses as they realise that if they are to have a future in which they can thrive and continue, then they also need to play their part in reversing the harm humans have done to the earth.
People are finally waking up urgently to the phrase “there is no Planet B” and it can’t happen quickly enough.
I mentioned that I would add 3 more ‘C’s’ to the list and the next one ‘Collaboration’ follows on nicely from my last point, because we simply will not save the planet in isolation.
This has to be a collective effort from everyone, and everyone has a part to play.
Individually, we can all make choices right now to reduce our own impact and carbon footprint, whether that is something as simple as turning off TV’s and computers when they are not needed, not letting the tap run while brushing your teeth, cutting down or stopping the amount of meat you consume, or switching to electric cars or renewable heating.
Businesses have a choice and, as I said a moment ago, they will not be able to sustain their business unless they become sustainable. Global finance has recognised this and is now insisting on seeing sustainability in any building they finance. Consumers and employees recognise this and are demanding companies demonstrate their ‘green’ credentials.
And Governments have to play their part, which is where the podcast comes in … but more on that later.
The important role Government does have is in setting the legislation that regulates society, but equally important is putting in place the checks and balances that allow these rules to be policed.
Before 14th June 2017, I’m sure most people in the UK construction industry would have thought that there were too many rules affecting and constraining companies.
While we do have Building Regulations on the way things are built and the types of materials used, the tragedy of Grenfell Tower demonstrate vividly and horribly what can happen when the checks and balances aren’t in place.
And that is where the Mission Zero Report has an important role to play as it provides a deep and detailed look into what all parts of society need to do if we are to get to Net Zero.
My final addition is a simple one – counting.
You simply can’t improve things if you don’t know where you are starting from.
Businesses need to put in place monitoring and building controls systems that can demonstrate energy consumption, so that these can be analysed and a carbon reduction strategy developed.
Improvements might be as simple and straightforward as better service and maintenance regimes, or changing the way a building is controlled to suit current work patterns rather than historic ones.
It will definitely involve looking at your building services though and planning for a much lower carbon future.
Have you worked out when, in the next five years you will remove gas from your site yet?
And have you thought about adding in renewable technologies such as solar panels, or heat pumps?
The technology is now well proven so for businesses there really isn’t any excuse now, whether that is something that can be built into plans for this year or in the next few years.
Whether you agree with my 7 C’s or not, I hope this short piece has helped you understand what you can do, both as an individual and as a business.
Whether you are the MD, or a direct employee, what you do during your working day will make a difference and this is where we all have a choice.
Yes, another ‘C’ Choice. However, I would point out that we do not have a choice on whether we need to act … we absolutely must. But we do have a choice on when!
Martin Fahey, Head of Sustainability – UK & Ireland