Event report

Net Zero Leadership Programme: Getting started with your carbon footprint


This session equipped our members with tips for measuring their carbon footprint and mapping out a strategy to reach net zero.

In a webinar led by Jane Mossman, attendees found out about how to measure their emissions, the key terminology involved, and how to create a successful net-zero plan. 

Many thanks to our partners Better Futures+ and Tarkett for their participation in the event. 

Missed the presentation? Find our summary of the key takeaways below. 


What is a carbon footprint? 

Simply put, a carbon footprint is a measurement of greenhouse gas emissions – whether by an individual, a company or a product. From a business point of view, defining your carbon footprint means estimating the carbon emissions generated by your commercial activities.  

Although there are several greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, emissions are generally measured in terms of their carbon equivalent for practical reasons. All of these gases have different warming potentials over different timescales. 

Scopes 1, 2 and 3: what are the differences? 

Scope 1 emissions are those directly caused by a company’s fuel usage: essentially the gas bill for company facilities and any emissions generated by company vehicles. 

For most businesses, Scope 2 emissions typically cover the electricity bill: emissions generated as a result of services provided by an external party. 

Everything else comes under Scope 3: emissions generated by people in your value chain like suppliers and customers. 

What does ‘net zero’ mean? 

There is occasionally some confusion over the terminology relating to achieving net zero. 

Becoming carbon neutral means having a plan to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions and then offsetting what cannot be reduced. This is typically achieved through buying carbon credits in renewable energy schemes. 

Reaching net zero means reducing emissions by 90-95% and then actually removing the remaining 5-10% from the atmosphere, through initiatives like tree-planting schemes. 

Becoming carbon positive (sometimes also called becoming carbon negative) refers to the stage where a company is removing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it generates. 

Climate Essentials: measuring your baseline carbon footprint 

Online carbon management programme Climate Essentials offers businesses a four-step process to measuring their baseline carbon footprint: 

  1. Measure your emissions 

  1. Visualise and benchmark your organisation’s emissions against similar organisations 

  1. Understand how to reduce emissions 

  1. Map out a net-zero pathway and vision 

Making a plan to reduce emissions and cut costs 

Once you’ve measured your company’s carbon footprint and set a baseline, the next step is to map out a proper plan to reduce emissions. 

Companies can make use of the free Sustainable Business Model Canvas in order to map out any idea, project, or plan for business transformation. The model helps leaders to map out the impact that their sustainability strategy will have on all aspects of the company, considering factors like cost structure, revenue opportunities, and creating value for customers. 

The next step is to define how the plan will be put into action and any specific milestones to aim for along the way. 

Tips for carbon offsetting 

There are generally two types of offsetting schemes. 

Carbon reduction projects help others to take action to reduce their emissions. An example of this might be a programme to replace coal fires with fuel-efficient stoves. 

Carbon removal projects, on the other hand, actually take carbon out of the atmosphere. These include initiatives like reforestation, peatland restoration, and carbon capture and storage. 

Companies wanting to participate in offsetting projects should follow established audited schemes like the Gold Standard and Verra frameworks. That way, they can be sure that their actions are indeed helping to reduce emissions.  

Key considerations for success 

Above all, leaders need to make sure that their net-zero plan is fully aligned with their company purpose. If this is not the case, it will be much harder to follow everything through. 

They should also consider the following questions: 

  • Are you prioritising actions that will make an impact? 

  • Do your clients, employers and suppliers also benefit from your net zero plan? 

  • Are you clear as an organisation about how you can measure progress and who is responsible and accountable for making it happen? 


BetterFutures+ provides London-based businesses with free expert advice to help them get to net zero emissions. An onboarding session giving greater detail on Climate Essentials’ carbon footprint measurement tool will be taking place on 10th November.  


Our Net Zero Leadership Programme is a series of events offering practical tools and resources to help SMEs and entrepreneurs plan their transition to net zero. Click here to learn more and register for upcoming sessions. 




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