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2023 marked another record year for CDP as more than 23,000 listed companies worldwide, representing over 66% of global market capitalisation, disclosed through CDP. This is a 24% increase compared to 2022.1

As mandatory disclosure expands, the 2024 CDP questionnaire will align with the ISSB’s climate disclosure standard (IFRS S2) to provide a harmonised platform to allow investors to access comprehensive data across regulatory requirements, which is comparable across companies and regions.

An alignment with the TNFD framework will also start to be reflected in the 2024 questionnaire, encouraging companies to report on nature by providing a robust set of good practice indicators on areas such as freshwater, oceans, and land.2

CDP scores range from a D to A, taking companies on a journey starting from disclosure (D) to awareness (C), management (B) and finally to leadership (A). Companies that score an A demonstrate best practice in strategy and action as recognised by CDP’s aligned framework. They will have also undertaken actions such as setting science-based targets, creating a climate transition plan, developing water-related risk assessment strategies, and/or reporting on deforestation impact for all relevant operations, supply chains and commodities.3

Even at different stages of a company’s environmental journey, disclosing through CDP can offer significant benefits. It cultivates trust by promoting transparency and enhancing reputation. It can boost competitive advantage, track and benchmark performance against industry peers and uncover risks and opportunities, thereby informing data-driven strategies.4

The 2024 CDP cycle

CDP’s new platform will be available from April 2024, with the response window from early June 2024 to September 2024.

The questionnaire will be integrated across all three themes (climate change, forests, and water) to be more efficient and user-friendly, while still enabling companies to receive a separate score for each theme.

Key takeaways

  1. Prepare early.

Begin planning for the next CDP cycle as early as possible, taking into consideration any gaps identified and lessons learnt from the previous year and reviewing questionnaires and guidance materials in advance.

  1. Provide company-specific information.

Tailoring responses to reflect the company’s unique circumstances by providing case studies and references specific to activities, services, and operating locations gives investors’ confidence that the issue has been thoroughly considered.5

  1. Demonstrate continuous improvement.

The bar for what qualifies as environmental leadership is raised each year.6 Companies should continually adapt and innovate to meet the ever-rising standards for environmental leadership, which are shaped by emerging science, stakeholder feedback, and the market’s demand for environmental transparency.

Remember, CDP’s alignment with global standards and frameworks ensures that your disclosure efforts contribute to meaningful climate action. With a well-defined climate transition plan, you can show your commitment to achieving a 1.5-degree pathway and manage risks for environmental stewardship and long-term profitability. CDP allows your business to foster a sustainable culture within your organisation and helps you to communicate to stakeholders how your disclosures align with your business objectives.

Good luck with your CDP submission in 2024!

Author: Maria Serrano, Consultant, Simply Sustainable

For more information on how Simply Sustainable can help with your environmental disclosures, please get in touch with one of our friendly experts here.


Part of our 4-part net zero series

It is all about keeping 1.5°C alive. By this we mean stopping the average global temperature from increasing by more than 1.5°C.

Globally this equates to reducing emissions by 45% by 2030 and reaching net zero no later than 2050 from levels in 2010. Over the course of this insight, we will set out what this means for companies and how they can help to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. For more information on the significance of, and the science behind 1.5°C please, see our first insight in the net zero series.

Is it too late for 1.5°C?

The notion of keeping average global temperature increase below 1.5°C (from pre-industrial levels) is a concept that came out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The worrying thing is, that in February 2024 in Europe, we exceeded this 1.5°C warming limit over a 12-month period. This is the first time on record that this has happened. Does this mean that it is already too late?
The good news is that the 1.5°C threshold is a temperature average, measured globally over decades, which means we still have time to limit warming and keep within the parameters set out in Paris. However, we must rapidly accelerate action. For more information on this please read our is it too late for 1.5°C insight.

Aligning to the science, keeping within 1.5°C

As more companies join the journey to net zero, it is more important than ever that their targets are robust, credible and in line with the science. The good news is that there is plenty of guidance out there to help you set a 1.5°C aligned target. However, as more and more guidance is released, it can become difficult to navigate. This insight aims to outline, the key requirements to ensure your net-zero target is set at the right level of ambition. It is important to note that the guidance will vary from sector to sector.

There are three overarching requirements from The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) when considering a net-zero target:

1. Set near- and long-term targets.

• Near-term targets must be 5-10 from your base year. It is advised, as best practice, to use your most recent year as your base year.
• Long-term targets must achieve a minimum of 90% absolute reduction on or before 2050.
• Both near- and long-term targets must be consistent with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperatures below 1.5C.
In addition to near- and long-term targets covering your scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, companies can set additional targets covering the following areas:
• Supplier and customer engagement (working with suppliers and customers to set their own net-zero targets)
• Renewable electricity (e.g. 80% renewable electricity by 2025 and 100% by 2030)

Forestry, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) Targets

For companies with land intensive activities in their value chain they must now set separate targets for their FLAG emissions. These targets can be at a sector or a commodity level and must result in a 72% reduction in FLAG emissions in line with your long-term net zero date (i.e. on or before 2050). There are also other requirements, such as zero deforestation by 2025 across primary deforestation-linked commodities. For more information on FLAG emission please see our insight here.

2. Focus on rapid, deep emissions cuts.

In order to meet the scale and pace required to reduce emissions in line with the science, SBTi require a focus on immediate decarbonisation. This means that organisations cannot wait until 2049 to reduce their emissions by 90% in order to hit their 2050 target.
Scope 1 and 2 emissions must reduce at a rate of 4.2% linear reduction year on year in the short term. This needs to be absolute reductions, not just intensity. Over the long term emissions must reduce by 90% or more.
When it comes to scope 3 reduction, these emissions must reduce at a rate of 7% year on year in emissions intensity in the short term. Over the long term these must result in an absolute reduction of 90% and an intensity reduction of 97%. These are challenging and stretching targets!

3. No net zero claims until long term targets are met.

Unlike with carbon neutral, net zero cannot be claimed until the required reduction in emissions have been achieved and targets have been met. Then, and only then, can an organisation claim to achieve net zero. That is why net-zero target dates are often set out over decades (e.g. net zero by 2040), whereas there are many organisations now who are claiming carbon neutrality without making any significant reductions in their carbon footprint.

4. Go beyond the value chain.

Essentially this aspect of a net-zero target is why it is a net zero, and not an absolute zero target. SBTi recognises that it is impossible to eliminate 100% of emissions in an organisation and its supply chain and therefore the guidance allows for some “offsetting” of residual emission. Unfortunately, but importantly, it is not a simple case of offsetting any remaining emissions as SBTi include additional requirements to not only look at carbon sequestration, but also other factors such as social impact. Perhaps the topic for a future insight!

The use of offsets must not be counted as emissions reduction towards the progress of a companies’ science-based target. These can only be used to finance additional emission reductions beyond their science-based target.

Not as simple as you were hoping!

Whilst we hate to over complicate things, there is a lot that sits behind a simple notion such as Net Zero. Approaches to setting a target will be different for every organisation. Our role at Simply Sustainable is help you understand the most plausible path for your organisation to reach net zero, whilst ensuring that your level of ambition is in line with the science on climate change.
If you want to talk to us about how we can help, please get in touch with Henry, our Head of Climate and Carbon.

Net zero is a vast topic and one that is impossible to cover in any depth in just one insight. Please see other net zero insights from the series:

• Part 1: What is net zero and why is it important?
• Part 2: How to approach setting a net-zero target (baseline carbon footprinting and understanding)
• Ensuring your target is robust, ambitious and in line with the science on climate change
Our final insight in the series will cover:
• Validating your target through SBTi and integrating and communicating your net-zero target

Additional guidance, links and tools

The best guidance and tools come from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). SBTi are the global authority on net zero. They have developed sector specific guidance and requirements for many companies to follow when setting a net-zero target including a target setting tool and a net-zero tool. However, as more and more guidance is released it can become challenge to wade your way through it all, and that is where our Climate and Carbon Team comes in to help!

Author: Henry Unwin, Head of Climate and Carbon, Simply Sustainable

The notion of keeping the average global temperature increase below 1.5°C (from pre-industrial levels) is a concept that came out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This agreement sought to limit global warming to “well below” 2°C by the end of the century. In the following years, the science has shown that the target threshold needs to be 1.5, not 2°C. 

The worrying thing is, as we write this insight in early February 2024, we have exceeded this 1.5°C warming limit over a 12-month period. This is the first time on record that this has happened and comes from data collected by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. 

Surely now it is too late? Have we not already breached this important target and tipping point? 

Over the last few years, we have already seen the devastating impact of this warming and the effects it is having on our planet. The warning signs are clear, and the planet’s hazard lights are flashing. Nevertheless, the science is showing that we have not yet permanently breached the crucial 1.5°C threshold. This threshold is a temperature average, measured globally over decades. The Paris Agreement aims to keep the world below this threshold, by the end of the century. It is still possible, but the lack of momentum, progress, and urgency on climate action means that the target is slipping away from us, faster than we thought. 

Some scientists are saying that it is too late, others argue that we still have time, but it will take radical transformations in our approach to decarbonisation. Even if it is too late for 1.5°C, we cannot stop taking action. The impact becomes exponential as average global temperatures increase. We reach tipping points and trigger feedback loops caused by warming (e.g. melting of arctic tundra) which release more greenhouse gasses and trigger more warming!  

We do still have time, and we must act now to stop runaway global warming. Credible and robust climate targets, aligned to the science and backed up by rapid actions to decarbonise are vital. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) give companies the tools and the guidance to set 1.5°C aligned net-zero targets. If more governments and companies set and meet these targets we are still in with a chance of keeping 1.5°C alive. But we must act now and businesses need to understand their responsibilities.  

Our dedicated Climate and Carbon Team at Simply Sustainable has decades of collective experience in interpreting the science on climate change and supporting companies to create the targets and actions needed to be part of the climate solution, not the crisis.  


Author: Henry Unwin, Head of Climate and Carbon, Simply Sustainable

As the world shifts its focus towards achieving a decarbonised society, every sector is under scrutiny to adapt and contribute to sustainable practices. The telecoms industry is no exception. Recent research, including insights from esteemed scientific organisations, highlights the intricate relationship between climate change and the telecoms sector, shedding light on both the vulnerabilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

Climate Change impacts

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that rising global temperatures can have far-reaching effects on various industries, including the telecoms sector. Increased wear and tear on infrastructure due to extreme weather events and rising sea levels pose significant threats. Severe weather can disrupt communication networks and services, potentially leading to prolonged outages and hindering emergency response efforts.

Transition to a decarbonised society

Scientific organisations like the World Resources Institute emphasise the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across industries. Telecom companies are taking proactive steps to contribute to this goal. AT&T, for instance, has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035 and aims to utilise renewable energy sources for 100% of its operations. Similarly, Vodafone has pledged to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2025 through energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy investments.

Leveraging technology for Sustainability

Telecom giants are leveraging technology to drive sustainability and resilience. The World Economic Forum highlights the transformative potential of 5G networks in reducing energy consumption. These networks not only offer faster communication but also consume significantly less energy compared to previous generations, thus contributing to lower carbon emissions.


Furthermore, the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising industries by enabling data-driven decision-making. Organisations like the European Environment Agency emphasise the role of IoT in optimising resource usage. In agriculture, IoT sensors provide real-time data on soil conditions, enabling precise irrigation and reducing water waste.


By drawing insights from scientific organisations such as the IPCC, the World Resources Institute, and the World Economic Forum, the industry is proactively working towards a decarbonised future. Through innovative technologies like 5G and IoT, telecom companies are not only reducing their carbon footprint but also enhancing their ability to withstand climate-related disruptions. As these efforts unfold, the telecoms sector has the opportunity to progress with resilience on their sustainability journey, setting a precedent for other industries to follow.

If you are interested in getting how we can help you on your carbon journey, please contact us or request a call back.

Author: Nicola Stopps, CEO & Founder

The rise of environmental claims

As more and more consumers become aware of climate risks and try to adopt more sustainable practices, businesses are sensing an opportunity to tap into the green market. With this comes the danger of unsubstantiated claims about products and services, leading to consumers believing that a company’s products and services are ‘environmentally friendly’. In the UK alone, 72% of consumers consider sustainability in purchasing decisions.1 However, as environmental claims by businesses become more prevalent, so do instances of greenwashing. The good news is that governments are becoming increasingly aware of this trend and beginning to crack down. But, we may be seeing a shift from one extreme to the other; some businesses are beginning to practice a new phenomenon known as green-hushing.  

Greenwashing vs green-hushing

Greenwashing occurs when businesses provide consumers or investors with misleading information about the environmental impact of their operations.2 By exploiting consumers’ genuine ethical concerns, greenwashing impact a consumer’s ability to make a sound, environmentally friendly decision – generating confusion, scepticism and increased perceived risks around ‘green products’. Due to public and regulatory backlash against greenwashing, instances of green-hushing have become more frequent. Green-hushing occurs when businesses do not publish details of their climate targets to avoid scrutiny and allegations of greenwashing.3 

In order to avoid greenwashing or green-hushing, businesses must ensure that the claims they make are accurate, unbiased, and supported by robust evidence. Legislation in both the United Kingdom and the European Union can guide businesses aiming to take the necessary precautions.  

Greenwashing and the regulatory landscape

UK Green Claims Code

In September 2021, the UK government launched the Green Claims Code (GCC). The principles of the GCC are designed to highlight the standards businesses must adhere to when making claims about their environmental impacts.  

The code enforces new guidance on misleading and socially irresponsible environmental claims. By delivering clear and explicit instructions, the code covers the entire lifecycle of a product, service, process, or brand. Beyond the legal penalties for failing to comply, neglecting these six principles risks separating a company from its customer base. As public opinion and expectations rapidly evolve, a company’s reputation is increasingly exposed to this danger. Over 12 months, for example, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found 16 advertising campaigns had either exaggerated their company’s green credentials or made unsubstantiated environmental claims.4 These breaches were widely publicised, severely impacting the businesses’ reputations.  

As trust in green claims is fragile, the Green Claims Code is a welcomed intervention that will play a vital role in levelling the playing field. Businesses that have been working to mitigate their social and environmental impact – with data to support – will see the code as a golden opportunity to gain commercial advantage and improved performance.  

EU Green Claims Directive

The EU is following a similar approach to the UK. In March 2023, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on Green Claims. The proposal on green claims aims to:5 

  • Make green claims reliable  
  • Protect consumers from greenwashing  
  • Contribute to creating a circular and green EU economy by enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions  
  • Help establish a level playing field regarding the environmental performance of products.   

To ensure that aims are met, the Directive will set out criteria on how companies should prove their environmental claims, requirements for claims to be verified and enhanced governance on labelling schemes. Although the Directive still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, its significance is paramount and emphasises the need for increased transparency. It is recommended that businesses keep a watching brief on the proposal as it will likely significantly impact current practices.  

How does Simply Sustainable support businesses in getting their environmental claims right?

Simply Sustainable recognises the increasing complexity of abiding by environmental rules and regulations. These are particularly difficult to navigate when faced with large and often elusive supply chains, alongside time and resource constraints.  

At Simply Sustainable, we encourage transparency in all business publications and disclosures and are adept at guiding businesses to comply with existing obligations on environmental claims. In particular, we ensure that reporting and communications are aligned with the latest environmental regulations and best practice frameworks.  

If you are interested in getting your environmental claims right, but not sure where to start, please contact us or request a call back.

Author: Lauren Hyatt, Senior Consultant








It is vital to understand where you are setting off from, before embarking on your net-zero journey.

Like all targets, net-zero targets point to where you need to get to, from your current baseline and by when. There are various ways of creating carbon reduction targets and it is good to see that we have finally moved on from picking nice-sounding round numbers that worked well together (e.g. 20% reduction by 2020 or 30% by 2030). Today, most targets are being set in-line with what the science is telling us is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Targets in line with climate science, AKA science-based targets.

Before embarking on your net-zero journey, it is vital to consider why you are setting your target and how you want to communicate your goals. What is the scope of the target? Is it for one company, a group-wide target or country specific? This will impact the approach you need to take, particularly the first step in your net-zero journey; measuring your carbon footprint.

Step 1: Understand your current emissions

Every company’s net-zero journey will be different, but they all start in the same place; understanding the baseline carbon footprint.

To establish a resilient and comprehensive net-zero target, it is important to ensure that you include all relevant emissions categories in your baseline carbon footprint. Whilst some net-zero frameworks, such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), don’t require 100% of your footprint to be covered in your target, it is important to begin with a full picture of your footprint and association carbon hotspots. For the purposes of SBTi, your baseline year must be no earlier than 2019 and ideally should be your most recent year.

Our advice would be to follow best practice emissions reporting standards (e.g. Greenhouse Gas Protocol Accounting and Reporting Standard [2004:2015], ISO 14064-1, SBTi Corporate Net-Zero Standard [2021]). This will not only ensure that you have a solid baseline but will also mean that you can use the data collected for other reporting requirements (such as SECR, TCFD and CSRD). Following best practice standards will also assure that you are audit ready, should someone come knocking!

All seven greenhouse gasses covered under the GHG Protocol should be included in your footprint and emissions from across the entire value chain should be incorporated. This includes emissions produced by a company’s own processes (Scope 1), purchased electricity and heat (Scope 2) and those by suppliers and end-users (Scope 3). For more information on emission scopes see the diagram below and this Simple Guide to Scope 3 Emissions by Sytze Dijkstra, Simply Sustainable’s Netherlands Country Manager.

Simply Sustainable Score 3 diagram

Step 2: Hotspot analysis

Analysing the biggest areas of opportunity and risk in relation to decarbonisation.

Emissions hotspots are areas within your business operations and supply chain that have the greatest carbon impact, and as such, offer the greatest opportunity to drive reductions in your carbon footprint. Before setting carbon reduction or net-zero targets it is important to understand your hotspots and understand how these will be impacted by any areas of significant change or growth within your business.

Step 3: Internal buy-in

Getting buy-in at board level is key to the success of your net-zero strategy.

One common mistake is organisations signing-up to sustainability targets and commitments without fully understanding the implications on their business, or how to achieve their commitments. This does not mean that you need to know the exact actions you will be required to take to achieve net-zero, but it does mean that you need to understand the scale of the challenge ahead, before committing. This is not only important for gaining buy-in internally but can also carry a reputational risk. In the first five years after launching, SBTi expelled 119 companies from the initiative after failing to submit climate targets within two years of committing.

Getting buy-in at board level is key to the success of your net-zero strategy, this will not only help your board to increase its carbon literacy but will also help to drive action when it comes to the decarbonisation required to meet your net-zero commitment.

Step 4: Committing to your net-zero journey

Publicly committing to your net-zero journey will help keep momentum and drive action.

Publicly committing to set a net-zero target is not mandatory, but something that is encouraged by the SBTi. This can be done informally through your own internal and external communications, or more formally though submitting a commitment letter to SBTi. If going through the formal SBTi process, you have 24 months to submit your target after signing your commitment letter.

Next in the net-zero series

This is part 2 of a series of insights into net-zero. The next article in our series will cover how to calculate your net-zero target, how to ensure it’s in line with the science and making sure you are setting the right level of ambition, whilst ensuring your target is achievable.

If you are interested in setting net-zero targets, but not sure where to start, please contact us or request a call back.

Author: Henry Unwin, Head of Climate and Carbon Services

The Carbon Disclosure Project, informally known as CDP, has emerged as a critical global platform, holding the largest environmental database in the world. The platform primarily facilitates transparent reporting and disclosure to drive sustainable practices across industries. With approximately 20,000 organisations disclosing data on climate change, water security and deforestation issues via CDP, 2022 set a new milestone for disclosure – a 38% increase since 2021 – including listed companies worth US$60.8 trillion (half of the global market capitalisation)1.

Over time, the platform has evolved to reflect the most recent climate science and global policy developments. The 2015 Paris Agreement marked a turning point in the global response to climate change, demonstrating that ‘business as usual’ is no longer sufficient.


CDP’s primary objective is encouraging organisations and cities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, protect water resources and preserve forests. CDP accomplishes this by offering a solid and standardised platform for organisations to voluntarily report their environmental data annually.

The structure of the CDP climate change questionnaire was redesigned in recent years in response to market needs and trends in corporate climate change reporting. Revisions included an increased emphasis on forward-looking metrics, improved alignment with other reporting frameworks and the integration of sector-specific questions.

Significance in climate change mitigation

CDP promotes transparency and accountability by pushing organisations to measure and report their carbon emissions and climate-related data. This incentivises implementing comprehensive sustainability policies, whilst providing stakeholders with crucial information for informed decision-making. Beyond corporate boundaries, CDP allows investors to assess the climate risks and opportunities associated with their portfolios, ultimately promoting a shift towards greener investments2. This harmonisation will help to optimise reporting and accelerate the generation of decision-useful information.

CDP also aligns with other large initiatives, facilitating benchmarking and amplifying the impact of sustainability strategies, addressing interconnected challenges and leveraging expertise and best practices.

CDP in 2023

Developments in 2023 reflect CDP’s strategic priorities to track organisations’ alignment with a 1.5°C world, which include enhancing disclosure, governance, engagement, emissions accounting, carbon credits and carbon pricing.

Respondents are asked whether their spending and revenue is aligned with sustainable finance taxonomies to add credibility to their commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

In alignment with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Corporate Reporting on Biodiversity Guidelines, respondents are required to report on the approach to maintaining and addressing concerns associated with having activities located in or near biodiversity-sensitive areas.

Respondents are also requested to provide emissions data for subsidiaries, which includes a breakdown of their Scopes 1 and 2. As other regulatory frameworks and standards increase their scrutiny around emissions reporting, organisations are encouraged to consider subsidiary emissions, which can represent a significant gap in terms of unassessed climate risks and opportunities.


CDP has emerged as a vital catalyst in the fight against climate change. CDP is transforming corporate behaviour, empowering organisations to embrace sustainability practices and mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

For end-to-end support with your CDP submission or other ESG ratings or disclosures, contact us or request a call back.

Author: Maria Serrano, Climate and Carbon Consultant


ESG and sustainability strategy

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability strategies in businesses have changed radically in the last 5 years. With the increase in stakeholder expectations, companies are now finding their strategies are not meeting current requirements and are needing an update.

In the past, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies were considered an addition, a bolt-on to a business’s commercial strategy. In recent years, there has been a significant acknowledgement by stakeholders, regulators and the financial sector of the direct and indirect financial impact of ESG and sustainability and issues. This has been set out in the recent European Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Businesses are now looking to ensure their ESG and sustainability strategies are entirely intertwined with their commercial strategies and to maximise commercial opportunities and minimise financial and stakeholder risk. This often means using the old-fashioned approach of focus areas being people, planet, community – a box-ticking exercise – is now too simplistic. Rather companies are now developing strategies which are more sophisticated, tailored and refined to their specific needs, with a focus on the financial opportunities and alignment to the commercial strategy.

Complete the form below to download the full in-depth Insight from our sustainability consultancy Thought Leadership team.


Forest, road and sea from above in bright, vivid greens and blues>

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We are living on borrowed resources

As things stand, we are utilising resources that do not belong to us. As of today, 19 May 2023, we have consumed all the UK can regenerate in a year. This comes when we are only 138 days through the year, with just under two-thirds remaining. Today is our Overshoot Day.

The UK has a biocapacity per capita of 0.56 gha/person, whilst the average UK resident has the 9th highest ecological footprint in the world, equalling 7.93 gha/person. We overconsume the Earth’s resources at a rate of 7.37 gha/person, a rate that the UK biocapacity cannot regenerate at – to achieve this, we would need 4.1 UK’s. But this does not just affect the UK, if every person in the world was to live like UK residents, we would need 2.6 Earths worth of resources.

The UK economy is heavily reliant on its resources, with the utilised agricultural area (UAA) totalling 17.6 million hectares in 2022, accounting for around 71% of the total land size. Whilst the use of natural resources for the purposes of agriculture only equates to 0.68% of the UK’s GDP, the larger sectors such as manufacturing and services are also at risk. Analysis conducted by Natural Capital Finance Alliance using ENCORE shows that there is potential high dependency on natural capital over 74% of the FTSE All-Share index sectors.

2023 Earth Overshoot Day

How can we solve this?

To reach a sustainable level of consumption by the year 2050, we would need to shift the date back 8 days per annum to achieve an Earth Overshoot Day of 31 December 2050. But how can you as a business help to do this?

Humanity’s ecological footprint is predominantly composed of carbon emissions, which account for 60% of our overall impact on the planet. Decarbonisation represents the most effective strategy for restoring balance between our ecological footprint and the planet’s renewable resources whilst simultaneously mitigating climate change. If we manage to cut down the carbon emissions that contribute to humanity’s ecological footprint by 50%, it would shift the UK’s Earth Overshoot Day by over three months, or 93 days.

By implementing readily available and commercially viable energy-efficiency technologies in buildings, industrial processes and electricity production, we could shift Overshoot Day by a minimum of 21 days, without compromising on productivity or comfort.

Addressing the ecological debt crisis is not a task that can be accomplished overnight. Fortunately, viable solutions are already available and have been effectively implemented. The need of the hour is to swiftly scale up their implementation.

UK Overshoot animation

For how we can support your business in its decarbonisation, see our carbon services or request a call-back.

Author: Harry Freeman, Consultant


All too often, people delve into the detail of net-zero before looking at the bigger picture and how net-zero target setting began.

Ever since COP21, better known as the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2016, we have seen many businesses and countries committing to reduce their emissions and announcing net-zero target dates. This has been incredibly encouraging, but it is also important that these targets are both robust and ambitious (something we will come onto later in our net-zero insights series).

The message from COP21 in Paris and from the IPCC since then has been crystal clear. The science on climate change is telling us that we must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally by 45% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050. If we do not do this, we have no chance of keeping global warming to within 1.5°C.

The significance of 1.5°C

This 1.5°C figure is vitally important. It is a figure that is often used but not always understood. If the average global temperature increases by more than 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels (set at an 1850-1900 average baseline), then we will see increasingly catastrophic consequences of climate change. Even at 1.5°C warming we will see significant impacts on our planet. If we exceed this target by just half a degree, the results will be dramatic: ice-free arctic summers will increase 10-fold, double the number of vertebrates and plants will lose their habitats, as will triple the number of insects1. We will lose a shocking 99% of our coral reefs and almost 40% of the global population will be exposed to extreme heat at least once every five years.

These are significant impacts and we must act now if we are to avoid them. Worryingly, we have already seen an average increase in temperatures of 1.1°C. These increases in temperature are directly related to the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gasses (GHGs) that humans emit into the atmosphere. It is these GHG emissions that we must reduce by 45% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050, at the latest.

What does net-zero actually mean?

Net-zero emissions are achieved when anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a period of time2.

Put more simply, what goes up must come down. However, what is often missed when looking at net-zero is that it is not as simple as balancing carbon emissions with carbon removals/offsets. Robust methodologies for achieving net-zero (again, something we will come to later in our net-zero insights series) require significant reductions in absolute emissions (up to 95%) before balancing out the rest with removals/offsets. We need rapid and deep decarbonisation, not just the balancing of emissions.

It can be easy to feel down when we look at figures on carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change. However, there are real reasons to be optimistic, and throughout this series of insights we hope to shine light on the positive solutions required to create a brighter, sustainable future for all.

In May we will cover how to approach setting a robust net-zero target. To receive the next insight in this net-zero series, as well as other insights on ESG and sustainability, sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Author: Henry Unwin, Head of Carbon and Climate Services


Net-zero is a vast topic and one that is impossible to cover in any depth in just one insight. Therefore, over the forthcoming months we will be publishing a series of insights on net-zero, positively looking at the following:

  • What is net-zero and why is it important?
  • How to approach setting a net-zero target (baseline carbon footprinting and understanding)
  • Ensuring your target is robust, ambitious and in line with the science on climate change
  • Integrating and communicating your net-zero target

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