Dundee and Angus College leads UK-first drive to help businesses reach net zero

Beena Sharma and Jordan Ferguson of Imperium, with Caryn Gibson of Dundee and Angus College

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CARBON footprint remains a ‘mystery’ to countless Scottish companies, according to the team behind a UK-first, Government-funded drive to support and guide businesses through the journey to Net Zero.

A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce found that the vast majority of small businesses have yet to put targets in place to reduce their emissions. In response, Dundee and Angus College and leading Net Zero experts and Aberdeen-based carbon accounting specialists Imperium are joining forces to help businesses understand the implications of impending legislation requiring them to reduce and report their carbon emissions.

Any company looking to bid on large public sector tenders over £5 million must have a Carbon Reduction Plan, and all tenders are scrutinised on their carbon reduction efforts. However, with only 11% of UK businesses currently measuring their carbon footprint, one in five businesses (22%) do not fully understand the term ‘Net Zero’, and almost one third have yet to seek support in developing a Net Zero roadmap.

To support businesses going forwards, the two organisations have created a suite of courses that can be funded through the Scottish Government’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund. The fund gives levy-paying businesses access to up to £15K worth of training, with SMEs eligible for training up to the value of £5K.

With three levels of bespoke courses for businesses of all sizes and sectors, delegates can learn everything from measuring and managing their carbon footprint and motivating cultural change within the workforce to developing a Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan. 

As part of the package, delegates will also gain access and full training on accredited carbon accounting software for a full year, empowering them to capture, manage and report their scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions at a moment in time and the future. The CBN Expert software can also measure the effect of, for example, switching petrol vehicles to electric, installing a biomass plant or wind turbine, allowing them to make informed decisions before investing.

Caryn Gibson, Business Partnership Manager, Dundee and Angus College, said, “Global greenhouse gas emissions must be slashed in half by 2030 and, in Scotland, to reach Net Zero by 2045.

“Understandably, the pandemic has taken precedence over the last two years, but the reality is that businesses cannot afford to wait any longer to start their transition.  To stay competitive and current, it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ you commit to Net Zero and start creating and implementing your plan.

“We work with lots of businesses across the region and, every day, we hear about the frustrations and confusions that exist as business owners scramble around in the dark trying to do their bit, but without any clear direction. To many, Net Zero remains a mystery, with many businesses investing in green technologies, recruiting or training without any robust knowledge or planning.

“My goal is to ensure that Dundee and Angus College plays a key role in supporting these business owners. The development of these industry-led courses, with our new partners, will help businesses understand their obligations, how to reach them and track their carbon emissions as they scale up. Informing and empowering them will also influence their buying decisions, ensuring that any investments are based on sound knowledge and reasoning.”

Meanwhile, Beena Sharma, Managing Director, Imperium, added, “Most business owners are aware of the targets and the fact that they will be legally bound to measure their emissions, but they don’t know how. 

“Similarly, we often hear from companies who can’t bid for certain tenders because they don’t have a Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan – no business should get to that stage. By signing up to their commitments now, we’ll engage their workforce and help them understand where they fit in the jigsaw. Gaining that all-important buy-in is crucial. We will then deliver the training and help them create a bespoke Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan, which will work for them. They can then move forwards with confidence, remain competitive, and really make a difference.”

Large organisations are already required to complete a Streamlined Energy and Carbon Report (SECR) with the annual accounts and, at COP26, it was indicated by the Chancellor that all businesses are likely to have to report their emissions in the coming years.  This is likely to be announced before COP27 in Egypt in November 2022.

For more information and to be allocated a Skills Advisor, please contact the Dundee and Angus College Business Partnership Team – telephone 01241 432724, email business@dundeeandangus.ac.uk or visit https://dundeeandangus.ac.uk/business-and-training/.

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