Many organisations are fragmented, with
di erent departments responsible for
facilities, operations, energy, logistics and other
factors that impact their carbon footprint.
Achieving zero carbon status requires a
coordinated, determined approach from every
area of the organisation, covering every aspect
of its operations – and facilities managers have
a leading role to play in integrating the e orts of
The pressure to reduce carbon emissions is coming
from many directions. The government has set a net
zero carbon target for the UK by 2050. Businesses will
have a major part to play in achieving this target. That
means progress towards carbon reduction is likely
to become increasingly regulated as the deadline
approaches and the government needs to incentivise
e ective actions. Businesses will need to anticipate
and adapt to these new regulations.
Organisations also face pressure to cut carbon from
their own shareholders, as well as customers and the
wider public. Employees today expect their employers
to take safeguarding the environment seriously. That
means carbon reduction policies could a ect an
organisation’s ability to attract the best new talent.
Pressure for climate action also comes from
supply chains. Globally, organisations want to
work with suppliers and partners who share their
principles. Those that fail to take action on carbon
reduction are likely to find it di icult to participate
in the increasingly connected and environmentally
conscious supply chains of tomorrow.
There are, of course, many business benefits in
transitioning to a zero carbon model, from improved
operational and energy e iciency to greater resource
38 OCTOBER 2019
optimisation and cost reductions – but organisations
face many barriers.
These include time pressures, everyday business
priorities and external uncertainties, including the
UK’s exit from the EU. Access to funding to support
the process, including investment in low-carbon
technology, is another significant barrier, alongside
access to the expertise required to identify and
implement the most e ective measures.
Facilities managers have an opportunity to lead
the way in creating zero carbon businesses, by
coordinating the e orts of all sites, departments and
individuals across their organisations to maximise
opportunities for sustainable carbon reduction.
To understand what zero carbon would look like for
your organisation, it’s essential to take a holistic view
of your organisation’s operations. A good starting point
is an initial carbon assessment. This should identify the
origins of all carbon emissions in your organisation.
Any carbon reduction programme will rely heavily
on reducing energy usage. Facilities and energy
managers need to work together to assess how
much energy the business is consuming, when and
where it is being consumed, and where e iciencies
can be made. Accurately targeting energy e iciency
requires a clear view of all energy data, and
sophisticated energy management so ware can help
to analyse this data and identify opportunities for
In many cases, energy use can be reduced by
tweaking processes, altering temperature and
control settings, modifying equipment set-points
and adjusting timings. Implementing smart building
systems can also help to automate many of these
controls, and to manage all building assets for
optimum e iciency.
In addition, existing assets may need to be
converted into more energy-e icient alternatives, or
investments made in new low-carbon equipment.
Pressure is mounting on businesses
to make the transition to zero
carbon, but Graham Oxley, MD of
Energy with Services at ENGIE, says
the road to carbon neutrality is far
A er making the best use of the energy consumed in
your organisation, the next step is to consider where
that energy comes from. Sourcing electricity from
renewable generators is an e ective way to reduce
the carbon emissions. Corporate power purchase
agreements enable you to secure a direct supply
agreement with a specific renewable generator,
enabling you to demonstrate exactly where your
energy is coming from.
Another option is self-generation. Installing wind or
solar generation assets on site provides a direct source
of renewable power. Installing batteries on site to store
surplus electricity and provide back-up power can
further reduce your need for energy from the grid.
Migrating your company fleet to electric vehicles
would be a significant step towards decarbonisation.
Installing charge points on site, connected to
renewable power supplies, would make this switch a
fully sustainable solution.
It’s likely that reaching zero carbon status will
require a combination of all of these measures.
It’s essential to achieve the correct balance of
options for your organisation. FMs will need to work
closely with other departments to integrate e orts
throughout the business. Eliminating carbon needs
to be a prominent consideration in every decision
taken, whether it relates to energy, water and waste
management, or operational, logistical or commercial
For an organisation to remain truly sustainable,
management systems and processes will also need
to be reviewed continually to ensure they remain
e ective. It can be challenging for facilities managers
to juggle all of their existing responsibilities with the
need to fulfil zero carbon priorities. That’s why the
support of a specialist partner is essential, helping to
review your entire operations and devising a strategy
that works for you.