Walking the walk – Utilligence’s own net zero journey

Dec 20, 2022Environment, News, Smart Energy

Future renewables

We’re invested in future renewables through carbon credits

Utilligence are trusted experts at working with our customers on the design, construction and maintenance of renewable energy technology and facilities. We’re committed to helping them on a journey to net zero, and passionately believe in the importance of the reduction of carbon emissions for the benefit of the environment.

But it’s easy to talk the talk. What’s more complex is ensuring that we, as a business, have our own processes in place that ensure that we run Utilligence in a way that accurately reflects our green credentials. Like many other businesses, we’ve been on our own journey to ensure that we practice what we preach and run our company in a way that respects the environment.

Utilligence’s support and data analyst, Cory Marks, was tasked with finding the best solution to ensure we don’t just talk about net zero, we embody it. After carefully considering the options available to us, we have opted to ensure we offset the carbon we produce.

Carbon credits

Utilligence has chosen to offset our carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits. Those credits are used to fund international projects which focus on the removal or reduction of carbon emissions, such as waste disposal, renewable facility construction and the planting of trees. Our carbon credits are a way for us to invest in the reduction of carbon in the environment. Offset projects like these are accredited through independent bodies such as The Gold Standard for Climate Security and Sustainable Development, who have a framework in place to review and calculate the benefits created by these projects.

Through our offsetting partner, Advantage Utilities in April 2022 we purchased 100 carbon credits, to offset 100 tonnes of carbon. This is akin to planting and growing over 50,000 trees. We are also working with them to track our carbon emission levels and join the Future Net Zero Standard.

Who are Advantage Utilities?

Utilligence chose to work with Advantage Utilities, an energy consultancy who are experts in their field, with a team of over 40 staff working in energy trading, legislation, financing and technology. Partnering with them has helped us to understand and control our energy usage, as well as giving us access to software that tracks and accounts for the carbon that we produce. The company acts as a broker for businesses to be able to purchase carbon credits in the volumes that they need.

They advised us to invest in carbon credits, rather than the more commonly chosen route of planting trees, because the impact is more immediate. While we have to wait years for trees to grow to their full potential to remove the carbon we have produced, carbon credits go towards active and mature projects that are already reducing the carbon levels around the globe.

Together, we are working towards our goal of offsetting the carbon produced by Utilligence in our daily operations. Our aim is to become carbon neutral and have the certification that demonstrates our efforts.

The Future Net Zero Standard

In June 2019, the British parliament passed a legislation requiring the government to reduce the UK’s emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. To help Utilligence to attain those goals, through Advantage Utilities, we became part of the Future Net Zero Standard programme.

This programme requires us to track our carbon emissions and follow a set of standards to benchmark our carbon reduction efforts. For every milestone step towards net zero that we take, we are awarded an accreditation which demonstrates how much we have reduced our carbon emissions when compared to our benchmark year of 2021. As 2022 draws to a close, we’re excited to see what we’ve achieved.

Carbon accounting systems

Utilligence uses carbon accounting software to keep a record of our scope one and two emissions. Scope one emissions are direct emissions, such as emissions from company-owned vehicles, boilers, and manufacturing processes. These emissions are directly released into the atmosphere by the organisation and are not caused by the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, or other forms of energy.

Scope two carbon emissions refer to indirect greenhouse gas emissions that result from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling by an organisation. These emissions are the responsibility of the organisation, because it has control over its energy consumption.

For example, if a company operates a manufacturing facility and purchases electricity from a power plant that burns fossil fuels, the emissions from the power plant would be considered scope two emissions for the company. These emissions are not directly emitted by the company itself, but are caused by the company’s consumption of electricity.

Scope two emissions are typically lower than scope one emissions. However, scope two emissions can still be significant, especially for large organisations that consume a lot of energy. Reducing scope two emissions is an important part of efforts to mitigate climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy.

But we’re not stopping there. As our tracking metrics improve and we go further on this journey, we’ll also be able to track more scope three and four emissions, such as those that come from shipping, delivery and production. These are often harder to track, as they require data collection from the third parties that we work with, but we’re committed to putting these steps in place.

Net Zero by 2050

Doing what we do, we can’t just help others on their journeys to net zero. We have to be part of the solution ourselves. To properly represent our ideals, we need to be able to uphold them in our process of operations as a business.

Carbon offsetting through purchasing carbon credits is a valuable tool for organisations that are looking to mitigate their carbon emissions and combat climate change by taking personal responsibility. Carbon credits can be a good way to offset emissions by purchasing credits from low-carbon projects. By purchasing offsets, organisations can financially support projects that remove or reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as renewable energy projects, reforestation efforts and methane capture projects.

While carbon credits aren’t a perfect solution, they can play a role in helping to reduce overall carbon emissions to move us collectively to a more sustainable future. However, it’s no substitute for reducing our own individual carbon footprints and adopting more sustainable practices in both our personal and professional lives. Instead, it should be in conjunction that these efforts to reduce personal and organisational emissions can have the greatest impact on combating climate change.

2023 update:

We are pleased to say that in 2022, Utilligence achieved a 25.8% reduction in our own carbon emissions and have been awarded the Silver badge by the Future Net Zero Standard! That’s the equivalent of two cars off the road each year. We aim to become Gold standard in the very near future.

Utilligence Carbon Credits 2022 award