The importance of Net Zero for Schools

Simona Villa, Senior Consultant, Risk Consulting

Reducing emissions and achieving net zero is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

An increasing number of organisations have now realised the strategic role that net zero plays in addressing climate change, and are working to align their business plans and activities with a net zero path. They are engaging with their key stakeholders, understanding the nature and scale of their climate risks and setting stretching, yet achievable ambition targets. By considering the opportunities afforded by a lower carbon economy, organisations are also updating their products and services to be aligned with changing demands and their sustainable business ambition.

As for any other organisation, schools need to develop plans and implement activities to contribute to the fight against climate change. From their position at the centre of education and development of future generations, schools have a key role to play in driving the behavioural changes to ensure a sustainable future. The current and upcoming generations of parents buying or considering an independent education are far more closely aligned to this issue than previous generations. To remain appealing long term, schools need to be able to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

How to reach Net Zero

An increasing number of organisations are planning on taking action to achieve a more sustainable business. For a successful transition to net zero, organisations are working on a series of activities that can be summarised in the following building blocks. 

  1. Setting the organisation’s climate ambition. This activity will allow schools to understand the different potential net zero ambition levels and determine the aspiration and intensity of the activities required to achieve their net zero objectives.
  2. Collecting and aggregating a variety of data, and developing an emissions inventory. While for schools, most of the emissions will likely relate to the building facilities and their energy and gas consumption, it is likely that third party emissions will provide a challenge but also an opportunity to influence key suppliers. 
  3. Setting emission reduction targets. The objective of this step is to determine the high-level and specific targets for each of the emission components identified in the previous phase. Ideally, targets should reflect short-term and long-term objectives and should align with the net zero ambition that has been set.
  4. Establishing an action plan to enable the organisation to achieve the required emission reductions, the management of ongoing internal and external communications, and regular disclosures.
  5. Identifying and implementing required changes to the existing organisational operating model to ensure the net zero processes, learnings and knowledge can be fully integrated into business as usual.

How Crowe can help

In the current context, where keeping pace with the climate transformation is becoming increasingly difficult and requires complex choices, Crowe helps organisations to translate climate issues into opportunities, enabling them to determine the best approach and plan to address their climate ambition and add value to their business. Through our practical and experienced team, Crowe can offer a combination of multiple skillsets, to provide an end-to-end solution that supports the development of a sustainable future.

Contact us

Justin Elks
Justin Elks
Head of Risk Consulting