Achieving Net Zero emissions can be a Win for All, but this might not be obvious to all stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to set targets and join networks that share your commitment to energy & sustainability performance improvement so that it becomes a part of your organization’s identity and business processes. In this article, you will learn about eight ways in which your organization can earn recognition for your commitment to Net Zero emissions, better energy performance and the hard work your organization is doing.

There are two critical steps.

Commit to Net Zero

If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” 

Steve Maraboli

Life, the Truth and Being Free

The first step to take towards reaching Net Zero emissions is to formally commit to reaching that target.  A Net Zero Pledge involves your organization understanding the emissions reduction pathway required to progress towards Net Zero so interim targets and reviews can be integrated into business decision-making on an ongoing basis.  This pledge signals to stakeholders, business partners, industry peers, customers and communities that the organization is serious about reaching the climate goals set out by the landmark Paris Agreement.

See Ways 1 to 5.

Act for Net Zero

As important as Net Zero pledges are for setting strategic priorities, there is real work that must be done in the day-to-day, medium- and long-term to reduce energy consumption and lower emissions to deliver the target.  This is where BigGreenAcademy can really add value to people and organizations.  There are also key complementary programs and initiatives which can help you frame and showcase your efforts. 

Support work often involves helping you set out a plan, support your training needs and help you provide the necessary evidence to meet criteria for recognition.

ISO 50001, Energy Conscious Organisation (EnCO) and EP100 are three ways (6 to 8) to achieve external recognition for effective action.

1) Pledge in the Race to Zero

On World Environment Day 2020, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launched the Race to Zero campaign to create a collation of the various initiatives and networks that support Net Zero commitments.  The strategic objective of Race to Zero is to send a resounding signal to COP26 and national governments that businesses and other non-state actors are united in achieving Net Zero emissions no later than 2050.

We are in a race to zero - we urge businesses to stand up and be counted by setting truly ambitious science-based net zero targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions... Companies can either help to drive this transition and be masters of their own fates or be reactionary and behind the curve.

Nigel Topping

High Level Champion for Climate Action

While that is important background information, the Race to Zero Campaign is a valuable resource for those of us working in organizations seeking to improve energy & sustainability performance.  Race to Zero Partners are initiatives and networks whose Net Zero target-setting processes have been vetted to be science-based and credible.  In other words, if you haven't yet made a Net Zero pledge, you can check out the Race to Zero Partners to see how these pledging schemes can help your organization set a legitimate Net Zero target. 

You can choose a Partner framework which best aligns to your organization’s industry, specialty, size, and/or location.   The list of Race to Zero Partners is available here

Some of these partners are highlighted below.

2) Set a Science Based Target

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is part of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C.  It is currently the standard bearer for large organization target setting.  From 2015 to 2019, the companies with SBTs collectively reduced their annual emissions by 25% - with the typical company achieving a 6.4% year-on-year reduction.  Working with SBTi to set your Net Zero target links your organization to those already making progress and associates you with a globally recognized brand.

3) The Climate Pledge

For the more ambitious large organizations, The Climate Pledge is the network of organizations that have set their sights on Net Zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than required by SBTi.  As more and more organizations commit to Net Zero by 2050, signing on to The Climate Pledge distinguishes the most ambitious organizations from the majority. 

4) SME Climate Hub

The SME Climate Hub has a process more appropriate to the needs and priorities of small and medium sized organizations (SMEs). Many SMEs may be in a position to be more ambitious than larger, multinational corporations, so the SME Climate Hub also recognizes Net Zero ambitions by 2030 or by 2040 if organizations want to signal their commitment to reach the target sooner than 2050.

5) Future Net Zero Standard

Also for SMEs and ‘micro’ businesses, the Future Net Zero Standard has a strong emphasis on benchmarking and monitoring emissions. This program is worth considering particularly if having a digital dashboard for monitoring and sharing within your organization as well as for reporting externally is important to your organization.

Ways 1 to 5 are a few highlighted programs that an organization can work with to make their Net Zero pledge official, but make sure to consult the full list of Race to Zero Partners to ensure your organization chooses the method best-suited for your goals and individual needs.

Ways 6 to 8 below highlight how to achieve external recognition for effective action.

6) ISO 50001

Certification to the international standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMS), ISO 50001, shows that your organization is committed to and can demonstrate successful continual improvement.  It is essential that this involves your top management, your energy management team and all members of your organization. 

Our approaches and energy proficiency training courses are based on the continual improvement philosophy and are aligned to achieving ISO 50001 certification. We encourage organizations to use the ISO 50001 standard to assure continual improvement, in the most streamlined way possible.

Choosing to certify, either through self-declaration or external certifiers, sends a clear signal that your organization is fully committed to energy performance improvement, is taking concrete steps to reduce emissions and is resilient to future energy price risks.

7) Energy Conscious Organisation

Energy Conscious Organisation (EnCO) initiative centers on standards for both organizations and practitioners, which demonstrate energy management approaches that actively and successfully involve the organization’s people. EnCOs are organizations which are more sustainable, cost effective and collaborative. 

Earning recognition as an EnCO Registered Organisation shows that your organization has employed behavior change principles to make significant improvements across the five pillars of successful action: Engagement, Alertness, Skills, Recognition and Adaption

Our approaches align with those of EnCO. We encourage organizations to consider obtaining this recognition as a way to demonstrate that their approaches are mature, sustainable and most cost effective.

8) EP100

EP100 is a network of the world's energy-smart companies committed to improving their energy productivity through efficient technologies, operational practices and employee behavior. These companies directly link energy savings to increased profitability as well as lower emissions.  EP100 is organized by The Climate Group who also champion the RE100 and EV100 initiatives for organizations committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy and 100% electric vehicle fleets, respectively. 

Membership to EP100 shows that your organization is at the forefront of business action to lower emissions while improving overall business performance. By focusing on energy productivity, your organization is looking to delivering more out of each unit of input, thereby strengthening your financial position and standing out among your competitors.

Our approaches align with that of EP100 in seeing improved energy & sustainability performance that makes ‘Clear Business Sense.’ We encourage organizations to consider joining this network as a way to demonstrate that your approach to energy savings leads to better business performance and increased profitability.


This article highlights opportunities to for world-leading organizations to earn recognition for their Net Zero pledges and their action programs delivering better energy performance.

It’s up to you and your organization to take action.

If it is helpful, BigGreenAcademy can support you in choosing which programs are most appropriate for your organization and then help your journey to success as and when you need extra support.

See Wins for All to learn more about how your organization can benefit from fulling engaging your people and processes and meet the required criteria for success.   

Let us and others know in the comments section below if you have any questions or points of discussion on this topic or if you have experience with any of these programs we would all love to hear your thoughts!

Written by Michael O'Neill


Smart Saver

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