Sustainability for SMBs: What is carbon emissions measurement?

Every journey begins with a first step. Transforming your business into a sustainability superstar starts with carbon emissions measurement. Here’s how WolfPeak can help.

The battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change is well and truly on – and Australian businesses are rolling into action. More than half of the nation’s top 80 carbon-emitting ASX200 companies are on their way to achieving net-zero or carbon-neutral commitments. 

However, it’s not just the big end of town that needs to get on board. Australia’s 2.4 million small and medium businesses (SMBs) are responsible for 40% of our national carbon emissions. That’s about 146.5 million tonnes – or the equivalent of around 15 million cars.

So Australia’s hard-working SMBs are a key weapon in our fight against climate change. But addressing your carbon emissions can feel overwhelming when you’re busy balancing the heavy day-to-day demands of your operations. That’s where WolfPeak can help.  

Why sustainability is a win-win

Elly Pattison, Senior Sustainability Consultant at WolfPeak says SMBs shouldn’t expect to slash their carbon footprint overnight. Rather, it’s about getting on a sustainability journey that can start small and evolve over time. 

“The first step in that journey is to measure your carbon emissions,” Elly explains. “This gives you a baseline you can use to understand where your greenhouse gas emissions are coming from. After all, you can reduce what you’re not measuring.”

WolfPeak helps businesses of all sizes get on their sustainability journey with expert carbon emissions measurement. In addition to doing your part for the planet, Elly says understanding your organisation’s carbon footprint comes with some key benefits.

“Consumers are really taking notice of the environmental performance of the businesses they support. Getting active about your greenhouse gas emissions can provide a point of brand differentiation that appeals to the growing number of eco-conscious consumers.”

But it doesn’t stop at your customers. Attracting and retaining talent can be easier for companies that have a good environmental track record.

“I think most of us want to work for employers who are doing their part for the environment,” Elly says. “I know that for many of the clients we work for, it’s their employees who are really pushing for emission reduction.   

“Carbon emissions measurement is also important if you’re considering B Corp certification, and reducing your emissions can also come with cost savings – so it really is a win-win.” 

Starting your sustainability journey

Carbon emissions measurement will identify your largest greenhouse gas emission sources, and set the baseline you need to inform an emissions reduction strategy. Elly says WolfPeak follows an international carbon accounting standard and will request a range of different data points across your operations in order to calculate your business’s carbon emissions.

“We’ll ask for things like your electricity bills and fuel receipts, but for us it’s really about working with what you can provide,” she explains. “We know it can feel really overwhelming to be asked to provide all these data points that we want to include in our calculations, but it’s our job to make that process easier.” 

For many companies, the first carbon emissions calculation might simply be used as a learning experience. It’s about developing an understanding of the data you need to track, and evolving the accuracy of your emissions calculations over time. 

“Carbon measurement shouldn’t be a one-off activity,” Elly says. “For the first year, we can take the data you have, and make some estimations. We can recommend what you need to be tracking and how to track it, so your second year’s measurement will be more accurate. 

“Most SMBs evolve their carbon measurement over time. Sustainability is a process, and we want to make sure you don’t feel like data collection is a barrier to getting your journey started.”

The path to sustainability success

It’s important to understand the difference between carbon measurement and an emissions reduction strategy. Carbon emissions measurement is how you identify your emissions sources in the first instance, and how you monitor or track the impact of your emissions reduction strategy.

“An emissions reduction strategy tends to be a longer-term plan, whereas we’d recommend you conduct a carbon emissions measurement process once a year,” Elly explains. “For example, as part of the measurement process, we can provide a customised emissions report that’s broken down by emissions per activity, per employee, per project, or per product.

“From that point, the client might choose to take the next step in their sustainability journey, which might involve asking us to provide reduction recommendations, set reduction targets and work on an emissions reduction strategy. But it all starts with that initial carbon emission measurement calculation.” 


Want to put your business on the path to sustainability? Get in touch to find out how WolfPeak can help you take the first step with carbon emissions measurement. 

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