Taking Climate Action to the City
From office operations to client engagement, how one Finance B Corp hopes to reach Net Zero emissions by 2030.
We’ve been catching up with some of our UK B Corps that have made a commitment to going Net Zero by 2030 to find out how they’re progressing. Here is what Katie Woodhouse, a Data Analyst at WHEB had to say.
“WHEB is a positive impact investor focused on the opportunities created by the transition to a low carbon and sustainable global economy.
One of the key actions for our industry is to reduce our portfolio emissions by actively engaging with the majority of portfolio companies in order to influence them to commit to a carbon emission target, and meet these commitments. By persuading companies to set emissions reduction targets that would not otherwise have been set, we can reduce the absolute emissions from that particular company and contribute to decreasing global emissions. In 2022, WHEB will continue to invest in those companies that are solving environmental issues. We will engage with any company that we feel is not prioritising emission reduction and if unsuccessful, we will divest.
Similarly to engagement with our portfolio companies, we also engage directly with our suppliers. Supplier emissions are one of the largest contributors to our scope 3 emissions and so if we can persuade those companies who have not yet committed to a carbon reduction target to do so, we can help contribute towards the global decrease in emissions. Within WHEB, we hold monthly meetings to discuss progress with suppliers and to keep monitoring their own projects and give recommendations as needed.
It has been very inspiring to see the progress made by a number of our portfolio companies and suppliers. In some cases, when engaging with both groups, we were surprised with how advanced they already were with their own net zero carbon projects, and we were able to learn from them. Where companies and suppliers are at the beginning of their Net Zero journey, it has been encouraging to see them prioritise the project and welcome the advice and support given to them.
We recognise the need to practice what we preach internally and do so by implementing key policies to reduce Scope 1, 2 and material scope 3 emissions within our own operations. These policies also carefully consider the potential impacts of carbon reduction solutions for our employees. For example, we reward employees with extra days of annual leave when they utilise lower carbon practices. In practice this means that if an employee travels on holiday during annual leave but they use rail transport as opposed to air transportation, then they can claim back the extra time it takes them to travel to their destination in extra annual leave (which is capped at 2 days per year). By encouraging employees to act more sustainably outside of work we can help to reduce their personal carbon footprint.
Whilst we aim to reduce our business travel by 10% per year, unfortunately some travel is necessary. Where possible this is done via rail, however, occasionally air travel is required. These emissions that we are unable to reduce to zero are offset through Gold Standard offset programs (currently fellow B Corp ClimateCare). This will also extend to residual supplier emissions and emissions generated from waste in order to meet our 2025 net zero commitment. We constantly assess the carbon offsetting options available to use and strive to use the highest quality projects. We understand that there is controversy surrounding carbon offsets and green washing. Until we are able to reduce our absolute emissions to zero we see the Gold Standard offset projects as the best option available to us currently.
If I were to offer one piece of advice to a business looking to reach Net Zero — B Corp or otherwise — it would be that collaboration is key! Everyone has to start somewhere and other companies will have faced the same issues when trying to measure emissions so be sure to ask for help. Similarly, those who have progressed further should make themselves available to offer advice and recommendations across industries.”