Explained byBCG

Put the decarbonization roadmap into practice

How to implement your emissions reduction plan

A decarbonization roadmap is an essential manual that can help guide your company’s progress towards Net Zero. A roadmap needs to be bespoke to your company but here are some of the elements worth considering and addressing in developing an effective roadmap.

1. Sequencing your initiatives:

  • Begin with a focus on reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions. This helps build momentum from decarbonization solutions where you have more control, while also giving you credibility and license to require actions of others

  • Next, proceed with Scope 3 emissions categories that have near- to medium-term potential for decarbonization. Scope 3 should be tackled as soon as possible and not postponed indefinitely

  • Prioritize the most cost-effective and easy-to-implement abatement levers, across Scopes 1-3. MACCs and other considerations described earlier in this step can help here

  • Lastly, target Scope 1-3 levers that are more challenging to implement, for a variety of reasons

2. Identifying budget needs:

  • Detail initiatives with in-depth business cases; include capex and opex needs, expected savings, revenue upsides, uncertainties, and risks

  • Outline required human resources across the organization, ideally with options for filling needs from within the organization or via service providers, which may be easier to action than relying on new hires

3. Outlining key roles and responsibilities:

  • Assign owners for addressing emissions reductions. These should be owners across the organization, not just in the sustainability team

  • Set timelines and milestones, and require owners to periodically report on progress

  • Surface issues to leadership for resolution

4. Activating your organization:

  • Create an in-depth implementation plan for each initiative

  • Develop multi-year budgets and strategic plans

  • Tap into the energy and enthusiasm already present across the organization

  • Leverage champions – individuals, teams or business units – to lead the charge and demonstrate the path ahead for others

  • Invest in organization-wide enablers – more on this critically important need in Step 4

5. Implementing quick wins and pilots:

  • Identify and implement the most cost-effective levers as quick-wins, especially savings-generating levers, when applicable

  • Aim to redeploy savings generated into future climate/sustainability projects

  • Pilot initiatives with uncertain feasibility or benefits, with a mentality of “test often and fail fast,” to collect feedback, iron out kinks, isolate challenges, and identify key success factors which can help develop successful programs

6. Scale actions, assess performance, and revisit roadmap:

  • Aim to scale actions, building on pilots as rapidly as possible

  • Take stock periodically, e.g., every quarter ideally, and certainly every year, to assess performance against goals

  • Review and refine your decarbonization roadmap as needed (e.g., every two years), to accelerate progress where needed, or pivot away from solutions that are proving too challenging