Translating Carbon Reduction Goals into Deliverables for Business with Steam Systems




The climate crisis is one of, if not the biggest, challenges facing humanity. From increasingly extreme weather events to loss of biodiversity and rising sea levels, it has huge implications for global social, economic, and environmental systems. 

With time running out and scientists issuing final warnings, the fight against climate change has gained a lot of momentum across the globe. The push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our collective carbon footprint impacts nearly all aspects of our lives. 

But with growing pressure from governments to hit net zero by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5°C, businesses shoulder a lot of the responsibility. One of the most significant ways businesses can combat climate change is by reducing carbon emissions across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions:

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from owned or controlled resources

  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy

  • Scope 3: Indirect emissions not covered in Scope 2.

But reducing carbon emissions isn’t easy — especially for companies that use industrial steam systems. The good news is that it’s possible to significantly reduce your carbon footprint and save money and energy at the same time. One of the best ways to do this is to set ambitious (but achievable) carbon reduction goals and translate them into operational deliverables. 

At Spirax Sarco, we specialise in helping businesses to optimise their steam systems. Through optimisations and upgrades, we’ve helped countless businesses:

This guide has everything you need to know about carbon reduction goals and your journey to net zero. It has everything from the reasons they’re essential to converting goals into deliverables. 

Ready to reduce your carbon footprint? 

The Need for Carbon Reduction Targets

Scientists worldwide have voiced a clear and urgent consensus that we need to make drastic changes to reduce the effects of climate change. Climate change is a substantial threat to our planet, and overwhelming evidence shows that it’s caused primarily by us. Without any action on our part, we’re likely to see significant changes in the world around us: 

  • More frequent and severe heat waves disrupting ecosystems and agriculture

  • Extensive flooding of coastal cities and displacement of millions due to rising sea levels

  • Collapse of coral reefs due to ocean acidification

  • More intense and frequent extreme weather events

  • The extinction of species that are unable to adapt 

  • A rise in infectious diseases, malnutrition and mental health issues.

As individuals, we can all do our bit to reduce carbon emissions and the effects of global warming. But businesses, as key contributors to carbon emissions, have a crucial role to play, and that’s where carbon reduction goals come in. 

Establishing carbon reduction targets is a practical step that businesses can take to contribute to the climate effort. Your targets serve as clear and quantifiable goals that can guide and motivate your company’s eco-initiatives. But they also help you to monitor progress and demonstrate your commitment to environmental responsibility. 

But setting targets is just the first step. 

To effectively reduce carbon emissions, you first need to understand where they come from and work out how to improve them. This is particularly true for businesses that rely on steam systems that can be a significant source of carbon emissions. 

The good news is that steam can be clean. In the following sections, we’ll explore how you can:

  • Understand and set carbon reduction goals.

  • Identify key areas for carbon reduction.

  • Translate goals into actionable deliverables for your team. 

Understanding Carbon Reduction Goals

Governments around the world are acknowledging the importance of reducing carbon emissions. This has resulted in the creation of new regulations and targets for carbon reduction. On local, national and international levels, new policies are being implemented to try and reduce the effects of global warming. 

The UK Government was the first major economy to pass net zero emissions laws. The new law requires the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This new law has seen the ban on petrol and diesel vehicle sales beyond 2030 but has also brought in industry-specific goals and benchmarks. 

However, these goals won’t be completed overnight. The journey to carbon neutrality is a marathon, not a sprint. Balancing the need to make changes, the external pressures and your company’s capabilities is crucial. 

Setting Realistic Carbon Reduction Goals

Setting realistic and achievable targets that take into account the size of your company, your sector, and your resources is key to a sustainable carbon reduction strategy. The most effective strategies focus on gradual, sustainable changes rather than dramatic, unsustainable shifts. 

Carbon reduction goals vary drastically depending on the size and sector of a business. But many businesses are using science-based targets. These reduction targets align with the Paris Agreement’s goals to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. These targets are usually split into absolute targets and intensity targets:

  • Absolute targets — A company may aim to reduce its carbon emissions by a certain amount over a specified period.

  • Intensity targets — A company might aim to reduce the ratio of carbon emissions to another business, usually financial metrics, such as sales or production. 

Before you can set any targets, you need to understand your emissions. You can do this by conducting a carbon footprint analysis to analyse where your emissions come from. This will include Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions

Once you have the results from your analysis, you can establish a baseline for your emissions. Your emissions baseline will be the level which you measure your progress against. 

Next, you’ll need to identify opportunities to reduce your emissions which we’ll discuss in the next section. With your baseline emissions and opportunities identified, you can move on to setting your reduction targets. 

For example: 

  • Your absolute target may be: You commit to reducing your carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

  • Your intensity target may be:  You set a goal to reduce its emissions per unit of product by 30% over five years.

Identifying Key Areas in Steam Systems for Carbon Reduction

When setting goals for carbon reduction, it’s crucial to identify key areas for potential improvements. In the context of steam systems, several key areas can drastically reduce your carbon emissions quickly: 

Energy Efficiency Improvements

One of the best ways to reduce the carbon emissions from your steam system is to reduce the energy required to run it. This can often be achieved through better insulation, regular maintenance and improved heat recovery. 

Fuel Switching and Alternative Energy Sources

Reliance on fossil fuels is the biggest driver of climate change. Changing to cleaner fuels can significantly reduce the carbon emissions from your steam systems. Integrating renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power, can reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and lower your carbon footprint significantly. 

Steam System Optimisation

Inefficient systems lead to a lot of energy wastage. You can make your whole system more efficient by improving steam trap management, automating controls, improving condensate recovery and implementing other measures.

Steam has the potential to be a natural, clean technology when appropriately managed. But achieving carbon reduction goals go beyond these key areas. 

Translating Goals into Deliverables for Your Team

Once you’ve established your carbon reduction goals, the next step is to translate them into deliverables for your team. Reducing your company’s carbon emissions will be a team effort, and you’ll need to include people at all levels to make effective change. There are several ways to do this: 

  1. Develop a carbon reduction roadmap — This roadmap should outline the steps you’ll take to meet your carbon reduction goals. It will provide you with a clear path forward and help everyone stay on track.

  2. Create team-specific goals — Different teams within your company will have different roles to play in reducing carbon emissions. By setting team-specific goals, you can ensure everyone knows what they need to do and how they’re helping hit your overall target.

  3. Encourage collaboration — Climate change affects us all, and we’re in it together. Foster an environment where everyone feels they can make a difference and contribute to reducing carbon emissions. You can do this with regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions and collaborative projects.

  4. Monitoring and reporting progress — Set up a system for tracking your progress towards your goals. Doing this can help you to maintain your momentum. It’s also important to share this information with your team and stakeholders, as it keeps everyone informed and motivated to achieve your goals. 

  1. Adapt and scale — As you progress towards your goals, look for new ways to improve and innovate. If you have a strategy that works well in one area, test it to see if it will work in other areas. 

 Hit Your Net Zero Targets with Spirax Sarco

The path to net zero is not a straightforward one, but the rewards will be worth it. Beyond helping to reduce the effects of global warming, companies that hit their goals also reap the benefits of a boost in corporate reputation, cost savings and customer goodwill. 

Translating these high-level goals into practical, achievable team deliverables can be a complex process. But you don't have to navigate this process alone. Our Advance consulting service is designed to help you hit your carbon reduction goals and work towards a healthier planet. 

Our Advance Consulting is split into six stages that identify optimisation and upgrade opportunities to make your steam system cleaner and green. 

Learn more about our Advance Consulting Service and start your journey to hitting your carbon reduction goals today. If you have any questions, please reach out to us, and we’ll be more than happy to help.