top of page

How to write an emissions reduction plan


Once you have completed your first greenhouse gas inventory, you will have a clear picture of your organisational carbon footprint. The next step is to consider how you can reduce your emissions, which necessitates creating an emissions reduction plan.

In this guide, we will run you through the steps involved in that process, while showing you examples of what a best-practice emissions reduction plan should include.

Before we jump into the specific elements, it's worth taking stock of where you are on your Carbon Journey.

Step 1. Understand where you are on the Carbon Journey

Our team at CarbonEES® have developed a Carbon Journey model to provide organisations with a high-level understanding of where they are on their journey to Net Zero and as a framework to assess where to focus your effort at each stage.

Understanding your Carbon Journey:

·         Improves your sustainability and carbon management.

·         Demonstrates a clear and incremental strategy for improvement.

·         Ensures compliance to best practice decision making.

·         Improves resource allocation and helps to drive down costs.

·         Provides a guide for communication and publicity opportunities.

CarbonEES Carbon Journey framework
Figure 1. The Carbon Journey

Note: CarbonEES® can assist you through each stage of the Carbon Journey, usually beginning with the implementation of our industry leading energy efficiency and carbon management software, e-Bench®. 

After reviewing the Carbon Journey framework, you may find you need to spend more time developing your climate policy or allocating resources before jumping into the Climate Action Planning (Emissions reduction plan) stage. However, if you are ready to forge ahead, here are the next steps:

Step 2. Setting emissions reduction targets

To build a plan, you need to know where you are going. Once you have your reduction targets set, you can chart a course to get there. It's important that organisational targets are in line with the 1.5°C target set by the Paris Agreement for the sake of validity, and against the guidelines of the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). This can be calculated by using an absolute contractions approach and/or by using an emissions intensity (e.g., tonnes of CO2e per FTE).

The SBTi’s target-setting process involves calculating a near-term target against your organisations category 1 and 2 emissions, and the option to calculate an emissions reduction target against your category 3 and 4 emissions.

So, in other words, you need to know your emissions before you can set reduction targets. If you need help preparing a greenhouse gas inventory to understand where your emissions are coming from, get in touch with our team today.

Note: The cost of validating an emissions reduction target with the SBTi is $1,250 USD, and requires the following steps:

·         An eligibility check.

·         Completing the SE target setting form.

·         Upload the fully completed Terms and Conditions (T&C) file.

·         Due Diligence and SBTi Target Approval.

After calculating an emissions reduction target, your organisation will be able to measure its progress against these targets as you measure your GHG emissions moving forward.

Figures 2 to 4 show an example of emissions-to-date against an emissions reduction target, to demonstrate what this may look like...

Figure 2: Example emissions reduction target for ESR's category 1 & 2 emissions, against a 1.5°C scenario.
Figure 2: Example emissions reduction target for category 1 & 2 emissions, against a 1.5°C scenario.
Figure 3: Example emissions reduction target for category 3 & 4 emissions, against a WB2°C scenario.
Figure 3: Example emissions reduction target for category 3 & 4 emissions, against a WB2°C scenario.
Figure 4: Example emissions reduction target for overall emissions.
Figure 4: Example emissions reduction target for overall emissions.

Step 3. Identification of Emissions Reduction factors

The next step is to identify the most important factors that need to be considered when deciding between decarbonisation projects. These could include:

  • cost

  • timeframe

  • emissions reduction potential

  • wider sustainability benefits

  • amount of behavioural change required / ease of implementation

Then, it makes sense to weigh these variables against each other using multi-criterion decision making (MCDM) methodologies, to understand what matters most to your organisation when approaching decarbonisation. From there you can rate decarbonisation projects against these criteria, helping decide which projects to undertake, and in what order.

Step 4. Decarbonisation projects analysis

Now you are ready to analyse potential decarbonisation projects. We recommend taking the following steps in your analysis:

  • Identify decarbonisation projects that would help your organisation reduce emissions, ideally through a workshopping activity.

  • Decide on an internal carbon price for your organisation (e.g., $25 per tonne of CO2e).

  • Calculate the net present value (NPV) and emission savings of each decarbonisation project.

  • Place each decarbonisation project against a marginal abatement cost (MAC) curve, where the x-axis will describe the abatement potential (tonnes CO2e) and the y-axis will describe the abatement cost (per tonne of CO2e, with negative values indicating cost-savings).

  • Analyse each decarbonisation project using MCDM methodologies, to prioritise projects based on the factors identified in step 3.

  • Project emissions reductions year on year against the emissions reduction target and your organisation’s actual emissions.

This stage of the process will be the most time intensive and will require collaboration within your organisation.

Figure 5 shows an example MAC curve, while figure 6 shows an example of emissions to date against an emissions reduction target and a projected emissions reduction curve, to demonstrate the kind of analysis that can help your organisation make informed decisions.

Figure 5: Example Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curve for 6 decarbonisation strategies.
Figure 5: Example Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curve for 6 decarbonisation strategies.
Figure 6: Example projected emissions reduction curve.
Figure 6: Example projected emissions reduction curve.

Step 5. Write your emissions reduction plan

You are now ready to produce an emissions reduction plan, based on the calculated emissions reduction targets and the analysis of different decarbonisation projects. This will allow your organisation to start incorporating emissions reduction efforts into their greater sustainability strategy, and to start budgeting for decarbonisation projects.


Would you like some help?

Our team are experts at creating emissions reduction plans. We can guide you through the process from start to finish, undertake calculations to produce the charts shown above and help you prepare a plan that is specific to your organisation.

The next step is to book a chat with our team to scope out your requirements. From there, we'll put a proposal together for you to review.


Featured Posts
SnippETS Newsletter

Your information is 100% secure with us and will not be shared with any third parties. Click here to read our privacy policy.

bottom of page
Powered by Trust.Reviews