Five Minutes with 5D Net Zero CEO, Mark Lebus

What’s your role at 5D Net Zero and how’s it going?

5D Net Zero is a carbon management consultancy aimed at helping SMEs on every step of their journey to net zero by delivering tailored carbon footprint calculations, carbon reduction plans and certified carbon credits to offset residual emissions.

As CEO my role is to create the business strategy and build a successful business. Our consultancy business has been going for more than three years and 2022 has seen an exponential lift in enquiries and customers. We put this down to general awareness of global responsibilities and although it is still a voluntary market, the desire to reach net zero is flowing down from the largest corporates to the smallest suppliers.

How are you helping companies like Meon to work towards the Corporate Net Zero Standard?

There are five main steps to net zero for any business:

Discuss – the objectives and timelines

Decode – the emissions data and carbon footprint baseline

Design – the carbon reduction plan

Deliver – carbon savings and eventually carbon credit offsets

Do-again – repeat annually

Delivering credible and transparent carbon measurement is an essential part of our model, as the market has many self-generated schemes for declaring carbon footprint.

We use the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, which provides requirements and guidance in preparing corporate-level GHG emissions inventory. The GHG Protocol provides an authenticated methodology, allowing businesses to use their data when tendering for public contracts.

Meon has a scheme for customers to offset their travel carbon but asked for our help to deliver net zero through responsible carbon management and demonstrate best practice. Our work has focused on Scope 1 and 2, helping Meon to become carbon neutral in 2022. Scope 1 and 2 covers all the emissions you can control; Scope 3 is the stuff you can’t. The plan for net zero will include Scope 3 (Meon’s supply chain), so a timetable will be developed to achieve this by 2027. We will then work with Meon to continue to reduce its footprint as it grows and offset any residual carbon.

To ensure carbon credit offsets are authenticated, we are registered with Verra, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Programme, one of the world’s leading voluntary carbon markets programmes. Verra sets world-leading standards for climate action and sustainable development and provides UNFCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) sustainable development goals for each project.

How realistic is net zero by 2050?

It should be very achievable but will depend on the detail in each case. A service business with a single office may find this relatively straightforward, whereas a business with a complicated supply chain (especially with imported goods and services) has more challenges. The critical message is to start now – this allows change gradually and significantly reduces the risks of missing the 2050 deadline and large costs associated with last-minute changes.

What steps can travellers take to reduce their impact on the environment?

  • Decide if travel is essential – plan ahead
  • Take fewer flights, go overland or even stay at home
  • Don’t fly first class
  • Offset your carbon
  • Avoid plastic
  • Use public transport, walk or cycle
  • Choose eco-friendly activities and tour operators

Do you have any travel tips?

Leisure travel is a personal choice, which gives us a chance to make the optimal decision for our carbon footprint; however, business travel is more often a necessity. In many cases, the only option is flying to an essential meeting or to transport perishable goods. In all cases, there are opportunities for either better travel choices or as a last resort, carbon credit offset.

I enjoy travelling overseas with my family but will always look to offset where I cannot reduce our carbon footprint. It is also important when you offset your residual carbon you invest in what is important to you, for example, renewable energy, forest creation, or plastic waste projects.

What’s next for you and 5D Net Zero?

We’re growing quickly and the opportunities to work with SMEs across all sectors is highly engaging – we’re hopefully helping to change behaviour.

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