THE CARBON TRUST
Impact report 2023
"Reducing carbon emissions worldwide and mitigating climate change are at the core of what we do. We are driven by our mission to accelerate the move to decarbonised future. And it is this mission that permeates throughout our work and culture – whether we support the expansion of climate innovations or help organisations reduce their emissions.
Never has this mission been more urgent than it is today. The world’s carbon budget is running out — wildfires across the globe, prolonged droughts and increased floods reiterate the importance of environmental sustainability and living responsibly. We need to push the needle and focus our climate efforts where they can have the greatest results. Yet turning ambition into action is really hard.
At the Carbon Trust, we use our technical know-how, practical solutions and convening power to speed up climate action, scale solutions and measure progress. Through our work with clients and partners, we can make the biggest difference – and turn climate ambition into impact.
The aim of this report is to demonstrate what impact looks like in reality. It marks the progress we have made in the past year – including the impact of helping our partners progress in their climate action, the introduction of our impact assessment tools, the launch of our Net Zero Intelligence Unit and our very own validated Net Zero target.
From making carbon-conscious business choices to raising finance to strengthening policy, the climate crisis must be tackled from all angles. As we expand our reach, our focus continues to be on raising the bar, both for our partners and ourselves. In the meantime, we are proud to see what collaboration can achieve and hope this report inspires you."
Tom Delay CEO, the Carbon Trust
Who we are
To accelerate the move to a decarbonised future.
WHAT WE DO
We partner with businesses, governments and financial institutions to catalyse progress in climate action.
Climate pioneers for 20+ years.
Experts that advise on climate transition plans, science-based targets, energy transition, green finance, policies, innovation support, climate disclosures and communications.
Shareholders. We are financially independent and invest our profit back into enhancing the breadth and reach of our work.
Organisations supported to date. Together we identify practical solutions that transform industries and spur innovative thinking to make Net Zero a reality.
OUR GLOBAL REACH
We marry local insights with global expertise to deliver value. We are proud to have a foothold in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and China with dedicated climate, financial and policy experts on the ground. This has allowed us to support organisations, governments and programmes in over 70 countries.
Our offices are in Mexico, the UK, the Netherlands, South Africa, Singapore and China. But our climate work and impact reach beyond these borders.
"Comprehending the climate discourse and understanding the motivations and current state of climate action throughout Latin America is paramount. By having experts on the ground here in Mexico, we can help organisations directly and build the essential groundwork upon which the region can propel towards a decarbonised future."
Eva Escamilla Country Director, the Carbon Trust, Mexico
Our work and impact
HOW WE APPROACH IMPACT
Keeping 1.5C within reach requires climate innovation and fundamental cuts in global emissions. Like our clients and partners, we focus our efforts where we believe we can add the greatest value. In 2022, we officially rolled out our impact model. Built upon our mission, our impact model helps us drive impact through our work. We have refined this model in the past 12 months with two assessment tools to improve project selection and delivery.
“Our Mission Impact tools help us keep a clear focus on our mission delivery. Every year, the Carbon Trust experts produce hundreds of tool outputs to check our mission alignment and look for key themes, trends and learnings. This helps with our future organisational strategy and evolution.”
Timon Drakesmith Chief Financial Officer, the Carbon Trust
SUPPORTING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Tackling the climate crisis requires us to cut global emissions, make more sustainable choices, promote circularity and ensure the transition is inclusive.
It is a priority for us to support a just transition, which is why we assess how our work aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through our work and industry-wide partnerships and programmes, we can contribute to:
- Climate action
- Affordable and clean energy
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Responsible consumption and production
- Sustainable cities and communities
Some of our partnerships and industry-wide projects also bring further co-benefits through gender equality, decent jobs and economic growth, life on land and good health.
OUR IMPACT STORIES
Clients and partners leverage our experience and expertise to take impactful climate action. Whether we enable organisations to move forward in their Net Zero transition or help innovations go to market, here are some of our 2022/2023 impact stories.
IFC NET ZERO MINING ROADMAP
The mining industry must cut emissions by 90% by 2050 while increasing mineral production for green tech innovations like solar panels and electric vehicles. We partnered with IFC to show just how the Net Zero mine of the future is possible.
Food manufacturers need to adopt more sustainable practices to protect global food systems. We help Grupo Bimbo assess its climate action so the global bakery can rise to the Net Zero challenge.
INDUSTRIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACCELERATOR
How can governments help drive innovation? As industry makes up 15% of the UK's annual emissions, we helped the UK government design and deliver an accelerator programme that rolls out low carbon innovations into the hands of industry.
Sustainable water systems are pivotal for water to be moved and recycled at speed. Together with global water solutions provider Grundfos, we identified ways in which the manufacturer can take control of its Scope 3 emissions and plot its path to Net Zero.
COAL-TO-CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION
Coal plants must close at nearly five times the current rate to limit global warming. But how can we accelerate the move away from coal in an equitable way? We developed frameworks to help decision-makers plan for a just coal-to-clean energy transition.
EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Financial institutions can steer the shift to a low carbon economy. One such way is by investing in green technologies. We helped the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expand its directory to China, so it puts China's green tech solutions on the international financial stage.
Cross-collaboration is key to effective climate action. At the Carbon Trust, we are proud to work with a range of partners through the programmes and projects we support and the networks we are a part of. From governments to international financial institutions to philanthropic organisations to industry leaders, our goal is to promote climate innovation and inclusive climate action. Below are some examples of the organisations we collaborate with.
The Carbon Trust has partnered with 3,000+ businesses globally, supporting them on their Net Zero journey. From assessing risks and opportunities to target setting, here are some of the businesses we work with:
Our news and insights
NET ZERO INTELLIGENCE UNIT
Our first-hand, practical experiences gained over the past 20+ years have enabled us to identify the key steps required to make Net Zero a reality. To share our learnings and help accelerate global progress on achieving Net Zero, we launched the Net Zero Intelligence Unit, an impact-driven research team to power the Net Zero conversation.
OUR VOICE IN THE NEWS
While governments across the world launch green bonds for climate adaptation, more is needed. Our Head of Southeast Asia, Xinying Tok explained why coordination between Singapore's financial market players will be critical to remedy this issue in the city state.
An increase in climate action also means an increase in sustainability communications. To avoid greenwashing pitfalls, businesses should audit their environmental claims with the same rigour as their financial reporting.
Policymakers’ decisions can help to accelerate climate action. But they can also halt it. Following Vattenfall’s decision to suspend work on the Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farm, we highlighted the UK government’s role in overcoming barriers that impede the UK’s energy transition.
Environmental sustainability and economic development don’t have to be trade-offs. As countries invest in climate resilience, our expert, Reinhardt, highlighted how countries across Africa can leapfrog fossil fuels and jump straight to renewable energy.
The everyday consumer choices we make all come with a carbon cost. From plastic to potted Christmas trees, we broke down the carbon impact consumers should consider when purchasing the festive centre piece.
We support many industry-wide programmes to spur innovation. One example is the Clean Hydrogen Innovation Programme. We spoke about what is needed to speed up deployment of this fuel.
Fossil fuel-based packaging continues to inflame global emissions. Despite efforts to reduce plastic waste, our work with Minderoo showed that single-use plastic and associated emissions continue to rise.
During the 2022 heat wave across Europe, our clean cooling expert Paul Huggins demonstrated the role of heat pumps in cooling our homes.
Cities and regions
Carbon reductions are not only good for the climate, but they can also build resilience to rising fuel prices. We spoke to the BBC about why investments in energy efficiency must become part of councils' business-as-usual spending.
DRAWING UPON OUR EXPERTISE AND NETWORK
Two decades on from our early beginnings, we focus on sharing the expertise and practical learnings we have culminated. Here are some of our top insights from the past year.
Five things businesses need to know about the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) In 2023, the EU introduced new sustainability reporting rules to increase environmental, social and governance transparency. Our EU Policy Lead explained how the new CSRD regulations align with other reporting frameworks and how companies can commence reporting.
Circular economy and Net Zero: how can carbon footprinting reinvent the mobile phone market? Adding just one year onto the lifetime of all smartphones in the world could save the same volume of carbon emissions by 2030 as taking 4.7 million cars off the road. We made the case for a new approach to carbon footprinting to help the ICT industry embrace circularity.
Clearing the air on environmental claims As consumers become more conscious of their footprint, it is important to understand the environmental terms and claims that brands are making. We outlined what exactly consumers should be looking for.
Six policy pillars for designing and effective offshore wind market For many countries, deploying offshore wind will be critical in delivering Net Zero targets, supporting green growth and providing energy security. Our experts identified the six areas where policymakers should direct their attention.
Accelerating the Route to Net Zero: our global series Achieving Net Zero is about more than just doing what is required. It is about really pushing ahead and accelerating the Net Zero transition. That is why we hosted free webinars on accelerating the route to Net Zero. How does digitalisation support the green transition, and how can businesses integrate a just transition to Net Zero? This event series provided a platform to connect leading entrepreneurs, investors, academics and policymakers.
Our commitments: environment
As an organisation pioneering decarbonisation, it is important for us to lead by example. Earlier this year, the Science Based Targets initiative officially validated our Net Zero by 2050 target. Through this target, we express our commitment to deep and rapid emissions cuts across both our operations and our extended value chain.
We are firm believers in raising climate ambition. For our own practices, this means pushing our boundaries and bringing the 2050 date forward as we progress on this journey. As per the categorisation of the Science Based Targets initiative, we are a small and medium-sized enterprise, which means our near-term 2030 target does not need to cover our value chain. However, we consider it our responsibility to tackle our Scope 3 emissions.
We have chosen to set ambitious Scope 3 targets for ourselves and mirror the requirements for larger organisations. Our key areas of focus to address our Scope 3 emissions are those where our emissions are most significant: business travel and purchased goods and services.
We face the same challenges as many other organisations: how do we grow our business without growing emissions and, in our case, growing our business means supporting more clients and partners around the world in their own Net Zero journeys.
Our commitments: people
The Carbon Trust fosters a workplace that is collaborative and inclusive, and has our mission at its centre. We are committed to supporting our people to reach their potential – providing equal opportunities, supporting professional development and working together. United in our drive to create a positive impact, it is our people that drive the Carbon Trust forward. They are the foundation of our work as they bring our shared values to life.
We are known and respected for our impartiality and trusted expertise, working to translate intent into impact.
We tackle difficult challenges with innovative solutions to drive meaningful impact today, and for future generations.
We proactively bring stakeholders together and collaborate to catalyse meaningful progress. We are committed to building diverse, inclusive teams, knowing that we are stronger when we act together.
We strive to set the highest standard of quality in everything we do, delivering accuracy and precision that others aspire to.
of colleagues said they were very satisfied or satisfied at the Carbon Trust
of colleagues would recommend the Carbon Trust as an employer*
Our mission impact is the number one reason colleagues work at the Carbon Trust**
* 71% of respondents scored the Carbon Trust 8/10 or over and 89% scored us 7/10 or over. Only 3% scored us below 6/10 on the question ‘How likely would you recommend the Carbon Trust?’
** Other contributing factors include the quality of work, colleagues, culture and flexibility.
Internal staff survey, 2023
Strengthening our gender balance
- Across the Carbon Trust, women make up 37% of our leadership and 51% of our management teams (July 2023). The focus now is on reaching our 40-60% target.
- In comparison, across FTSE 350 companies, leadership positions below the board for women were at 33.5% (February 2023).
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)
- We completed an audit of our DE&I, identifying five core pillars to drive change.
- Key action has begun on three pillars: inclusive leadership, DE&I strategy, and inclusive talent to improve hiring processes.
Upskilling our people
- Training sessions for Senior Leadership to develop a better understanding of DE&I, role modelling and driving organisational change.
- Supporting global integration and skills development through our relaunched secondment programme.
- 16 colleagues have taken sabbaticals since we launched the scheme in April 2022.
- Over a third of colleagues used our flexible working approach to work from another location.
- Training for colleagues to become Mental Health First Aiders and continued investment in an Employee Assistance Programme.
"Representation is important. Being in the sustainability industry means ensuring we are leaving the planet to a generation that can live on it. When women inspire change of this magnitude through their various roles in the industry, it feeds into the next generation of women who can carry the baton."
Nwabisa Funde Marketing and Communications Specialist, the Carbon Trust, South Africa
WORKING ON OUR GENDER PAY GAP
Creating an equitable environment, which offers equal opportunities to all of our staff at the Carbon Trust is a key priority for us. Reducing our gender pay gap is a significant part of this commitment. In line with legal requirements, we have been reporting on our UK gender pay gap since 2022 – but we are planning to roll out global reporting covering all our offices.*
In the past financial year, we have seen a 3% increase in top-quartile roles and a 5% increase in upper-middle management roles across our global offices. By April 2023, women comprised 50% of our management and 30% of our leadership teams. As of July 2023, these numbers have increased to 51% and 37% respectively.
While our improved gender balance is positive news, our mean pay gap across our UK offices for the last financial year (April 2022-2023) is at 20.1%. This is due to a combination of more men in the highest-paid quartiles, more women in lower-quartile roles and a small number of women in leadership leaving this past year. To help address this gap, we commissioned an external audit of our DE&I approach in 2022/2023. The audit included focus groups, interviews and a data audit to identify the critical areas for improvement. We have started implementing the findings from this review to help strengthen our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion and reduce our gender pay gap.
*Our 2023 UK gender pay gap report covers 317 staff members across the UK, 52% women and 48% men.
We set a target that our gender balance across all leadership and management positions should be 40-60%
"Though there remains a disparity of men and women in leadership positions across science-based industries in general, we do not think this gap is acceptable. There is still a great way to go, which is why we are putting in place an ambitious DE&I strategy, supported by strong governance structures to drive change, as well as working on key areas such as recruitment and progression with the aim of reducing our gender pay gap, and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion more broadly.”
Hilary Hume-Smith Head of People, the Carbon Trust
MISSION DAY 2023
Throughout 2023, colleagues across our global offices came together for Mission Day to reflect on how we can drive maximum mission impact through our work with clients and partners.
Get in touch
Get in touch with our team to discuss how the Carbon Trust can help your business on its journey to Net Zero.