With almost 400 registrants, KPMG in the Crown Dependencies hosted a free webinar last week providing businesses across the islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man with a practical step by step guide to aid their journey to net zero.

Recent data analysis from within the Crown Dependencies suggests an average of almost 50% of companies have not yet defined an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) plan for their business, along with an average of almost 80% of companies still shying away from defining a net zero target. The timing and content of the webinar was in direct response to these findings and the needs of local business leaders looking to start their own net zero journey.

Led by Simon Nicholas, Head of ESG and Renewables and Harry Briggs, ESG Director, the session explored why now is the time to focus on defining net zero plans due to increasing demands from customers, employers and regulators, in addition to renewed government pressures in the wake of COP26 last year.

The ‘route to net zero’ was a key takeaway for many, as this laid out the 5 steps all companies should consider as they start their ESG journey. These include: initial measurement, evaluation, action/strategy, annual monitoring and carbon offsetting. The KPMG team were keen to stress that the latter was a last resort and other steps should always be considered before settling on carbon offsetting as a strategy.

To help bring the theory to life, KPMG offered real-world guidance from their own personal journey to help local businesses learn from their examples. Using their own firm as a case study, Simon Sheath, ESG Consultant, revealed how the firm has monitored and evaluated its own greenhouse gas emissions, following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol method of Scope 1, 2 and 3 classifications. Following this methodology, it was revealed that 79% of the firm’s emissions are from Scope 3 (indirect emissions), predominantly as a result of business travel and employee commuting. With this knowledge, the firm is now in a position to make plans to mitigate against further indirect emissions.

KPMG also demonstrated the value in using science-based targets, such as RE100, to add credibility to net zero targets and avoid any potential greenwashing (where false or misleading environmental claims are made). In KPMG’s case, they have committed to achieving a 50% reduction of KPMG's direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. This is just one example of the firm’s route to net zero and forms a key step in the KPMG IMPACT plan, which brings together the firm’s ESG commitments under one umbrella. The plan covers the firm’s commitments and actions across four important categories: Planet, People, Prosperity and Governance, to create a positive impact using local capabilities to make a difference.

Further initiatives under KPMG’s IMPACT plan include a recently announced alliance with Manx Wildlife Trust, a collaborative partnership bringing together the combined expertise of both parties to promote sustainability and climate change mitigation in the Isle of Man. In Jersey, KPMG has been accredited as a Living Wage employer, acknowledging the firm’s ethical business values and commitment to pay the living wage to its own employees but also to only work with suppliers and contractors who offer the same.

Simon Nicholas, Head of ESG and Renewables at KPMG in the Crown Dependencies, comments, “Through the webinar, we wanted to share our own experiences and real-life examples, in the hope it helps others with their ESG journey. With our IMPACT plan, we have a roadmap in place but it is still evolving and new initiatives are being introduced as we progress our plans. Now is the time to start defining practical and credible net zero plans or companies could run the risk of too little, too late.

A recording of the webinar is available online here.