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It’s Not a Race – But We’d Better Be Quick

Lucy Edge
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Last year we signed up to hit net zero GHG outputs by 2030. As an organisation, we are very driven by positive action towards the climate challenges and it didn’t seem ‘Catapultian’ to go for anything later than 2030. Shooting from the hip? Perhaps, but sometimes one has to.

Today, though, I’m feeling like it might not have been the best idea I’ve had in my four years as COO. I desperately want us to hit the 2030 target, but wading through the taxonomy it feels hard to reach. Partly vocabulary and partly presentation, we have been lost in Scopes, Pillars and Science Based Target initiatives (SBTIs), not to mention the terms of the original Race to Net Zero commitment which we signed up to.

SBTIs focus on limiting the emissions we generate whereas the UNFCC Race to Net Zero has a collaborative approach to adapting everything that we do at its centre. And the complexity of the terminology for what to include, leave out, or offset rather than reduce is enough to muddle the brains of a whole organisation of scientists and engineers.

It feels to me that the first decision that a business has to make is what it wants to focus on. As with most things in business and in life, there is a large element of interpretation involved. So our executive team is currently reviewing the work carried out by our brilliant consultants at WSP to decide exactly this.

We are asking ourselves how much we ought to enforce on space sector supply chains when they are already working hard to establish themselves in a high regulation sector. We are considering how high we want our bar to be: Is near miss at a big goal better than success at a small one? Clearly for the planet the answer is yes, but there are funders and customers and boards to think about. And we are debating whether to go for Net Zero or SBTi goals or, indeed, another approach entirely.

And as COO I am addressing how we will make this measurable and achievable while remaining affordable.

This is complex, messy, time-consuming. So the Catapult will be reporting on our progress, good and bad, over the next months. We will share our thought processes, decisions, and our real progress publicly in the hope that it may make it a little easier for others.

Lucy will be sharing her thoughts on our journey to Net-Zero as a company and as a wider sector in more pieces shared over the coming weeks.