Navigating the Carbon Reduction Plan Journey – A Junior Sustainability Consultant’s Experience

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During my first few weeks as a Junior Sustainability, Diversity and Social Impact (SDSI) consultant at Value Match, my first project was to draft a Carbon Reduction Plan (CRP) for the organisation. 

As I started off with limited knowledge about the purpose and requirements of a CRP, I began by expanding my knowledge through exploring the government guidance as outlined in Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/21.  Carbon reduction plans are becoming increasingly important for businesses in the procurement of major government contracts.  PPN 06/21 sets out clear requirements for CRPs.  This is line with the UK Government’s commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050 under the Climate Change Act 2018. 

Once I had familiarised myself with the legislation and requirements for a CRP, I began by drafting a template that could be utilised not only for Value Match’s CRP but also to assist with the organisations we support and their carbon reduction journey.  Creating this template allowed me to further familiarise myself with the structure, as well as the required information to collect for the plan, in turn aiding me with the production of a CRP checklist.  

With these resources, I was able to develop a CRP for Value Match with the guidance and support from Value Match’s wider Sustainability, Diversity & Social Impact team and Carbon Footprint.  The data required for the CRP was extremely easy to locate due to Value Match’s partnership with Carbon Footprint, our continued annual carbon offsetting projects and our free carbon calculator 

Throughout this journey I did encounter various issues, one particularly being DEFRA’s reclassification of homeworking factors as scope 3 emissions.  This reclassification meant that our data reporting from previous years differed from the current year, as homeworking factors such as gas consumption were previously considered as scope 1 emissions.  This led to some clarifications with Carbon Footprint, before updating the structure of the data in previous years to consider all emissions generated by Value Match as scope 3 emissions (as a predominantly homeworking company).  This demonstrates the need for businesses to remain up-to-date with changes in reporting guidelines to ensure the best chance of winning public sector contracts; having trusted advisors is crucial to achieving this. 

Through delving into this issue, I was able to expand my knowledge around the different scopes of emissions as well as my skills on problem solving in a fast-paced work environment. This is because our CRP had to be produced not merely for our own policy reasons but also for tender responses with a strict deadline.  These learnings and skills will be vital to implement in the next CRP I produce.  The journey of producing this CRP from start to finish alongside my development of various CRP related templates and resources has certainly instilled me with a foundation moving forwards to create further plans for external organisations.  

With the correct professional support and insight from the SDSI team at Value Match, the creation of a CRP is an easy step in the correct direction for organisations wanting to becoming public sector compliant.  Within a reasonable time frame with our help, your organisation could baseline it’s impact, create a CRP with our help and support and create an actionable plan to reach Net Zero by 2050.