Net Zero: Busting Carbon Jargon

Watch the recording here

On 15th March, Future Leap held a hybrid event on the topic of ‘Net Zero: Busting Carbon Jargon’. Attendees were welcomed and networked with each other across both the physical and virtual platforms. Those attending physically enjoyed Future Leap’s inhouse catering for breakfast. 

Katherine Piper, Head of Sustainability and Director of Partnerships at Future Leap, welcomed the attendees before giving an insight into The Future Leap Network, Future Leap Hub and the many benefits of membership, as well as the Festival of Sustainable Business. She informed the attendees of Future Leap’s mission and how Future Leap is walking the talk with the use of sustainable technology throughout the building. She then introduced the speakers: 

  • Simon Forsyth – Senior Carbon Consultant, Future Leap 
  • Kai Johns – Ethical Sustainable and Impact Researcher, Rathbone Greenbank Investments  
  • Emma Watson – Senior Manager, Net-Zero, Science Based Target Initiative  
  • Alberto Arribas – Europe Sustainability Science Lead, Microsoft   

Simon Forsyth – Senior Carbon Consultant, Future Leap 

Simon introduced himself and opened the carbon jargon event in a beautifully succinct way: “there’s a lot”. He picked out four phrases that fall within the category carbon jargon; net zero, carbon neutrality, carbon offsetting, and science-based targets. For each term, Simon eloquently defined the jargon, boiled it down to its different implications and gave tangible examples of what it meant. It was an informative and robust break down. Simon closed his presentation with a quote from David Attenborough followed by a quote from the Queen, reiterating the need for less jargon and more action. 

Kai Johns – Ethical Sustainable and Impact Researcher, Rathbone Greenbank Investments  

Kai kicked off his presentation by exploring supply chain emissions and the definitions behind scopes 1, 2 and 3. He provided figures showing the scale of each scopes’ impact compared against the other. He highlighted that downstream value chains emissions (scope 3) dwarf scope 1 and 2 emissions and at the same time are poorly disclosed. Kai then went on to analyse the intricacies of supply chains and how they can change to become more efficient, reliable and sustainable. Kai concluded his speech by providing company case study examples. 

Emma Watson – Senior Manager, Net-Zero, Science-Based Target Initiative  

Emma gave us a deep dive breakdown of the Science-based Targets initiative and the net-zero standard framework they released last October. The creation of this framework allows for scrutiny of companies who made net-zero claims, whilst also forcing companies to make short-term as well as long-term milestones that they could be held accountable for. Emma pragmatically broke down the elements of the framework, what the framework has helped achieve and where companies need to go the extra mile in achieving net-zero. Emma closed her presentation reminding us that there’s not enough technology or land available to offset everything and without changing our behaviour too. 

Alberto Arribas – Europe Sustainability Science Lead, Microsoft   

Alberto opened by giving an overview of Microsoft’s 2021 Environmental report, explaining how Microsoft bases its sustainability approach in science and reminds us that each department has its own unique nuances when reducing emissions. Alberto then showed us how Microsoft categorises its sustainability journey into carbon negativity, water positivity, zero-waste as well as ecosystems and how each category has a role to play in achieving net-zero. Furthermore, Alberto enthusiastically informed us of a project Microsoft is working on using AI and technology to help other companies facilitate sustainable change. His final remarks left us feeling confident that achieving net-zero by 2050 is possible. 


After the speakers spoke, the floor was opened to hybrid Q&A questions, where further clarification on carbon terminology was discussed. The panel was asked whether regulation needs to be introduced to force companies to adopt science-based targets. The panel also discussed if enough is being done to reach the vast number of businesses and to make reaching net-zero simple enough for everyone. These and many more question were asked with insightful response given by all speakers. 

60 Second pitches 

We heard interesting 60 second pitches from Luna9, British Standards Institution and Tusko

Sam from Luna9 was looking to expand his network and if anyone knows any copywriters in net-zero and sustainability he’d love to hear from you. 

Closing Statement: 

KP took back the reigns by letting the attendees know what was on the horizon for Future Leap.  

She also informed us of the Future Leap Sustainable Business Awards deadline coming up (4th April), so if you are a company that is passionate about sustainability, do get in contact. 

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