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An illustration of the activities that make up your carbon footprint, for example, travelling and using energy

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Cutting carbon

An update on our net zero plans

A little while ago, we announced our aim to reach net zero by 2030. This limits our company’s carbon footprint beyond the pathway for keeping global warming to below 1.5C - the critical level of heating to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Since our initial commitment, we've entered special administration in the UK. Upon exiting special administration, we'll publish more details of our net zero plan. In the meantime, we’re sharing an update on our thinking. You can also read more about the commitments we’ve made.

Net zero can be confusing, with contradictory terms and definitions

We define net zero as:

'a state where an organisation’s activities result in no net impact on the climate from greenhouse gas emissions. Companies can achieve this by reducing their emissions in line with an ambitious 1.5°C aligned science-based target. Any remaining hard-to-decarbonise emissions can be compensated for by using certified long-term carbon removal credits.'

This is in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the UN Race to Zero campaign. We’ll seek to reach net zero by:

  1. Avoiding and reducing our emissions by at least 90%, on an absolute basis; and

  2. Offsetting a maximum of 10% of emissions that we cannot reduce at our net zero target year with carbon removals (i.e. carbon credits that permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere).

We’ve set out some broad principles for our net zero plan as it evolves

Here they are:

  1. We’ll be open and transparent about what’s not going well, what we haven’t worked out yet, or what we’ll need to change as science evolves. And we’ll publish our progress every year.

  2. If the science changes, we’ll change with it. Our target goes beyond a 1.5C pathway and we intend to get external accreditation from SBTi once we exit special administration and are able to add more detail.

  3. We’ll work with other businesses to share best practices and areas of improvement. We believe in collaboration and openness so strongly that we created the Tech Zero taskforce, a group of more than 200 tech companies all working together to reach net zero faster.

We’ve measured our carbon emissions

Our emissions for our last reporting period - running from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 - were 3,505,309 tonnes CO2e. We’ll use this as our baseline year, meaning that our emissions reductions will be measured compared to this year.

As an energy supplier, the largest contribution to our footprint is from the gas we supply. This accounted for 98.8% of our emissions.

We’ll work with all our suppliers to achieve a net zero supply chain

Right now we use a spend-based proxy to estimate the emissions associated with our supplier’s activities. So we're going to work with our existing suppliers to request data to accurately understand their impact, encourage them to set their own net zero targets and support them in decarbonising their operations. We already have a wealth of resources available through the Tech Zero taskforce - and we actively encourage our tech suppliers to sign up to the Tech Zero commitments.

We’ll also build upon Bulb’s Environmental Purchasing Policy that encourages the purchase and use of materials, products, and services that incorporate environmental, social, community, and performance goals. We’ll aim to prioritise local suppliers to minimise emissions associated with transporting and distributing purchased goods.

We’ll aim to prioritise working with suppliers who have a 100% electrified fleet and encourage existing suppliers to make the transition.

An illustration of Bulb's supply chain

We’ll help our team to reduce the emissions they create when they work from home

The main areas of our employees' impact are working from home, commuting, and business travel.

The global pandemic has shown that businesses can thrive in a remote environment. However, 186 tCO2e of our carbon impact in 2020 came from working from home. So we’ll work with our employees to help them reduce their energy use by installing energy efficiency measures in their homes, leveraging the existing partnerships we have with smart energy providers.

An illustration of Bulb team members working from home

We’ll support our members to help them to reduce their carbon footprint

The vast majority of our emissions come from the non-green gas we supply to our members. Broadly, we know we’ll focus our efforts on decarbonising heating, making things simple for our members, helping them transition to a low-carbon lifestyle, lowering their bills and their carbon emissions. Energy suppliers are going to move to become energy managers for people’s homes.

In the near-term, we’ll focus on supporting our members lowering their energy usage and helping their homes become more energy efficient. We’ll use the insights we receive from members’ monthly energy usage to provide bespoke advice, helping our members to take control of their energy use and manage it more effectively. We’re also building technology that shows members their home’s EPC rating, with personalised advice on how they can improve it, lowering their bills and their carbon emissions.

An illustration of a person with a low-carbon heat pump on the outside of their house used to heat their home

Smart energy technology will play a big role

We’re already trialling EV and home battery products, helping our members manage and reduce their energy as we work towards net zero. Our EV tariff allows our members to shift their usage to times of low demand, meaning it has a lower price and supports the decarbonisation of the electricity system. We also support our members who generate solar energy on their properties through our Feed-in Tariff and Export payment schemes.

An illustration of an electric vehicle plugged in at home

We’ll only offset the carbon emissions we can’t reduce

Our focus is on rapid decarbonisation, and we’ll prioritise avoiding and reducing emissions.

We know the carbon offsets market is hotly debated. So we’re aligning all our thinking with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)’s net-zero standard. This is a common definition of net zero that has been adopted across the market. It also aligns with the commitments we’ve made to the Tech Zero taskforce.

We’ll aim to only use permanent carbon removal offsets for up to 10% of our baseline year emissions, which will be up to 350,530 tCO2e in 2030.

This is just the beginning, and we’ll keep adding data, details and progress to our plan as we go

Upon exiting special administration, we’ll share another update on net zero, what we’re aiming to achieve and when we’re aiming to achieve it.

A key principle of the SBTi’s net zero standard is going beyond the value chain to help mitigate climate change elsewhere. Through the Tech Zero taskforce, and our products that help Bulb members reduce their emissions, we’re aiming to go far beyond our own backyard. We believe strongly in openness and transparency when it comes to our own - and others’ - net zero plans. We’d love to work together with other businesses, so if you’d like to work with us and over 200 other tech firms to accelerate progress to net zero, join Tech Zero.