What would a net zero business in your industry look like?

We spend a lot of time thinking about emission reduction. And it is all based on considering the existing state of affairs and how to move ahead from here. So we often consider how a process can be optimised to use less energy, or to use alternative materials. So a decarbonisation roadmap plays an important role in considering an existing business and how carbon emissions can be gradually eliminated from the workings of the business to transit it towards a low-carbon economy.

But just as important is how we can envision a new business to perform exactly the functions of an existing business but with zero carbon emissions. It is no longer about mapping or developing emissions baselines but rethinking how the same process can be achieved without emitting as much carbon. It is rethinking processes altogether. Heck, it might even involve rethinking products.

Major oil & gas companies are now refashioning themselves as provider of energy, competing with their customers who are power generators. Or they can think of continuing to supply the electricity generation players by going into mining and extracting of minerals and metals that are needed for wind turbines and solar panels. Or they could reconsider that they are actually logistics players ferrying molecules around and look into dealing more with chemicals transport. They could even consider themselves producers or inventors of new materials.

This exercise can be repeated for other industries and we could potentially have very interesting outcomes.