4 October 2022

Impact Hubs and their journey to Net Zero

The journey to Net Zero is one that is walked collectively by Impact Hubs all over the globe; a journey that will allow us to ultimately co-exist and thrive with nature. Over the past few years, a few  Impact Hubs have been leading the way to become Net Zero.  

Their main strategy to achieve this goal was to categorise their emissions into Scope 1, 2, and 3 to be able to implement focused initiatives for each scope. These scopes are the leading standard currently used in the corporate world when it comes to greenhouse gas accounting. Scope 1 emissions are directly created during operations owned or controlled by the company; Scope 2 emissions arise from the generation of electricity, steam, heat, and cooling consumed by the company; and finally, Scope 3 emissions are all emissions that arise as a result of the organisation’s activities from sources that are neither owned nor controlled by the organisation. 

We spoke to three Impact Hubs to understand what motivated them to start their journey, to outline the key initiatives they implemented to deal with each emissions scope, and to listen to their advice. Understanding their process can be helpful for those who want to follow in their footsteps.

Impact Hub King’s Cross

Impact Hub King’s Cross’ journey to Net Zero started as a response to the urgency of the climate crisis. Their current location is a redeveloped Victorian warehouse that integrates advanced sustainable technologies and space maximisation designs to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. In order to efficiently reduce their emissions, they established an extensive plan to deal with each scope.

For the Scope 1 emissions, they have reduced dependency on car or air travel for their business activities; encouraging video conferencing when possible instead. For the Scope 2 emissions, natural lighting is maximised and additional lighting is predominantly provided using low-energy (dimmable) fluorescent bulbs and tubes. The space is also highly insulated and uses air source heating and cooling systems. Finally, for the Scope 3 emissions, their initiatives include: avoiding single-use plastics, cups, and other packaging by providing a range of reusable options in their café and bar, funding part of their local borough’s food waste programme which they are using, and employing an eco-friendly cleaning company 

Their membership within the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership (ISEP), a group of local organisations coordinated by the Islington Council and committed to reaching Net Zero, was also key in supporting their journey. Being a member allowed them to “take advantage of advice, training and practical support to become more sustainable, with a focus on energy and carbon”.

Impact Hub Curitiba

Impact Hub Curitiba’s motivation to go Net Zero started with the ambition to make their Impact Hub a role model for their community by implementing more environmental actions, reducing their negative impact, and inspiring through action.

The first step to reducing emissions was to calculate them using GHG Protocol’s calculation tools for Brazil. They started their assessment with emissions that have a large impact and the ones that can easily be reduced. 

After that, Impact Hub Curitiba came up with a few initiatives to deal with each of the scopes’ emissions. They sent organic waste to a compost site in order to avoid landfills and to cut methane emissions, they also encouraged their community to reduce and better separate their waste. Finally, all emissions were monitored to be offset, with a focus on the Makers’ transportation as well as Scope 2 emissions.

In partnership with Iniciativa Verde, a company dedicated to reforestation, tackling climate change, and sustainable development in rural areas, they were able to offset their emissions. One of the reasons why they collaborated was the fact that the reforestation done by Iniciativa Verde to offset their emissions happens in the Atlantic Forest, the same biome in which they both live and operate.

Impact Hub Lusaka

Impact Hub Lusaka’s mission to work towards becoming a Net Zero Hub is derived from their vision. They aim to create an Impact Hub whose objectives are anchored in the principles of sustainable development. They are trying to achieve this by adhering to the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Among their key initiatives to reduce emissions, they organize community meals to reduce energy consumption  and created furniture out of wood and pallets from shopping mall retailers that would have gone to waste.

Stay tuned for more Net Zero stories.