Sue Welland: Creating Carbon Neutral For The Future

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Posted: 26th January 2024 by
Lawyer Monthly
Last updated 12th July 2024
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Sue Welland is the pioneer and creator behind Carbon Neutral, a concept as much as it is a movement, which is now a cornerstone of how countless businesses and people around the world operate.

The concept of Carbon Neutral aims to help people, homeowners, businesses and organisations not stop emitting any carbon, but to balance what they emit, with what they can reduce as well as offset that which they do emit.

As the creator of this very concept and with so many different concepts from ‘NetZero’ to ‘Carbon Neutral’ and more around, Sue Welland explains: “ The mantra is: avoid, reduce, offset, i.e. avoid your emissions as much as you can (take a train rather than your petrol car with just you in it.) What you can’t avoid completely, reduce (insulation to avoid carbon emissions from your home); and offset any remaining emissions i.e. pay for a certified carbon reduction elsewhere to balance your carbon emissions.”

Having spent the last few decades working in the renewable and green energy space, Welland is aware of the challenges faced, but is realistic yet ambitious about what can be achieved and Carbon Neutrality is one of those goals.

Achieving Carbon Neutrality - Can It Be Done?

In an era defined by environmental challenges and a collective responsibility towards a sustainable future and one in which the air we breathe is cleaner, more businesses than ever are starting to recognise the crucial role they play in addressing climate change and moving to a carbon-neutral status. 

There are various ways in which companies and businesses of all sizes can take strides towards achieving a truly carbon-neutral position. Part of this is businesses adopting solutions like commercial solar panels and other cleaner, greener ways in which to generate the energy that powers them.

Sue Welland comments: “Solar is an efficient retrofit which instantly reduces carbon emissions and electricity costs. Why does the UK Commercial and Industrial sector only have 1% of rooftops covered with solar. It is a travesty

With regards to businesses utilising energy storage and as the inventor and creator of the Carbon Neutral concept, Sue Welland continues: “Solar energy can be stored in batteries for use when the sun isn’t shining”

Carbon neutrality has emerged as a beacon of hope, heralding a new era where organisations are not merely profit-driven entities but conscientious stewards of the planet, that they can now actively make moves towards protecting.

Carbon neutrality, at its core, signifies the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and removed from the atmosphere. Achieving carbon neutrality involves businesses meticulously calculating their carbon footprint and implementing strategies to offset or mitigate their emissions. This commitment extends beyond mere environmental compliance; it represents a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable and responsible business model.

However, continuing her path in the world of business, entrepreneurialism and green technologies, Sue Welland is realistic but ambitious about what moving towards carbon neutrality will mean for increasing numbers of businesses: “With the rising cost of traditional energy, solar installations can offer long-term savings on electricity bills; especially with the new offers coming to the market.”

Applying The Principles Of Carbon Neutral

Part of what drove Sue Welland to create the Carbon Neutral concept, was her setting up of Future Forests in 1995, a company which persuaded clients including Mazda and EMI to move towards becoming truly carbon neutral. 

As Welland puts it bluntly: “I know how fragile life is and how it could disappear. We have all contributed to the state of our environment; we can and should help to protect it for future generations.

It is this tenacity mixed with her perspicacity of the world around us that led Sue Welland to pioneer the carbon-neutral concept that we are all so acutely aware of today. 

With current global instability in the energy markets and with us all becoming more aware of the potential impacts of reliance on overseas energy imports, Sue Welland explains: “Dependency on imported energy sources poses a risk to national security. Renewable energy, particularly solar, offers a more secure and stable source as it is generated locally.”

By embracing carbon neutrality, businesses can signal their commitment to environmental stewardship, a value increasingly prioritised by consumers. In an age where conscious consumerism is on the rise, customers are not just interested in products and services; they seek brands that align with their values. 

Carbon-neutral businesses stand out as beacons of sustainability, attracting environmentally conscious consumers and building brand loyalty.

Invention To Application: Why Carbon Neutral Remains Important

Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are advocating for stringent environmental standards. Businesses that take the lead in becoming carbon-neutral position themselves ahead of impending regulations, demonstrating foresight and adaptability. 

This proactive approach not only shields them from potential penalties but also enhances their reputation as responsible corporate citizens within society. The benefits of carbon neutrality extend beyond brand image and regulatory compliance and adopting sustainable practices often leads to operational efficiencies and cost savings. Businesses that invest in renewable energy sources, energy-efficient technologies and carbon offset projects often experience reduced operational costs in the long run, making them financially resilient and competitive.

Although there are challenges and hurdles to overcome as we move towards being carbon neutral, Sue Welland is buoyant and optimistic: “Public awareness about environmental issues is at an all-time high. There is growing support for renewable energy as a means to combat climate change.

Having created Carbon Neutral and continuing to work in the green and renewables space, the future for Sue, the creator of such a fundamental part of our lives remains as bright as ever.

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