How to Kickstart an Emissions Reduction Pilot (Scope 1, 2, 3)

Emissions reduction work is systematically maturing, especially in the more elusive domain Scope 3 and supplier involvement. At the moment, grocers in particular are pushing the climate maturity of the entire food supply chain forward. Retailers are requesting emissions data from their suppliers who are in turn propelled to propagate the request to their suppliers all the way to farm level.

It is still early days and even the mobilized giants deal with uncertainties. But one thing is for certain: There is a tectonic shift going on in the climate work of the food and beverage industry that will conclude with systemic change. Since the ultimate stage of this shift is behavioral change across organizations, its success depends on building on a robust but scalable foundation.

Building this foundation amidst a tectonic shift doesn’t have to cause an earthquake. It is fully possible to test things out for minimum risk and maximum gain – with existing resources, and most importantly, with existing data. The only addition is climate data, insights and knowledge.

The change practice you’re looking for is a climate pilot! Start your project at a small scale with minimum input, and learn what insights are necessary to act upon. Here are the resources, decisions, and data you need to design a successful emissions reduction pilot and decide the initial Scope.

Bring everyone on the same page: The pilot kick-off meeting agenda 

The most important boundary to keep in mind with any pilot is that you are testing feasibility on two dimensions:

a) The software solution
b) Your internal processes

Overlooking the latter often results in a common mistake: Involving only technical people… Which brings us to the next point.

Mark required: Kick-off meeting participants 

Invite resources from both the technical and the business side of the organization. In addition, include a representative from management. Their buy-in is critical for two reasons:

1) If the pilot doesn’t address a business risk or opportunity, the transformation will be dropped or not sufficiently prioritized.
2) If the pilot doesn’t have the green light from upper management, the project team involved will have too much to prove and too little mandate to prove it.

Start your meeting presenting the following:

What business opportunities are you addressing?

Who will be on the project team?

Draw the line: Pilot scope

As you are setting up a pilot, the scope should be as limited as possible. When you have covered the why and the what, start designing the how with the following question:

What is the most limited pilot we can do to check whether your priority can be addressed and how – the fewest products possible, the smallest team possible, the shortest time possible.

If you are testing multiple solutions, ensure that they address the same priority and are measured equally. Differentiate with three questions:

• How hard is it with A and B?
• How long does it take with A and B?
• What data and insight quality do you get with A and B?

The answers to all these questions have 3 dependencies:
a) They lie in both upper management and the technical teams – so ensure that the business opportunities/risks are pinned down.
b) They scale-test the piloted software to answer whether you can do what is important to you and how.
c) They define the scope of the pilot.

In the context of food systems and emissions reductions, there are 3 possible priority outcomes from this meeting, they are all correct and can be scale-tested in a few months.


Ready for takeoff?

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