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10 Tonne Rule

Caution: This is a work in progress.

Andy Gove, the founder of Intel (one of the most successful companies of our generation) once said "Whatever you measure, improves". [1]

The UK Government has declared a climate emergency [2] and had committed the country to being carbon neutral by 2050 [3]. Many activists would like to see that happen sooner, perhaps as soon as 2025 [4].

In order to know how well we are doing towards becoming a zero carbon economy we need to measure how much carbon is being released by the services we buy. This is currently being done on a sector level [5] but we need more fine grained measurement in order to improve. After all, what you don't measure you can't control.

In order to reduce carbon emissions we need to choose solutions that use less carbon over ones that use more for the same amount of money spent. The only way to do this is if we measure how much carbon is associated with different solutions but this is currently hard for providers to do accurately because the skills and data are hard to obtain.

To create the right incentives for measurement, allow Government to make good purchasing decisions and to begin to grow the necessary thinking and action within the economy, we are proposing the 10 tonne rule to start within government procurement as follows:

The columns of the spreadsheet might be:

Seperate columns could be added for any offsetting that the bidder uses to mitigate the impact, or the locations in the world where the CO2 is released for example but the aim would be to report the raw impact of the service.

This is good because:

Why might Cabinet Office get on board?

What do you say Cabinet Office? Are you prepared to start this snowball rolling?

What do others think? Would the incentives envisioned here work the way they are designed to in practice? What could be tweaked to ensure they do?

About the authors:

To the extent possible under law, James Gardner has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to 10 Tonne Rule. This work is published from: United Kingdom.