March 8, 2022

Essentials

Carbon Neutral vs. Net Zero: What’s the Difference?

Carbon Neutral vs. Net Zero: What’s the Difference?
Contents

Net zero refers to the target of negating GHG emissions based on human activity until elimination by abating emissions and offsetting the residuals from the atmosphere.

Carbon neutral is the state of reaching net zero emissions through reductions and offsetting.

If you want to know the difference between some of the carbon neutral terminologies and how we can help get you to net zero, then this article is for you. We'll teach you a few basic terms and provide some useful resources.

Carbon neutral vs. net zero standards can be found in these resources 

  • PAS 2060 is internationally recognized for carbon-neutrality. 
  • The Science-Based Targets Initiative is a practical resource on net zero target setting.
  • The GHG Protocol is the ultimate guide to handling your carbon accounting but Net0 can handle all of the calculating, measuring, offsetting, categorizing, reporting, and certifying for you in one software system as long as you provide the data. Net zero strategies include all types of greenhouse gases and they are all accounted for in the calculations of Net0's platform. We also comply with all GHGP standards and localized regulations so you don't have to study the whole GHGP in order to get to net zero. We also offer an article with a breakdown of the GHGP if you would like to go further in your knowledge. 
Related content

To learn more about regulations and keeping your emissions down, check out other free resources from our library:

• Article: How to Reduce Upstream Emissions With the Gold Standard Framework for Supplier Engagement
• Article: What Is Corporate Sustainability and How to Achieve It
• Article: What Are Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions?

What is carbon neutral?

The concept of carbon neutrality is to get to a state in which an organization's GHG emissions balance out to zero. Everyone is going carbon neutral and investors and consumers are turning their attention to carbon neutral companies. 

The road map to carbon neutrality looks like this:

  • Calculate and measure emissions. This can be done easily in Net0's automated carbon management platform which enables businesses to upload their utility bills, invoices, and other data and with the information an organization provides. 
  • Track and analyze emissions. With the data provided, view your carbon footprint in real-time through simple-to-read graphs and charts that can be filtered by dates and emissions sources. 
  • Reduce emissions. Now with the information laid out, see the big picture, where reductions can be made, discover insights about using alternatives, and strategize for the future. Net0 has a simulator tool where you can compare benchmarks by inputting your current carbon footprint to what your reduction targets should be in the future.
  • Offset the residuals. Until we can completely switch to alternatives from the beginning of production to the end of the supply chain, service, and product life cycle, the leftover emissions will have to be offset. Carbon offsets are necessary because they do double duty - they remove the emissions from the atmosphere in the short term and fund projects to change our lives in the long term like constructing wind farms so we can switch to alternative energy, just as one example. What is important to know about carbon credits is that they aren't an excuse to emit more carbon. The idea is that an entity can buy less credits every year because reductions are the goal. And with those credits they purchase offsets that will benefit communities and the atmosphere altogether by using alternatives to fossil fuels or improving the environment around them.
  • Report and certify. When you've gone carbon neutral, Net0 will generate an investor-grade report so you can communicate your milestones to stakeholders. We also provide badges to put on products, premises and media to display your carbon neutral status so people are clear that they are contributing to a carbon neutral organization. 

Becoming carbon neutral doesn't have to be a daunting, expensive, or mysterious process. With carbon emissions management software, it's easy and enjoyable and anyone you give access to on your team can help in minutes.

Other related climate definitions to know

  • Climate positive means going beyond net zero emissions to carbon negative instead of net zero.
  • Carbon negative is the same as, “climate positive.”
  • Carbon positive is how many entities say, "climate positive" and "carbon negative". It's normally a marketing term used for merchandise that's going beyond net zero.
  • Climate Neutral is deemed balancing out the CO2 emissions through natural environmental absorption by the UNFCCC. Getting the emissions to net zero, we reduce our emissions by climate action.
leaf in a lightbulb

FAQs

  1. Is net zero the same as carbon neutral?

No. We become carbon neutral when we achieve net zero with emissions reductions and offsetting strategies. 

  1. What companies are carbon neutral?

Many companies are going for carbon neutrality and making pledges but only few have achieved it. Here are a few examples of companies that have carbon neutral or better status: 

Baukjen, the highest scoring sustainable UK fashion brand is climate negative across their supply chain and received a UN Climate Action Award in 2021. They also ranked number 1 as a Certified B Corp Business because they continue to fulfill so many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Taylors of Harrogate, a tea and coffee brand from the UK, became a carbon neutral business in February of 2020. They also won a UN Climate Action Award in 2021. They have a carbon neutral certification from "field to supermarket shelf." Additionally, they've cultivated long term partnerships over decades as an ethical company with the countries they source from, which are experiencing rising temperatures due to global warming.

Another winner of a UN Climate Action Award is Microsoft, who has been carbon neutral since 2012 and will be carbon negative by 2030 for all 3 scopes. Since 2014, they have used 100% green energy across their US operations. They have also started Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund which will invest 1 billion USD over a 4 year time span to "expand access to capital" all over the world to those working to solve climate change problems and also towards new technologies helping resolve the issue.

  1. How do you become carbon neutral?

Businesses can become carbon neutral by reducing and avoiding carbon emissions where they can and setting more ambitious targets every year. This is simple to do with the Net0 simulator tool to analyze what these targets would look like. Also, by contributing to offsetting projects like renewable energy that we can transition to in the long-term. 

  1. How do you get carbon neutral status?

You should start by measuring your CO2 emissions and then analyzing where you can cut back and switch to alternatives. You can do this with the Net0 simulator tool. You can't find out your carbon footprint without measuring it. Net0 can calculate all of this for you with the data you provide. Next, you can purchase offsets for your present unavoidable emissions. It's important to set lower CO2 emissions targets every year.

Final thoughts

Eventually companies will have to start taking action to become carbon neutral in order to keep global warming under a 1.5C increase, keep investor's attention, customer loyalty, and abide by regional laws. Planning your path to net zero will be a positive transition that can be easily managed with the right technology.

Now that you know the basics about net zero vs. carbon neutrality, we invite you to book a call with us to talk to an expert and experience how Net0's emissions management platform can change your business for the better.

Request a demo

Talk to us to learn more about making your business carbon neutral.
Request a demo

FAQ

What’s the difference between gross zero and net zero?

Again, net zero is coming to a balance between emissions and those which have been removed from the atmosphere. Gross zero means stopping all emissions, period.

Again, net zero is coming to a balance between emissions and those which have been removed from the atmosphere. Gross zero means stopping all emissions, period.
How soon can we start?

You can usually start using the system within a week of contract signature. Book a call with us to start.

You can usually start using the system within a week of contract signature. Book a call with us to start.
Do you help with setting up the processes?

Yes, our team will help you set up the platform and provide you with guidance on how to use it.

Yes, our team will help you set up the platform and provide you with guidance on how to use it.
What type of clients have you successfully helped?

We work with companies from different industries, from professional services and tech businesses to construction companies and manufacturing sites.

We work with companies from different industries, from professional services and tech businesses to construction companies and manufacturing sites.
What sets Net0 apart from others on the market?

Net0 offers simplicity, automation, no-code integrations, and provides an activity-based approach meaning the calculations are done by co2e tonnage and not by how much money was spent on the activity that led to emissions.

Net0 offers simplicity, automation, no-code integrations, and provides an activity-based approach meaning the calculations are done by co2e tonnage and not by how much money was spent on the activity that led to emissions.
Why do companies choose to work with Net0?

Net0 is the most comprehensive solution to recording, measuring, tracking, offsetting, and certifying emissions all in one place and in minutes. Net0 also enables organizations to invite anyone they want to contribute to the dashboard, being all-inclusive and simple to use.

Net0 is the most comprehensive solution to recording, measuring, tracking, offsetting, and certifying emissions all in one place and in minutes. Net0 also enables organizations to invite anyone they want to contribute to the dashboard, being all-inclusive and simple to use.

Start using Net0

Make your business carbon neutral and start reaping the benefits of a green economy.

Schedule a demo
Net0 Interface