March 3, 2022

Carbon Neutrality: What Does Carbon Neutral Mean?

Carbon Neutrality: What Does Carbon Neutral Mean?
Contents

What is carbon neutrality?

Carbon neutrality is a state of net zero CO2 emissions.

Carbon neutral is a term that means there is an amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere and then an offset has to be done to remove it from the atmosphere (a carbon offset). Think of a trade-off. 

Methods

There are 2 ways to achieve carbon neutrality:

Reducing emissions

Cutting down on emissions will look different in every organization. Switching to renewable energy, electric cars, knocking out fossil fuels, and even changes in diet are a few of the many ways that we can transition to a low-carbon economy. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are easier to scale to plan reduction actions.

Scope 3 emissions are especially more difficult as they are happening outside of the reporting company's walls. However, you can try to get data from suppliers and distributors, work with them to reduce emissions, revisit your supply sources, or change vendors if needed. 

Scope 4 avoided emissions data could be gathered from employees working from home with just a few simple questions and then strategizing how they could be reducing at home. Also, when suppliers and distributors help others in the ecosystem to avoid emissions, that data should be collected as well. 

Carbon offsetting

Carbon offsetting means removing the emissions in the atmosphere that have been made elsewhere.

Carbon offsetting benefits the atmosphere and environment by capturing what is in the atmosphere and removing it. It's strongly recommended by The Paris Agreement, The GHG Protocol, and the IPCC for a successful strategy that undoes some of the damage. 

The second way it benefits us is that organizations can offset the residual emissions after naturally reducing what they can.

The last advantage of carbon offsetting is that companies are contributing to a better way of life in the future. If you contribute to carbon neutral projects that help in the long term like alternative energy sources, we won't have to rely on fossil fuels which make up about 61% of electricity sources in the United States in 2020. 

How is carbon neutral different from climate neutral?

Carbon neutral means having a net zero carbon footprint. This doesn't refer to all greenhouse gases although Net0 measures all of them with the data you provide. After reductions and offsets, a carbon neutral company means that your footprint has been balanced to zero.

Climate neutral refers to the emissions and reductions of all greenhouse gases. The equal amount of GHGs an organization emitted would be canceled out with offsets removing them from the atmosphere. 

Carbon neutral certification

Net0 automatically provides certificates and badges companies can place on premises, online, and on products when they achieve carbon neutrality, which is our 5th step of our process below.

What is PAS 2060?

In 2009 the British Standards Institution (BSI) announced the development of PAS 2060 Standard for Carbon Neutrality. The goal was to increase the transparency of carbon neutrality with a recognized method of becoming carbon neutral. 

  • Scope 1 and 2 measurements required. 
  • Scope 3 measurements are required if it makes up more than 1% of the total carbon footprint. (Most emissions in the value chain are scope 3). 
  • The total amount must be offset with certified carbon credits from one of the following: the Clean Development Mechanism, the Joint Implementation (which are both government-regulated schemes fulfilling the Kyoto Protocol), or the Verified Carbon Standard, from the Voluntary Market.
  • Additional reductions. 
  • All must be verified by a third-party to avoid double counting (when two parties count the same emission reduction) or leakage (so emissions are not increased somewhere else).
  • Credits are retired from a public record within 12 months.

Benefits of a carbon neutral certification

Carbon neutral certification helps you build a socially responsible rapport with stakeholders. Here's why:

Related content

To learn more about carbon neutrality and how to get to net zero, check out more of our free articles from our academy:

• Article: How to Reduce Upstream Emissions With the Gold Standard Framework for Supplier Engagement
• Article: Carbon Neutral vs. Net Zero: What’s the Difference?
• Article: Glossary of Climate Change Terms

How can companies achieve carbon neutrality?

With these 5 steps, you'll be on your way to net zero status soon enough. We'll show you how to achieve each step individually by tracking emissions and how Net0 software can help:

1. Measure carbon emissions

Carbon emissions can be measured over time or product by product. GHGs including methane and nitrous oxide but mostly CO2 are measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). 

Net0 alleviates the need to use consultancies as colleagues and vendors can use their own personalized dashboards to input their data about specific emissions, leaving Net0 to accurately measure carbon emissions with intuitive AI the way no other software knows how. While consultants can still be helpful, having Net0 puts the data in your control while still reporting honestly.

The GHG Protocol is a reporting standard that is not always, yet often used, that requires companies to categorize their emissions in three scopes. Net0 is fully compliant with the GHGP.

Scope 1 - (Direct emissions) GHGs emitted on the company's premises, vehicles, fuel combustion on-site, and power sources produced by them or belonging to them.

Scope 2 - (Indirect emissions) Emissions from electricity the company purchased.

Scope 3 - (Other indirect emissions) The result of value chain emissions. The upstream and downstream emissions of the reporting company's value chain.

We have provided you with a detailed article on scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions if you want a full breakdown of each of them. Additionally, Net0 will calculate and categorize each one for you during the reporting process (with the data you provide) so it isn't something you would need to study in detail to calculate yourself.

scope 123 emissions value chain emissions flow chart

Net0's carbon emission management platform can work out how much carbon companies are emitting precisely and accurately. When companies can input data from various sources they can see everything in Net0's dashboard. Through automation, the system auto collects data from sensors and enables staff to easily input the data. It's simple to connect third-party data sources, such as ERP systems. The information that you need could be found in your invoices for energy, gas bills, surveys to employees about indirect emissions. 

screen of measuring carbon emissions software

2. Reduce carbon emissions

Net0 gets you on the path to net zero emissions by displaying the bigger picture of your carbon footprint and making the sources of emissions stand out. We've collected a database of low emission alternatives that can help your company achieve a strategy that's best for you and the environment. By analyzing what is going into the business procedures, our clients are better enabled to make future decisions about reductions.

Depending on the sources of your emissions, your industry, and the different departments that are emitting, you have to decide what is best for your business and the environment and change strategies as you go along. There will always be inventions, new opportunities, and alternatives to reduce and eliminate carbon as time goes by. 

Since Net0 is built with data intelligence at its core, it offers smart analytics to guide clients in reduction strategies that can be used in the future, not only being a system of record. 

Finally, switching to sustainable vendors that focus on emissions reduction and elimination is a top priority in cutting CO2 emissions if the vendors you have aren't on a path to going green.

3. Offset carbon emissions

Setting targets that are ambitious, robust, and realistic is important in the compensation and carbon offset planning stage. It will give the company a clear set of goals as they transition into net zero. 

Offsets are a useful approach to stabilizing the environment but still being able to run a thriving business. After calculating the amount of offsets you need to contribute to, then you can make offsets in Net0's platform in one click.

With Net0's data analytics, it's easy to view all of the emissions data on one central dashboard and view offsetting options. Your company can choose from over 140 projects that the platform offers, so you can offset and reduce at the same time, building the perfect road map to net zero for your company.

list of carbon emissions offset projects

4. Get your company net zero certified

Net0 provides carbon neutral certificates to our customers which can be displayed on websites, online stores, and printed on physical products. To obtain a certificate, a company needs to be an active user of Net0 platform and demonstrate progress towards achieving carbon neutrality. Such proof of progress shall include an actionable plan to reduce emissions, as well as practical actions to offset some of the emissions in the short term. Whether end-consumers are shopping online or at the mall, the certificate can be seen by everyone, making sure the company's efforts don’t go unrecognized. 

5. Report your progress

Net0 provides a comprehensive emissions report that the company's customers can view online by following a link online or by scanning a QR code. Companies also get an investor-grade report compliant with local regulations.

Find community

Companies and other organizations across the globe have made the 2050 or 2030 commitment regardless if national or regional laws have been established yet, because they strive for a better and green future. Businesses have created road maps that are optimistic yet realistic in how they are structured with proper goals set in place. They also aren't doing it alone. With different organizations there are international communities sharing ideas and support to help others achieve net zero in every place and across industries. These communities are becoming the foundation for progress. You can find your own community for extra tips to find out more and support in the measures you take.

Final thoughts

Carbon neutrality is now achieved easier with GHG emissions management software so you can create benchmarks, make simulations, build strategies, and take action on your plans to become a carbon neutral company. 

Book a demo with one of our experts and experience the platform and how it will help your company get carbon neutral certified faster and cheaper than using outside agencies.

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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.

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