Carbon Neutrality: The Basics

Carbon Neutrality is key to fight climate change

Carbon Neutrality: The Basics

While it’s a complex process, achieving carbon neutrality is essential for both protecting the planet and being an environmentally responsible business.

Carbon Neutrality – What Does It Mean for Your Business?

Carbon dioxide is the single most devastating greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. As levels of carbon dioxide rise so does the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere. It leads to higher and higher temperatures around the world. The result is an increase in the speed at which the polar ice caps are melting. Carbon neutrality is defined by Webopedia as, “a term used to describe the action of organizations, businesses, and individuals taking action to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as each puts into it. The overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero carbon footprint.” This is certainly a mouth-full to say that carbon neutrality is the right target for an organization: 0 (Zero) Carbon-emission overall.

How Do You Achieve Carbon Neutrality?

Achieving carbon neutrality is more difficult than it sounds. In order to do so, you must first know your carbon footprint – the amount of carbon your business puts into the atmosphere each year. This goes beyond knowing how much electricity your store uses. It touches on all aspects of business operation, from shipping to marketing and advertising. Virtually every activity a business engages in releases of carbon dioxide. Shipping products to your store creates vehicle exhaust. Printing a brochure involves felling trees and the use of printing machinery, as well as vehicles to get the brochures to your location. These are just the smallest examples.

Carbon neutrality is achieved by eliminating as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as your organization puts into it. There are several ways that you can do that. For instance, installing solar panels on your store reduces the amount of electricity you draw from the grid. Smart shipping methods reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and equipment. Planting trees helps absorb carbon now and over the long term.

Another way of reducing one’s carbon footprint is to acquire carbon offsets. While this method is sometimes more controversial (as this is not an incentive to reduce carbon emissions), this is still a possible way. A carbon offset is a way to subtract carbon from an organization’s total carbon account. It really works like a bank account where carbon offsets would be credit you put in the account and carbon emission, debits in that account. As a result, as long as your account is positive then you will achieve carbon neutrality.


Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

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