What is carbon neutrality and how can one achieve it?

Balance carbon emission and offset to achieve carbon neutrality

What is carbon neutrality and how can one achieve it?

Carbon neutrality is essentially bringing your carbon footprint account to zero.


What is a carbon neutrality?  In order to understand the concept of carbon neutrality, you need to understand the idea of a carbon footprint.  Your business’ carbon footprint is its total carbon emissions and its responsibility in that regard.  For example, if your office has low carbon emissions, but your trucks are shipping all over the country emitting carbon into the atmosphere, then you cannot say that you, as a business, have a small carbon footprint. Carbon neutrality is a term that refers to the concept of balancing your business’ carbon emissions by “crediting” and offsetting the carbon.  A very basic example for this might be planting trees to produce CO2 after using fossil fuels.  The idea is that you are creating a credit and debit system.  Moreover, a business might fund renewable energy research or take other measures to offset their carbon emissions.  The idea of carbon neutrality is bringing your carbon footprint “account” to zero.

How do you know what your carbon footprint is?  You will need to measure it with carbon accounting and, thus, find out what exactly it is that you have to offset.  You can’t possibly bring your account to zero until you know where your account actually stands.  Think of it as you would losing weight.  If you love to eat, but want to lose weight, what do you need to do? Exercise and burn calories.  For every calorie you take in, you must balance it by burning a calorie.  The same concept applies to carbon emissions.

How do you account for your carbon?  Well, you can try to calculate it by yourself, but that can be a bit complicated and involved for the average business owner. That said, there are software programs that you can purchase and consultants who will be glad to help you.  Though some criticize carbon neutrality and feel that you aren’t truly restoring balance, you would certainly be of better service to the environment if you were working toward “zero” rather than doing nothing.

Photo by Flo P on Unsplash

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