What’s the difference between a carbon neutral, carbon negative and carbon positive business?

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You've seen it in the news, and you've heard Greta Thunberg's speech. Climate change is plaguing the world, which is why several big-time companies have been looking for green energy solutions. Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is creating a blanket of gas and trapping heat. Consequently, it changes the global climate. 

According to the scientific community, our planet's temperature already rose by 1-degree centigrade. If we don't do anything about carbon emissions, temperatures will continue to rise. The results of this would be catastrophic for us. Thus, with more carbon than nature can re-absorb, we must take urgent measures to bring down emissions.

Climate Change Survey

Source: Statista

Based on a survey conducted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK, 76% had concerns about climate change. 30% of whom believe human activity mainly causes climate change. These statistics come as no surprise since the UK has been one of the countries that continuously look for green energy solutions. In fact, there has been a decrease in its greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions. From 707.5 to 451.5 MtCO2e, it reduced to 558.3 to 365.7 MtCO2e respectively.

What are companies doing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions?

Many of today's big-time companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are doing their best to prove their commitment towards green energy solutions. Apple is powering many of its retail stores, offices, data centres with 100% clean energy. Amazon, whose corporate carbon footprint rivals that of some small nations, promises to use all renewable electricity by 2030. 

Recently, Microsoft announced its intention to be carbon negative by 2030. They understand the need for the world to reach net zero. That is why they are taking steps to help further this goal and hopefully remove their carbon footprint in the long run.

With thousands of companies committing to helping the world reach net zero, many are wondering what constitutes net zero, carbon neutral and other kinds of definitions. These are the terms you can commonly find in discussions about emissions reductions. 

What is net zero?

When companies refer to achieving net zero, this means balancing any carbon dioxide emissions from its activities by removing an equivalent amount.

What is carbon neutral?

Carbon neutral pertains to activity that releases net zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It allows companies to measure the amount of carbon they release and offsetting it with a reduction in emissions.

What is carbon positive?

Many organizations commonly use this marketing term, which causes a lot of confusion. A similar term for this is climate positive. This means that a company activity goes beyond achieving net zero. This helps create an environmental benefit because it removes additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

What is carbon negative?

Carbon negative means the same thing as carbon positive and climate positive. These three are interchangeable terms in many companies. Thus, it also requires companies to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits.

By understanding the concepts mentioned above, you'll see that they all have the same objective. This is to make a substantial difference in the carbon footprint of a business.

How do you apply a carbon accounting framework?

According to C40 Cities' Climate Positive Development Program, for businesses who want to apply concepts or initiatives such as carbon negative in their products, there are things you should consider.

1) First is to compute the total carbon footprint of the product. This includes everything, be it the energy required to produce a product to the emissions associated with production.

2) You should determine the emissions factor. For company activities, assigning emissions factors are a must. These pertain to each activity's potential to increase global warming (GWP). You'll need to measure the GWP of each activity and convert it to a carbon dioxide measurement.  

3) After computing the total emissions and carbon footprint, your company will know how much they need to counteract the emissions. 

4) You can then decide what your initiative would be. It can be carbon neutral, which refers to taking measures to bring zero total emissions. Or it can be carbon negative or climate positive, which means taking a step beyond and removing carbon from the atmosphere.

What are the classifications of the emissions scopes?

Microsoft breaks the emissions scopes into three categories. This is to determine which emissions scopes will fully cover a company's activities. First would be Scope 1 emissions, which are those direct emissions that your activities produce. These are under the control of your corporate entity. It can be fuel consumption, for instance. Scope 2 refers to those indirect emissions generated from electricity or heat. Lastly, Scope 3 pertains to all other indirect emissions. 

Eco energy is rising in popularity. With big-time companies taking the lead, various businesses are pursuing green energy solutions. The world is suffering from climate change, and many are becoming more aware of this fact. That is why if you want to help save the environment and earth itself, you should consider switching to green energy solutions. At EnergyBilKill, you can find several energy suppliers providing renewable energy sources.

Let us help each other reach net zero carbon emissions. As business owners, you can be more socially responsible and aware of how your activities are impacting the environment. Thus, consider switching today by downloading our app. You can get comparable quotes and rates and start your journey to a greener business. The app is available for Android and iOS users. 

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