Anthropogenic climate change has been called the defining challenge of our time.
The burning of fossil fuels, among other activities, is emitting massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These emissions trap heat, changing the climate and increasing the severity and frequency of natural disasters and extreme weather events.
The business world is responsible for a large proportion of global emissions. One way to help reduce the environmental impact of a business is to become climate neutral. In this post, we explain what climate neutrality is, how you can become climate neutral, describe some climate neutral certifications, and showcase a group of climate neutral companies that you have almost certainly heard of.
What does climate neutral mean?
Climate neutrality is achieved by balancing the amount of emissions generated with the Earth's natural capacity of to absorb them.
Climate neutrality is not necessarily about zero emissions. Instead, it is about reducing our current global emissions to the point where we reach a balance between our emissions and the absorptive capacity of the Earth. Individual citizens and organizations can resort to offsetting what they cannot reduce with carbon offsets (or certified emissions reductions): a unit represents emissions that were reduced or avoided.
At the business level, climate neutral means understanding your emissions, taking steps to reduce them wherever possible, and purchasing carbon offsets for the rest. This is generally done annually. Third parties (see below) verify the measurements, emissions calculations, and purchase of offsets.
How does a company become climate neutral?
There are essentially four steps to becoming carbon neutral:
- Measure your emissions and calculate your carbon footprint
- Reduce emissions with voluntary initiatives (such as energy efficiency or renewable energy)
- Purchase carbon offsets
- (optional) Get certified by a third party
You can do this yourself, or you can hire a third party like Circle to help you perform these steps.
Carbon neutral programs for businesses
UN Climate Neutral Now
Climate Neutral Now is an initiative launched by UN Climate Change in 2015 to encourage everyone in society to take action to help achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
To avoid the worst effects of climate change, science tells us that we must limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is also the central goal of the Paris Agreement. To achieve this objective, relying solely on governmental action will not be sufficient. We all have a role to play.
Circle is one of only 21 official global partners to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) initiative, and the only partner in Canada.
As a Global Resource Partner, you can trust in our ability to accurately measure your carbon footprint, make recommendations for reducing it, and offsetting the remainder. These services have been validated at the highest level.
Climate Neutral Certified
Launched by Kickstarter, Climate Neutral is an independent non-profit organization working to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world. Climate Neutral believes that brands, together with their consumers, can lead the transition to a low-carbon economy by placing a price on carbon within their business.
SCS Carbon Neutral
SCS offers service options to achieve carbon neutrality that include establishing your product carbon footprints and guidance on purchasing verified carbon offsets from credible sources and that align with your company’s mission. Demonstrate market leadership for your products through their carbon neutrality certification label based upon the international recognized standard PAS 2060 or the Carbon Neutral Protocol.
EcoLabel Carbon Neutral
A Carbon Neutral Certification is a label given to businesses that offset their Scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint. Verus Carbon Neutral first calculates the carbon footprint of a business wanting to be Carbon Neutral Certified. They then offset the carbon footprint by retiring carbon credits. Offsetting allows businesses to mitigate the greenhouse gases they are unable eliminate through energy efficiencies and other reduction strategies.
Examples of carbon neutral companies
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Every day new companies make the decision to take responsibility for their environmental impacts and become climate neutral.
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Climate neutral tech companies
Climate neutral banks & insurance companies
- BNP Paribas
- Wells Fargo
Climate neutral retail companies
- Levi Strauss & Co
- Home Depot
Climate neutral entertainment companies
- Olympic Games
Climate neutral food companies
- Maple Leaf Foods
- Whole Foods
- Coca Cola
Climate neutral travel companies
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Alaska Airlines