Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. Achieving net zero carbon emissions means that any remaining emissions are offset by activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The goal of net zero is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
How can an organisation become net zero?
An organisation can become net zero by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, and then offsetting any remaining emissions through activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Here are a few ways an organization can reduce emissions:
- Energy efficiency: Implementing energy-efficient practices and technologies, such as LED lighting and building insulation, can help reduce the amount of energy an organisation needs to operate.
- Renewable energy: Switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, can help an organisation reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
- Transportation: Encouraging employees to use public transportation, carpool, or bike to work, as well as switching the company fleet to electric can help reduce transportation-related emissions.
- Supply chain: Encouraging suppliers and partners to reduce their own emissions can help an organisation reduce its overall emissions footprint.
To offset remaining emissions, an organisation can invest in carbon offset projects, such as reforestation or carbon sequestration, that remove or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An organisation can also purchase carbon credits from verified carbon offset projects, like those certified by the Verified Carbon Standard or other standards such as the Woodland Carbon Code or the Organic Carbon Code.
It is important to note that becoming net zero is a continuous process of reducing emissions, offsetting, and monitoring progress. It also requires transparency in measuring, reporting and verifying emissions data.
What steps do I need to take?
To achieve net zero, an organisation needs to quantify its impact, develop an action plan to reduce emissions, and identify a solution to offset emissions that cannot be reduced.