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What are the differences between net-zero and carbon neutral?

Climate change has remained in the headlines for several years now, with a string of worldwide natural disasters and the COP26 summit making headlines across the globe.

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Businesses are under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon emissions, publish green policies and clean up their company goals. However, there are a couple of different methods through which businesses can create and advertise their green strategy.

Net zero carbon vs carbon neutral: What’s the difference?

Although both phrases sound similar, each involves slightly different approaches to a company’s green strategy and can have differing outcomes.

The net zero carbon definition refers to a strategic goal of reducing carbon emissions across the business, through methods such as removing carbon from current processes or capturing carbon within the atmosphere. Any carbon emissions that remain being produced by the company will then be offset, if required.

Carbon neutrality, on the other hand, involves a balancing approach for the entire carbon emissions produced, with the aim of being equal to carbon offsetting. Carbon neutral strategies do not set out to necessarily reduce the current level of emissions by the business.

Both approaches result in a commitment by businesses to become more carbon aware and therefore not to increase their carbon emissions further, instead aiming for carbon neutral net zero status.

What are the benefits of a carbon strategy for businesses?

Going green is a worldwide trend that is gathering plenty of momentum, and businesses without a decarbonisation strategy will soon be left behind. Eco-friendly customers may choose to use competitor businesses whose green credentials align more closely with their own, and companies who have yet to make carbon pledges will ultimately lose trade and damage their reputation. 

With the current energy crisis that the UK is facing due to Brexit, the conflict in Ukraine and Russia closing Nord Stream 1, which is forecasted to last for many years and create a massive business risk for UK organisations, is an incentive to act now to reduce carbon emissions as this will allow organisations to reduce their ever-increasing business costs.

Do net zero or carbon neutral strategies go far enough?

As discussed, the goal to become carbon neutral does not require a company to make an active effort in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and therefore could be seen as for marketing purposes only.

Net zero commitments, on the other hand, mean that companies have set out to make a reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by changing habits and behaviours. This may be through a reduction in travel which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, or a change of production processes with greener credentials.

How can Energy Impact help your business?

Energy Impact can assist with improving the energy performance of your company through structured energy strategies. We have joined up with a variety of partners to help your business not only save money but also to reduce the overall energy usage, saving the planet.

Contact us today to discuss tailored solutions that can help meet your business’ decarbonisation strategies.

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