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Steps To Make Your Business Carbon-Neutral | The Certification Process

In order to make a business carbon-neutral, you need to think of it as a profit-oriented machine. With the primary and only purpose being to strive for growth — and be in favor of the shareholders’ interests. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to think ahead, take actions of your own and become carbon neutral.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the steps for a carbon-neutral business (without breaking your budget) in detail. Bear in mind, growing your business outreach and reputation is an important step in reaching your goals. But, many actions that promise immediate results don’t always deliver. Whilst, others can be very costly to implement — making them unattainable.

As an example, a recent study found that at least 77 percent of consumers actively look for a “climate-neutral” label when shopping. While over 60 percent of consumers buy only environmentally friendly products — or rather, try to do as much as possible to do so. But, if that’s the case, how do you make your business carbon-neutral?

Fortunately, there’re a few ways you can easily make your business carbon-neutral. Thus, establishing the reputation that eco-conscious consumers demand — without breaking your budget. As such, by the end of this guide, you’ll learn that these steps are very affordable. And that they have the added benefit of helping restore the environment. 

Why Make Your Business Carbon-Neutral?

There are many reasons why you need to make your business carbon-neutral. For instance, customer preferences are always changing with time. On one side, consumers are getting more and more educated about unethical business practices. Thus, there’s a new factor coming into effect that drives their decisions.

On the other side, many people prefer sustainable products too — by changing their spending to support eco-friendly businesses. But, this change in behavior doesn’t only apply to the marketplace of goods and services. It also concerns the job market. Whereby, competition can get rather intense when hiring talent, especially in the tech sector.

Emissions followed by emission reduction activity leave you with remaining emissions. When the remaining emissions are offset this is equal to zero emissions or carbon neutral. For this reason, not having a plan for sustainability can be a very great deal-breaking factor. More so, when potential team members decide which challenge to take on next.

In the end, it’s the customers and talent who will keep your company viable going into the future. Equally important, the world is constantly changing and all the progress cannot be stopped. In that case, a world with a carbon-neutral economy is inevitable.

It’s all about striving to cut emissions today means being a leader tomorrow. As well as not waiting for tedious government regulations — but taking advantage of credits/offsets and grants.

The Simple Steps To Make Your Business Carbon-Neutral

By all means, reducing your corporate footprint may be the difference between survival and dissolution. Becoming carbon-neutral involves looking at your complete operation cycles, including your supply chain. As well as identifying your footprint, reducing it, and neutralizing the impact of any remaining emissions.

These are some of the key steps to becoming a carbon-neutral company. In order to make your business carbon-neutral, you need to think of it as a profit-oriented machine. With the primary and only purpose being to strive for growth — and be in favor of the shareholders’ interests.

Therefore, it’s in your best interest to think ahead, take actions of your own and become carbon neutral. To get started, you’ll need to address some of your business supply chain driving forces. So, that you can successfully implement a long-lasting carbon-neutral strategy. Forthwith, you can consider the following operation cycles;

Measure:

The first thing is to identify your carbon footprint based on all aspects of your business, including your suppliers. And then, determine your annual CO2 emissions and where they occur. So that there’s a full understanding of your footprint.

Overall, the annual accounts can be a good starting point as the main data source.

Reduce:

By the same token, with a full understanding of your footprint, it’s possible to see where reductions can be made. The in-house impact is easier to decrease — through more efficient operations, technology, and streamlining processes.

Whilst, the supply chain is more difficult to reduce. For one thing, it may require switching to greener suppliers of materials and energy. Just like Apple has done — it’s an encouragement for others to change too.

Offset:

Notably, decreasing emissions to a zero rate may not be possible at once. However, by any means, this should not be a reason for stopping. In such situations, businesses can still find other ways to negate CO2 through other projects at their own expense.

At times, some businesses choose to support renewable energy generation — to plant or to protect forests or to replace wood or fossil fuel stoves and heaters. Especially, in economically depressed areas with cleaner options. However, it may not bring the corporate footprint down completely. But, it reduces emissions elsewhere and offsets the operational overage.

In nutshell, putting sustainability at the heart of a business, chief among them carbon neutrality, has become a goal for many organizations. Cutting carbon emissions and decreasing environmental impact across operations is now a responsible business practice.

Using renewable energy, electric vehicles, or purchasing carbon offsets are some steps being taken. There are other strategic measures to consider in order to help make your business carbon-neutral. In that case, to fully get started, you should engage the following key steps;

Step #1: Calculate Your Business Carbon Emissions 

Admittedly, this is easier said than done, but it is possible. There are many ecological footprint calculators online that offer a fast, and easy way to determine personal emissions. Unfortunately, not many of them will do this for businesses. 

Of course, the reason for this is quite understandable…. First, there are so many types of business models and operations that are creating an online calculator. But, for such carbon emission calculators to deliver accurate results, it would be extremely difficult.

Calculate Your Business Carbon Emissions

To measure your business’s carbon footprint, you’ll need to get in touch with a provider that is able to measure your footprint and ecological impact in that order. More so, based on your customized service or operation. Fortunately, this action is a step in making your company carbon-neutral, and won’t cost you a thing.

Therefore, you should try and reach out to a reputable offset provider and start with something simple, like shipping. But, for quality results, you’ll need to be fully prepared and ready to start. In that case, you’ll need to have a few things at the onset.

Consider the following key elements:
  • first, the approximate average weight of your shipping, per month. Not to mention, you can also have the yearly amount.
  • secondly, the approximate locations. For instance, is most of your shipping done domestically, or internationally?
  • last but not least, the type of shipping materials used. Such as cardboard boxes, plastics, etc.

Once you have this information, it’s relatively easy for a knowledgeable provider to calculate your carbon emissions from shipping. Then, it’s just a matter of offsetting that amount each month, which will allow you to market the fact that you have completely carbon-neutral shipping. 

Step #2: Invest In Offsets (Carbon Credits) That Erase Your Footprint

Depending on the size of your company or operation, you don’t have to offset all emissions at once. Many companies begin gradually with smaller offset programs and increase them as their budget allows. For example, you can start by getting the emissions measurement for your shipping or supply chain operations.

And then, purchase offsets to remove the greenhouse gases generated by it. Once you’ve offset your shipping, you can move on to operational emissions. For many companies, the primary generator of greenhouse gases is energy, typically electricity. But, the number of emissions from electricity can vary by state, region, and country.

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As an example, the electricity that is generated by water (hydroelectric power) has a lower footprint than electricity generated by coal (the most prominent source). What if you operate in an area that has green energy options (from solar, wind, etc.)?

Well, your energy footprint will be substantially lower. After that; don’t forget to upload your offset information to your website. More so, to let consumers know that your company is doing its part to reduce environmental and ecological impact. 

Step #3: Choose Offset Programs with the Biggest Planetary Impact 

For your information, not all offset programs have the same impact on the planet. Just because a plan is certified or verified, doesn’t mean that the emissions will be truly erased. In fact, this can be quite confusing! Why? Partially, because of those companies that operate in the voluntary carbon marketplace.

Bearing in mind, some of them are more interested in selling offsets than actually making an impact on the planet. For example, afforestation projects (planting trees where no trees existed before) are often used as carbon credits for businesses. But, many of these verified projects allow for the trees to be harvested after 20-50 years.

These sorts of credits are attractive for companies that sell lumber because they are able to plant a tree farm (one species of tree planted in rows, where there was no forest before) and then sell the carbon credits… remove/sell the trees later. 

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While any emissions reduction program is a great idea, to truly attain carbon neutrality for your business, it is much better to invest in offset programs that are working. In order to recreate entire ecosystems. Recent research shows that forests, especially, rainforests and old-growth forests, are effective carbon sinks for the planet.

Whereby, they achieve this by drawing emissions out of the atmosphere. So, consider a program that rebuilds native forests, using native seed species. As well as a high level of diversity that gives the planet a way to rebuild the areas that have been lost to clear-cutting and burning. 

Another plus is that; when done correctly, these types of reforestation projects make it possible for ‘native’ germination to occur. Basically, allowing the forest to regrow exactly the way it’s supposed to. And, as a result, other habitats and ecosystems flourish too. 

What A Carbon-Neutral Business Certification Process Entails

The best way to take climate action is to reduce our carbon emissions and then offset any residual emissions to become carbon neutral. Carbon neutrality is achieved by calculating a carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of efficiency measures in-house and supporting external emission reduction projects.

Technically, a Carbon Neutral Business Certification provides assurance that an organization is measuring its emissions, reducing them, and offsetting any residual emissions. Bearing in mind, carbon emissions created by human activity trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise and the global climate to change.

That said, The CarbonNeutral Protocol gives businesses a rigorous and transparent framework to deliver carbon neutrality for their business, products, and/or activities. You can read the Protocol by downloading the PDF of the Protocol or through the provided (carbonneutral.com) web pages. The content is identical in both places.

First developed and published in 2002, The Protocol is revised and updated annually to reflect developments in climate science, international policy, standards, and business practice. It is an open-source standard and guide developed for business by business that draws together leading independent standards for greenhouse gas.

While, at the same time, accounting for a practical guide to carbon neutrality. Read more about the background to the Protocol in the Introduction, the terms they use in the Glossary, or the simple step into the core requirements for achieving CarbonNeutral® certification by clicking on the illustrative guide for the five steps to achieving your certification below.

The certification process rundown:

  • Define: The very first step is to clearly define the subject that will be certified CarbonNeutral®. The subject is the entity, product, or activity being certified CarbonNeutral® and may be distinct from the client.
  • Measure: In this step, you’ll need to measure the subject’s GHG emissions and provide a complete and accurate GHG inventory over a relevant timescale.
  • Target: This step is for you to confirm a target of carbon-neutral GHG emissions for the period of the certification to be delivered through internal abatement of GHG emissions and the retirement of environmental instruments to compensate for unabated emissions. The aim is to ensure clients get business value from clear, ambitious, and immediate action on carbon emissions, and effective and efficient emissions reductions are stimulated by the presence of a carbon-neutral target.
  • Reduce: This is where you’ll need to take actions that abate emissions within the subject and which fully compensate for unabated emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. Scope 1 emission reductions are delivered through cost-effective energy and process efficiencies, and the introduction of low/ zero-carbon technologies. Scope 2 reductions are delivered by switching to, or procuring, renewable energy. Scope 3 reductions are achieved through partnerships with suppliers, changing suppliers using low/zero-carbon technologies, and redesigning products and services so they use fewer emissions in the use and disposal phases. Unabated Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions are offset through the purchase and retirement of qualifying environmental instruments – specifically carbon credits.
  • Communicate: The fifth and last step is to provide accurate and transparent information on how CarbonNeutral® certification is achieved. As public pressure for action on climate change grows, so does scrutiny of companies’ climate action, coming from a range of stakeholders. Including individuals, campaigns, NGOs and other civil society organizations, and authorities that regulate consumer-facing advertising and marketing claims. This part of the certification is important to proactively address and respond to that increased scrutiny.

Summary Thoughts:

Eventually, as more and more consumers search for products and services that promote environmental responsibility, moving your business to a carbon-neutral plan can help attract new buyers and clients, and make a difference for the planet. 

In other words, making your business carbon-neutral doesn’t have to break your budget. To be safe, take some time to investigate your rate and level of carbon emissions. As you invest in carbon offset solutions that offer real, lasting benefits. And, by so doing, you can ensure that your reputation as an eco-conscious company is firmly solidified.  

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Calculating your footprint and understanding your ecological footprint are crucial steps in lowering your carbon emissions. It means taking responsibility for the ecological impact your daily life is having – the ecological footprint we’re all contributing to. It’s a nasty consequence of modern life.

Fortunately, calculating your personal footprint takes only a couple of minutes, and offsetting your carbon footprint is easier than ever before. Take responsibility. All you need to do is act — calculate yours through 8billiontrees today!

Finally, if you need more support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can sort you out. You can also share your different opinions, thoughts, suggestions, contributions, or even related questions in the comments section below.

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