‘Carbon Neutral, Net Zero, Climate+’
Globally we are all becoming more environmentally aware and across the world governments are setting out their climate change objectives. We are now seeing the requirement for the business community to establish its own plans for reducing and eliminating carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. This may be a moral, cultural, or strategic objective for the business or because it is a requirement to meet your supply chain commitments.
But what does it all mean?
Firstly, there are several different climate action terms that are used and over the next few years we can expect to see many more come out as organisations try to demonstrate their commitment to environmental improvement and leverage their company’s image. Here are three that are currently widely used:
This means that an organisation has calculated its carbon footprint (generally based on CO2 emissions), committed to not increasing its emissions and that it has achieved carbon reduction through carbon offsetting.
This means that an organisation has calculated its carbon footprint (generally based on CO2 and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions) and that it has achieved carbon reduction as far as reasonably practicable through environmental initiatives and organisational changes and has offset the remaining amount of carbon produced
Climate ‘Positive’ or Carbon ‘Negative’ means that an organisation has calculated its carbon footprint (generally based on CO2 and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions) and that it has achieved carbon reduction as far as reasonably practicable through environmental initiatives and organisational changes. Once achieved the organisation offsets the remaining amount of carbon and increases this investment to offset at least 10% more carbon than is produced. The Organisation therefore removes more carbon from the environment than the organisation creates.
Some other important terms used are as follows: –
Is a reduction or removal of emissions of carbon dioxide and / or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Offsets are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The three ‘classes’ of emissions sources identified in the Green House Gas Protocol corporate standard
Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
Scope 1 – covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
Scope 2 – covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company.
Scope 3 – includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.
CO2 and GHG Emissions
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common GHG emitted by human activities, in terms of the quantity released and the total impact on global warming. There are 23 other Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emitted that have global warming potential such as Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Fluorinated Gases, etc..
For a useful full glossary of terms related to the concepts associated with voluntary climate action click here
How can you achieve this?
In order to achieve Carbon Neutrality, Net Zero or Climate+ first you will need to calculate your Organisations Carbon Footprint against the criteria set for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Once your carbon footprint has been calculated you are able to determine the following: –
- Your most significant Carbon and GHG Emissions
- Your total Emissions
- The areas where you can make improvements
An action plan should then be established for the reduction of carbon and GHG emissions and also to prevent the increase of emissions.
Once this is complete a suitable carbon offsetting scheme can be identified whether this is re-planting of trees, provision of water resources to prevent scarcity in third world countries or plastic recycling in Europe. You should research the credentials of the scheme and ensure it is both ethical and meets the strategic aspirations of your business and then the requisite amount of carbon reduction can be purchased.
How can I verify or certify my achievement?
There are several options an organisation can use to demonstrate that they have achieved carbon neutrality, net zero or climate+:
- ISO 14001 – Provides a framework for determining Environmental Impacts and Aspects. Carbon Foot-printing can be reported as part of performance evaluation and the action plan can be driven through objectives. This will provide certification of an environmental management system within your scope of certification, but not directly for carbon neutrality, net zero or climate +
- PAS 2060 – Is the standard for Carbon Neutrality and is an internationally recognised standard designed to verify the accuracy of carbon neutrality claims and help companies achieve true carbon neutrality through earnest means. This follows a similar certification process to ISO 14001 with regards using a certification body. This standard defines four key stages to carbon neutrality – measurement, reduction, offsetting and documentation. This provides the independent verification element of the carbon foot printing which ISO 14001 does not so will work for all three iterations of carbon reduction
- ISO 14067 / ISO 14064 – The ISO 14067 standard provides a framework for the carbon calculation of products allowing organisations to quantify and report the carbon footprint of its products and this can be implemented hand in hand with ISO 14064 Parts 1-3. These provide details on quantification and verification of GHG emissions at organisation (part 1), project level (part 2) and verification and validation of statements (part 3). Some Certification Bodies offer a verification statement after audit, but not certification as with the other standards detailed above.
- Carbon Offsetting – Most carbon offsetting companies will provide certification to confirm the amount of Carbon offsetting you have purchased, usually based on tonnes. This certification is evidence of offsetting but in this process, there is no verification of the calculations to reach the offsetting figure
And what are the benefits?
There are many benefits to understanding your Carbon Footprint and becoming Cardon Neutral, Net Zero or Climate + as follows:-
- The first of these is that you are helping to save the planet and reduce emissions
- Staff Engagement – Get your staff involved and this will make a real difference to your business with greater engagement as a company that cares
- Recruitment – People want to work for ethically and morally responsible companies
- Clients – Clients and Customers want to work with ethically and morally responsible organisation
- Supporting your Clients – Your clients and customers are no doubt being asked to demonstrate similar through the supply chain by achieving this you are supporting them which will lead to client retention
- Supporting your image and reputation – It is great marketing collateral
- Winning tenders – As more tenders are asking for carbon Foot printing credentials this will support securing work
How can Functio Support You?
At Functio we offer a range of Environmental Consultancy services together with our existing ISO Services as follows:
- Calculate your Carbon Footprint for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
- Develop and implement an ISO 14001 Energy Management System and support with certification by a UKAS Accredited Certification body
- Develop and implement a PAS 2060 management system and either provide an independent verification statement that you are working in line and have achieved the requirements of PAS 2060 or support with certification with a Certification Body
- Develop and implement a management system in line with ISO 14064 and ISO 14067 and either provide an independent verification statement that you are working in line and have achieved the requirements or support with a Verification Statement from a Certification Body
- Support you in identifying the correct Carbon Offsetting scheme based on ethical sourcing and the strategic direction of your business.
- We can provide an independent verification statement of your Carbon footprint calculations and carbon offsetting to confirm you have reached Carbon Neutrality, Net Zero or Climate + outside of any recognised standards.
If you would like to discuss how you achieve Carbon Neutrality, Net Zero or Climate + or become certified to an environmental standard please contact us