Explainer: What is carbon neutrality, and can it really be achieved?

(Eco Business, 13 Jan 2020) From banks to builders, more companies are going carbon neutral. Carbon offsetting is not without controversy, but in cases where sustainability can only be approached and not achieved, it may be the appropriate way to balance out emissions.

The term “carbon neutral” is being increasingly slung around alongside phrases like “net zero emissions”. 

From paint manufacturers and the livestock industry, to banks and developers, more corporations in diverse industries are announcing plans to go carbon neutral.

It’s a simple enough idea: the sum of all the greenhouse gases that you put into and take out of the atmosphere should balance out to zero. But in practice, it’s proven to be a confusing and divisive concept. Eco-Business breaks down the basics behind carbon neutrality.

Why go carbon neutral?

In theory, a carbon-neutral version of a product or service is better for the environment than its carbon-producing equivalent. 

For organisations that understand the triple-bottom line (social, environmental and financial) impact of greenhouse gas emissions, that’s reason enough to work towards carbon neutrality.

For those that don’t, increasing consumer and voter concern with climate change may force their hand. 

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Eco Business, 13 Jan 2020: Explainer: What is carbon neutrality, and can it really be achieved?