Ok, but isn’t offsetting greenwashing? Or will it become the norm?
Greenwashing is when companies present themselves as ‘green’ to hide their true impact.
Offsetting does not make you ‘green’, in part because this is a super vague term. Offsetting is the act of cleaning up after yourself. It is becoming the norm for business emissions that cannot be avoided any other way. It is the most cost effective, and fastest means of reaching carbon neutrality.
This is a delicate topic, but one that we’re very excited to explore in more detail in our coming insight posts.
Gotcha. So what is carbon-neutrality? Is it different from net-zero?
Carbon neutral means all your emissions are offset elsewhere. This could be in the form of paying for others to choose not to emit, such as cookstoves. It could be subsiding the cost of renewable energy where coal or oil is the cost-effective option. Tree planting is very popular, but sequestering carbon takes decades.
Imagine, if you will, the single most polluting business in the world. If they were to offset every single emission, they would become carbon neutral. And that’s a good thing! Yet, despite this, you can see why one might not respect the suggestion they are 'green'. It’s not quite the same.
Net Zero refers to when a company removes as much carbon as it emits. This means offsets that avoid emissions are out. As a result, it is more ambitious, costs more, but is a cut above for our environmental footprint. There is still work to be done reaching a totally unambiguous definition, if you wish to explore the nuances.
After neutrality, one can aim for net-zero, and then it's a small jump to carbon negativity.
Carbon negativity? Is this where we discuss carbon capture?
Carbon negativity is when your methods of decarbonising have been so successful you are having a positive footprint. Or rather, a minus footprint! You are removing more than you emit. For context, Microsoft wish to meet their negative goal by 2030. After 20 years of carbon negativity, they will have offset their entire emissions history. Right now, they are trend setters, but expect this to grow.
As for carbon capture, it is an innovative (and expensive) solution for preventing the release of CO2 at source. This means it is never released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. This still poses significant scientific challenges. Imagine capturing the CO2, transporting it to a storage location (usually deep underground) and isolating it. The carbon still needs to live somewhere. Innovators and scientists are working to devise various methods of breaking it down once in storage, such as bacteria!
Speaking of reductions, what strategies can we implement to reduce our footprint that works for us?
The easiest way to reduce travel emissions is simple to reduce your travel. We are huge advocates of longer trips, less often. This can often reduce your entire emissions footprint by a third!
If you're looking for something a little more data-driven, that where our calculator shines. At the click of a button you can analyse your travel data. Our data analysts can transform your carbon-neutral strategy with targeted recommendations.
When flying, one big trend we’ll be discussing is sustainable aviation fuel, also known as SAF. Created from natural biological matter and injected straight into regular fuel, it cuts the emissions immediately. The challenge here is it is also a premium solution at present, due to lack of availability and the production method. As with carbon capture, many incredible innovators, like our friends at Neste, are working non-stop to inject SAF into your next flight.
What if no one in my organisation believes / cares about environmental impact?
Well, that’s tough. The science is irrefutable, but explaining this rarely wins an argument. We like to lead with the positive stats. Fighting climate change right now will create 80 million jobs, bring 1 billion people out of poverty and add US$ 2.3 trillion in productive growth (via Conservation International). Going green may be a journey to save our planet, but it will help you win customers, and grow your business.
What the world needs now isn’t talk, it's action. Every step to decarbonisation is a positive step for your business. Here in our new blog, we'll be demonstrating that. We'll be showcasing success stories. We'll be delivering data. Together, we can ensure our actions need not cost the earth.