From COP21 and with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, a growing number of nations and companies have committed themselves to effectively combat climate change and to pursue the common goal of Carbon Neutrality.
But what does it really mean for a company to achieve the so-called carbon neutrality? And why should an enterprise consider its commitment to the transition to a Carbon Neutral economy?
What does Carbon Neutrality mean?
Climate neutrality is the point at which emissions of effect gas do not exceed the earth's capacity to absorb such emissions. To achieve climate neutrality, we need to measure our emissions and consequently reduce them. In fact, despite all the possible efforts undertaken, it is not possible to avoid some emissions deriving from daily activities or industrial processes.
For this reason, offsetting and insetting, to be adopted only after measures of measurement and reduction of emissions, represent one of the key activities for achieving climate neutrality.
In particular, when we talk about insetting, we refer to all investments in projects to reduce carbon emissions (measurable and certifiable) within the production chain of the company or the communities associated with it, creating a positive impact on the environment, the community and natural resources; for offsetting, on the other hand, we mean all investments in mitigation projects outside the company system, using certified carbon credits recognized by the main international standards and climate agreements.
Carbon Neutrality: a significant opportunity for the private sector
Making a concrete commitment to achieving a low carbon economy and implementing an ad hoc strategy to combat climate change is no longer just an opportunity for companies, but is increasingly becoming a question of competitiveness.
The pressure from investors and consumers is increasing exponentially for an effective and long-term Climate Action, a trend that reflects the growing number of organizations that in recent years have committed themselves to reduce their emissions and implement a mitigation strategy in line with your business.
One of the fundamental and priority points of the "Global Warming of 1.5 ° C", the Report by the IPCC, is the need to completely decarbonise our economies, since the Report has shown that the world emissions produced by man have reached the their historical high in 2010, resulting in 49 billion tons of CO2. There is talk of an increase of 1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year released into the atmosphere.
Climate change is a global issue and the action of governments and institutions is not enough: this means that the private sector can play a major role in the fight against climate change by concentrating the activities of reducing emissions into low-cost options and in the conscious choice of financing in line with the company objectives and mission.
Concrete solutions for achieving Carbon Neutrality and sustainable development
There are numerous initiatives that move with the hope of a concrete transition to a Carbon Neutral world. These include the Science Based Target (SBT) initiative, an initiative promoted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the World Resource Institute (WRI) and the WWF, to enable companies to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
Science Based Target is part of a large group of initiatives aimed at achieving Carbon Neutrality, including:
- We Mean Business: works with the major companies at global level in order to direct them towards more effective environmental policies and accelerate the transition towards a "low-carbon" economy.
Supply Change: it is a global data aggregation platform that tracks commitments and progress towards the elimination of deforestation caused by the procurement of certain goods mainly palm, soy, timber and livestock, through their supply chains.
RE100: an initiative that brings together over 100 large companies globally, engaged in the use of 100% energy from renewable sources as well as working to incentivize the request and improve its distribution.
Climate Neutral Now: represents a growing movement of companies and governments that are committed to reducing emissions and pursuing a "climate-neutral" future.
That there are substantial economic and development benefits deriving from climate action, companies, and others, have understood this, but it is not enough: we need a stronger climate action, capable of accelerating the transition towards a zero carbon in all sectors.