Carbon neutrality, or offsetting emissions, defines the balance between the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions we produce and the emissions we offset.
Experts agree that it’s essential to know the amount of GHG we emit through our activities over a year. Then, we must fund carbon emission reduction projects that have offset as many tons of GHG as we have emitted over the year, so that our net carbon footprint becomes zero.
To become carbon-neutral, purchasing carbon credits is necessary. Each carbon credit represents one ton of GHG (in carbon dioxide equivalent), which helps to offset the ton emitted by these activities. This purchase involves the withdrawal of carbon from sale.
The concept of carbon neutrality does not inherently imply reducing emissions on a global scale; however, at Will Solutions, we strongly recommend setting internal reduction targets for your direct and indirect emissions. This includes energy-related emissions, before offsetting your GHG emissions. This will enable you to adhere to the best practices in terms of climate mitigation hierarchy.
The importance of carbon neutrality
Understanding what is carbon neutral is crucial, as carbon neutrality holds significant importance in the climate context. It allows for the offsetting of residual or incompressible greenhouse gas emissions. These are emissions that an organization or individual will continue to emit despite implementing all feasible carbon emission reduction projects or initiatives.
Thus, the goal of carbon neutrality goes beyond mere carbon reductions by funding the development of concrete carbon reduction solutions carried out by other stakeholders in society, contributing to a broader environmental impact strategy.
Why must we all achieve carbon neutrality?
To mitigate global warming and protect our ecosystems, it is crucial to reduce our emissions and then compensate for our residual carbon footprint on a large scale. This will mitigate our impact on the climate.
Numerous economic indicators highlight the cost of inaction on climate change. Among these is the social cost of fossil fuels. Some costs are gradual, such as the expenses for air conditioning buildings; others are sudden and dramatic, like:
- the costs incurred by a hurricane
- the loss of agricultural plantations due to drought
All these are significant aspects of climate impact.
Carbon neutrality, focusing on reducing a company’s carbon neutral footprint, including carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, is a clear, impactful commitment. It demonstrates a company’s dedication to decarbonizing society and the business world, where eco-responsibility is increasingly valued.
Consumers, more than ever, seek products and services contributing to a smaller carbon neutral footprint, being environmentally friendly. This trend is evident in cities and among businesses investing in carbon offsets and energy-efficient materials. According to a 2020 McKinsey study, over 60% of end consumers are willing to pay more for ethical, sustainable products.
Thus, companies with eco-responsible positioning, mindful of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, enjoy benefits like:
- new market acquisition
- high customer loyalty
- better profit margins
Investors and stakeholders view carbon-neutral commitments, especially those involving carbon offsets, favorably.
For individuals, carbon neutrality offers a simple, immediate, and effective means of contributing to a stable and prosperous climate. In an era of climate disasters and dire predictions about the future of our climate, nature, and humanity, climate action is one of the best ways to mitigate eco-anxiety, protect mental health, and restore optimism and the ability to unite.
Every action counts! Together, we make a difference.
Various ways to achieve carbon neutrality
Firstly, it’s essential to assess your annual carbon dioxide emissions to effectively offset them. For individuals, various emission calculators are available to estimate your annual net carbon footprint. Then, there are different solutions to become carbon-neutral:
- Offsetting Emissions with Local Quebec Projects: At Will Solutions, we offer 100% Canadian carbon credits, derived from local enterprise reduction projects (for example, installing renewable energy sources or optimizing the energy efficiency of buildings). As a business, you can contribute to the development of innovative ecological projects by other Canadian companies! You support the achievement of a prosperous and decarbonized local economy! Finally, Will Solutions provides a carbon-neutral certification in Quebec upon request following your purchase
- Offsetting Emissions Over Several Years: We also offer businesses the option to offset their carbon emissions over several years. This allows you to purchase carbon credits at a lower average price than in the coming years. Indeed, the selling price of carbon credits has been increasing since 2019, and demand is expected to exceed supply by 2030, which will further drive up prices. Our large-volume carbon inventory will meet your quantitative needs
- Offsetting Emissions Through Tree Planting: If you prefer to offset your carbon footprint through natural sequestration, our partner Carbon Boréal offers local carbon credits that fund tree planting in the Quebec boreal forest
How can businesses achieve carbon neutrality?
Once your company has measured its annual carbon footprint, including carbon dioxide emissions, initiated carbon emission reduction projects, and compensated for remaining emissions. You can start communicating about your journey on how to become a carbon neutral business!
However, there are some best practices to implement when communicating about carbon neutrality:
- The carbon offset credit should be derived from verified methodologies (the most well-known being Verra, Gold Standard, or American Carbon Registry), ensuring your company’s service towards carbon neutrality is credible
- Specify in dedicated communications how the emission assessment was conducted, as well as the measurement scope (emission calculation method, calculation perimeter, scopes, standard used, year, etc.), to inform your customers and stakeholders transparently
- Mention the year or years for which the company is/has committed to being emission neutral and achieving carbon neutrality
- If carbon neutrality does not cover all of the company’s emissions, explicitly state this (brand, business segment, specific product or service, etc.), to maintain transparency with your customers
- Demonstrate respect for the mitigation hierarchy (emission assessment, emission reduction, then emission compensation) through prior or simultaneous efforts to reduce carbon emissions, including carbon dioxide
- Communicate about the type of carbon project financed by the purchase, and why the company chose a particular project, to showcase your commitment to customers and stakeholders
- If the size, resources, and capacity of your company allow, consider committing to the Net Zero 2030 or 2050 targets. These are more ambitious but also more stringent and complex to implement (generally suited for larger enterprises), and will further your company’s service in the realm of carbon neutrality
By doing so, you will greatly maximize the media and economic impact for your company, and you might even inspire your stakeholders to take action themselves!
Offset your carbon footprint with renewable energy
Offsetting your carbon footprint with renewable energy is very straightforward! Through our aggregation of over 850 micro-projects, you can support energy conversion projects such as: the installation of geothermal systems, solar panels, or the conversion of natural gas to electricity.
5 challenges to overcome to become carbon neutral
As previously mentioned, there are certain challenges in becoming carbon-neutral. To summarize, these include:
- Choosing a project verified by a recognized registrar, like Verra (verifiable and verified carbon credit)
- Adhering to the decarbonization prioritization: first measure, then reduce, and finally offset
- Supporting a carbon project that aligns with the company’s ESG policy and values. The project can then serve as a flagship for the company’s eco-responsible commitment
- Considering the locality of the supported carbon project: climate challenges, quality standards, and co-benefits vary depending on the location. Additionally, a company may wish to focus on contributing to projects located in the country or region of its business activities
- Communicating clearly and precisely about the duration and scope of the carbon-neutral commitment (the entire company, a single product, carbon-neutral until 2030, etc.)
Curious to explore our comprehensive range of carbon services at Will Solutions? Discover all our carbon services here and take the first step towards a sustainable future today!
Author and editor
Digital Marketing and Communications Manager