There are a lot of terms used by businesses & organisations across the planet that sound the same, or can make it confusing to understand just what they are trying to do for sustainability and the planet. It’s confusing for us who have done the research, so how is anyone else expected to understand?
At Honest Supplies we want to help you cut through the jargon and understand what the terms mean. As only by understanding the climate crisis can we act together and make real change.
Carbon Neutral, Carbon Offset, Climate Neutrality, Negative Emissions, & Net Zero Emissions. They all sound the same but they do mean different things, and require massively different amounts of effort to achieve.
To understand these terms, we first need to take a step back and look at what lies at the heart of all of them; Carbon Footprint, Greenhouse Gases (GHG) & Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e).
Greenhouse Gases are those gases that make up our atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation. As the sun shines through during the day it warms the earth's surface, and then during the night, that heat is released by the surface back into the atmosphere and into space. However some of that heat is trapped in the atmosphere by those greenhouse gases. The main gases that trap this heat caused by human activity is Carbon Dioxide or Carbon Dioxide Equivalent. CO2e is the measurement that's used by governments and environmental organisations to compare the climate impact of various types of greenhouse gases. Carbon Footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases released by a business, organisation or country over a given period of time, usually one year, and measured in CO2 or CO2e.
We can now start to look at the different offsetting terms above with a better understanding of how they are calculated and what they mean for you, the businesses who are working towards a more sustainable future and the planet.
Carbon Offset - A company would generally use this term when they have supported a project anywhere in the world that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. This is typically measured in tonnes of CO2e that have been saved. At Honest Supplies, we have parted with a company who help us to support Gold Standard & Verified Carbon Standard projects around the world that reduce the amount of CO2e released.
Carbon Neutral - This term is arguably the most commonly used term among businesses and organisations who are on their own sustainability journey. Once a businesses monthly or yearly average CO2e emission has been calculated, they can then purchase Carbon Offset projects to the same amount of emissions they have created and effectively they will be carbon neutral. It is important to mention here though, that a company doesn’t have to try to reduce their CO2e emissions in any way. Our products are all carbon neutral, as we have calculated the emissions produced in their manufacture and balanced that, and going further we are starting our own Net Zero journey.
Climate Neutrality - This is very much the same concept as Carbon Neutral, however it also takes into consideration other greenhouse gases that have been released from regional or local biogeophysical (ecology of the composite biological, geological, and physical processes operating in an area). These additional emissions would also need to be balanced and negated to achieve climate neutrality.
Negative Emissions - Going a little further than carbon neutral is negative emissions, or carbon negative. Here a business or organisation has again calculated their monthly or yearly CO2e emissions and negated them, they then continue to remove further CO2e emissions from the atmosphere above the ones they have generated.
Net Zero Emissions - Its the most ambitious carbon strategy that all businesses should be aiming to achieve. Meaning reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the latest climate science, and balancing remaining emissions through carbon offset credits. As well as supporting projects that reduce the amount of CO2e from being released, Net Zero then also supports other projects that actually take some of that CO2e out of the atmosphere. A business must make actionable changes to directly reduce their own carbon emissions, by using renewable energy, finding more sustainable materials and perhaps using electric vehicles. To achieve this Net Zero target, it must encompass emissions from across the whole business, and cover supply chain emissions. Buying your cleaning supplies in bulk with fewer transport miles, and making sure those cleaning / janitorial supplies are plastic free, made from recycled/sustainable materials is an easy way to start your own Net Zero journey.
With the government's target of all businesses being Net Zero by 2050, and to help keep warming to 1.5C, making sure your businesses disposable supplies, such as toilet roll & centrefeed are truly sustainable is a great first step. Any cleaning supplies bought through us will have extremely high levels of sustainability, plastic free packaging, and carbon neutral. Contact us today to talk about your bulk cleaning and janitorial supplies and how we can help you on your net zero journey.