What Does Net Zero Emissions Mean for a Company?
Did you know? Commercial buildings generate 16% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. That means that by becoming net zero, your building or facility can play a big role in the U.S.’s ambitious goal to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. So, what does net zero emissions mean for a company? Many people think that net zero means no carbon emissions are produced, but this is not the case. Read on to discover what net zero really means and what steps your company will need to take to achieve it.
What Does Net Zero Mean?
In a nutshell, net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases your building(s) put into the atmosphere and those taken out. Reaching net zero requires your company to balance the amount of greenhouse gases it emits with the amount it removes. When what you add is no more than what you take away, you reach net zero. This state is also known as carbon neutral.
Q: What is it called when no emissions are produced?
A: When no emissions are produced, it is called gross zero. Gross zero sounds like the ideal way to fight climate change, but it isn’t realistically attainable across all sectors of our lives and industry. Even with best efforts to reduce them, there will still be some emissions.
How Can My Company Reach Net Zero?
Reaching net zero usually involves both producing less emissions and also removing the greenhouse gasses your company does produce from the environment. Known as carbon capture, removal of greenhouse gasses could be natural, such as planting trees, or via new technology or more sustainable industrial processes. However, you should be cautious in your use of carbon offsets – too many offsets can be considered green washing if your company is not also managing what it’s emitting.
That said, producing less emissions, not just in your buildings but at all levels of your supply chain, is best achieved via carbon accounting and energy management. See below for a list of resources to help you learn more about (and reach!) net zero:
- Webinar: Carbon Accounting in 2022 and Beyond; COP26, SEC, and More
- Whitepaper: WatchWire Sustainability Brief
- E-Book: Utilizing Sustainability Reporting in The Journey Towards Net Zero
- The Science-Based Targets Initiative’s Net Zero Standard