We’ve all heard the term “Carbon Neutral” but what does that mean and how do we achieve it? Carbon Neutrality describes when the carbon emissions created are balanced out by funding an equivalent amount of carbon mitigation. These greenhouse gas emissions are caused by individuals, companies, manufacturing, transportation, products, events and many other areas of our daily lives.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that the “largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.” According to the EPA, the transportation sector makes up 29% of greenhouse gas emissions through the burning of fossil fuels for cars, trucks, ships, trains and airplanes. Electricity production causes 25% of carbon dioxide emissions, mostly through the burning of coal and natural gas. 23% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by industry, 13% from commercial & residential use, and agriculture makes up the final 10%.
One area where businesses and individuals can come together to fight climate change is telecommuting. Scientific American claims that if remote work “remains a permanent fixture for most people in a post-COVID-19 world, it could put a dent in one of the U.S.’s largest sources of planet-warming emissions.” By eliminating our daily commute, we can make a huge impact on carbon emission reduction coming from the transportation sector. New technologies and forced quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that working remotely and reducing business travel can be done effectively while taking tens of millions of cars off the road every day and reducing other transportation emissions such as air travel.
Your individual carbon footprint can be calculated by measuring your personal electricity consumption, vehicle emissions, transportation usage and a variety of other factors including your diet and shopping methods. Businesses can also compute their carbon usage by using calculators designed to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and the impact their operations, travel, manufacturing and distribution processes have on the planet. These totals can then be offset by neutralizing that amount through carbon mitigation techniques.
After calculating your individual carbon footprint there are a variety of ways to offset your impact to become climate neutral. Carbonfund.org Foundation makes it easy to mitigate the carbon emissions generated through your lifestyle, vehicle, home, air travel, special events and water usage. Carbonfund.org specializes in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the globe to help replace fossil fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions in an effort to achieve carbon neutrality. You can also support reforestation/forest preservation projects to help sequester CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and plant trees to help reduce future carbon emissions. Purchasing carbon offsets is a great option for those looking to make an immediate difference. Carbonfund.org uses high quality standards, like PAS 2060 & ISO-14064, to verify they offset emissions with third party certification.
Carbonfund.org also provides several options for both small businesses and large companies to achieve carbon neutrality and differentiate themselves in the minds of increasingly eco-conscious consumers. Carbonfund.org offers a Carbonfree® Shipping Program to help offset the emissions caused through logistics and transportation. There is also a Carbonfree® Events Program that allows a company to mitigate greenhouse gasses caused by attending conferences and other corporate events. Businesses may also certify their products and services as Carbonfree® in order to prove their commitment to being environmentally responsible. Carbonfree® certified products are part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly Program.
We all have a responsibility to make sure that we are striving towards achieving carbon neutrality. Both individuals and businesses have many options when it comes to offsetting the impact they have on the planet. Shoppers should seek out brands and products that place importance on environmental accountability. By taking the steps necessary to calculate and offset our carbon footprint we can help build a brighter future and a greener planet to leave behind for future generations.