Becoming a carbon neutral business or developing a carbon neutral product or service can be a very effective way of taking action on the climate challenge and building a positive brand. Going carbon neutral can also fast track efficiency and cost savings meaning you’ll have more to invest in your business and your marketing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated but there are some golden rules.
1. Be sure what you want to achieve by going carbon neutral. Carbon neutrality programs last longer when they stand in a sound business case. Do you know your market? how will you position the marketing? can you create extra value from going carbon neutral? If you think about this upfront it will help later – do customer research or test mocked-up propositions to see what works
2. You manage what you measure. Own your emissions data. A good carbon footprint sits at the heart of going carbon neutral. Get an expert to help you measure emissions right across your product lifecycle or business operations. This is important because it will highlight any wastage and show you where you can make improvements and efficiencies
3. Think long-term. The benefits of a good carbon neutrality program are fully realised if you take a long-term approach. This is because it can take time to identify and implement effective programs that deliver carbon reductions in your operations. Taking a long term approach will also allow you to develop a closer relationship with the offset projects you’re supporting, leading to more meaningful business and societal results.
4. Do it right. Follow internationally recognised standard like the BSi PAS2060. This not only provides a robust framework but also a credible and transparent way of demonstrate your carbon neutral status
5. Don’t make offsetting a transactional purchase. For most businesses there will be emissions you can’t reduce right now, this is where offsetting comes in. Using credits from carbon reduction projects to offset your own emissions is a great way of getting to carbon neutral. But unlock the full value of this investment and consider how this investment could be used in your marketing – most offset projects do more than reduce carbon emissions and often improve the livelihoods of the communities they operate in
6. Visit your offset projects. Not all offset projects are born the same. Procuring carbon offset from an internationally recognised standard provides integrity in terms of the emissions reductions achieved by the activity on the ground. However, the nature of some offset projects can be complex and involve multiple stakeholders including local governments, communities and NGOs. To fully identify and manage reputational risk and avoid counterparties that could damage your brand and reputation use expert advice and run you own due diligence. Understanding the projects you’re investing in reduces risk and you can also use the projects to leverage marketing and reputational value. Understanding the projects you’re investing in reduces risk and you can also use the projects to leverage marketing and reputational value. Climate Care wrote a good piece on enhanced due diligence : https://climatecare.org/how-can-you-manage-potential-reputational-risks-when-purchasing-an-emissions-reductions-portfolio/
7. Clear, transparent reporting. If you do this right then there’s a lot to be proud of. Make a public disclosure of all the documentation that supports the carbon neutrality claim e.g. on the company or product website in line with the ICROA code of best practice.