Carbon-neutral business – five steps to zero emissions

A carbon-neutral business reduces its emissions to a minimum and offsets the remaining emissions. That may seem difficult to relate to, but it can be mastered with the five steps presented in this article.

Why become a carbon-neutral business?

More and more consumers and partners demand proof of the environmental responsibility of a business – including transparent communication and reporting. According to a 2019 study by the Association for Finnish Work (Suomalaisen Työn Liitto), three out of four young people between the ages of 15 and 24 favour responsibly implemented products and services whenever possible. In the upcoming decades, these young people will not only be making large purchases, but they will be taking on influential decision-making roles in their work life.

In the same survey, 80 per cent of respondents aged 25-79 and 81 per cent of respondents aged 15-24 either fully or somewhat agreed it is important for a provider to demonstrate operational responsibility. When it comes to B2B trade, the prerequisite for participating in tenders often is to have tangible evidence of responsible operations.

It is therefore fair to say that even if the decision-makers do not personally perceive climate change as a threat, the business should still invest in responsibility and open reporting if it wishes to maintain or develop its position in the market. The more straightforward the actions are reported, the more convincing they are. Presenting the reliably measured results and having the measurement history publicly available are actions that bring an advantage for both the brand and the sales figures.

Five steps to carbon-neutral business

The following five steps can help a business aim for carbon neutrality:

1. Map the actual emissions of your business

When you aim to do truly influential and transparent climate work, you need to map out the actual emissions of your business. If the figure should include all emissions indirectly caused by the business, emissions generated by the entire value chain of the company should be counted in. In this way, in addition to the company’s direct emissions, the calculation can cover emissions e.g. from raw material orders or outsourced transport services.

We at Istutapuita.fi calculate corporate carbon footprints following the global GHG Protocol standard. This way we can guarantee that our customers get internationally comparable and esteemed calculations.

2. Set targets and pick tangible measures to reduce emissions

Once the actual emissions of the business have been calculated, numerical targets can be set to help reduce those emissions. Ways to reduce emissions are, for example, switching over to renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, recycling and exploiting more ecological packaging materials.

We help our customers map out the best-suited methods for reducing emissions. In some industries, these methods may be quite obvious and relatively easy to implement, while other industries require more challenging measures, such as supply chain optimization or product development.

3. Offset remaining emissions after emission reductions

When the emissions have been reduced as much as possible, the rest can be offset, for example, by planting trees. By growing new forests, the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is absorbed into the biomass of trees.

Planting trees based on sales volume and the “seedling greeting” are easy ways to start offsetting emissions right away. You can purchase our “seedling greeting” for example as a Christmas present. If you would rather make a compensation agreement tailored to your company’s emissions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

4. Improve measures and raise targets where possible

One-off compensation is of course valuable and better than nothing, but an environmentally responsible organization works continuously to reduce its carbon footprint. When a business aims for carbon neutrality, the calculations must be updated at least annually. At best, improving the responsibility of the business is inspiring and rewarding work, and it feels equally good to achieve results as with other strategic goals!

5. Influence your partner network

Even if a business gets to zero emissions in its operation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that its product or service is completely carbon neutral. Some companies offset the emissions of their entire value chain. That is, however, not possible for everyone. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that your partner’s emissions couldn’t be influenced too. You can encourage other companies to reduce emissions, and you can choose your partners based on responsibility criteria.

Contact us

Do you want to find out how your company can offset its carbon dioxide emissions and participate in our carbon sink project? Send us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible or call Timo on +358 40 485 6607.

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