5 Carbon Neutral Initiatives That Benefit Your Business

Nicole Lummis
April 22, 2024

Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries, public sector organisations and private businesses have been altering their behaviours to limit their carbon emissions and try to reach carbon neutrality. Many countries worldwide now have a net-zero target in place. In the UK, 2050. In Scotland, 2045. Countries such as Bhutan have already achieved this goal. 

The Paris Agreement works to bring countries together to hold global average temperature increases to below 2°C. Scenarios modelled above this temperature have been shown to have catastrophic consequences for human society and economic development. 

There is a tangible business case for both public and private sector organisations to work towards carbon neutrality. For example, benefits include:

  • The economic benefit of a transition to net-zero e.g. it’s increasingly common for everyday consumers to buy from organisations with green credentials.
  • Becoming part of post-COVID climate-resilient economies that secure sustainable development. 
  • Mainstreaming and increasing buy-in for global action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • Capturing inclusivity in terms of both social and economic development.
  • Incentivising future technological innovation. 

One of the most appealing, simple and supported ways for organisations to pursue carbon neutrality is by participating in a carbon-neutral initiative. There are many initiatives for businesses to become involved in, usually requiring buy-in from employees and distinct policies to be set up, but rarely need a financial contribution to join. 

Joining an initiative grants businesses and organisations better connections with development partners, sustainable policy advisors and other organisations looking to reduce their carbon emissions. 

Here are five carbon-neutral initiatives that help make your company carbon neutral:

  1. Climate Neutral Now
  2. Caring For Climate
  3. Carbon Neutrality Coalition
  4. Race to Zero
  5. Business Ambition for 1.5°C

Climate Neutral Now

Climate Neutral Now was launched by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at increasing the climate action carried out by various stakeholders, from organisations to individuals. The Climate Neutral Now initiative is seen as a tool for raising awareness and developing the capacity of business to recognise and reduce environmental impact.

Climate Neutral Now advises businesses and organisations to approach their carbon emissions with a four-step framework:

Measure

  • Quantify emissions
  • Identify the main sources

Reduce

  • Identify areas for reductions
  • Implement actions

Contribute

  • Contribute to similar environmental action projects or groups

Report

  • Assess results yearly
  • Revise implemented plans
  • Communicate with relevant stakeholders

This initiative isn’t a verification scheme but rather a tool to commit to voluntary action. Participation in Climate Neutral Now doesn’t guarantee carbon neutrality but does help advance those involved. 

Any organisation can participate by signing the Climate Neutral Now Pledge and follow the framework set out above. 

Caring For Climate

Caring for Climate is the UN’s initiation for businesses to develop and maintain leadership regarding climate action. It’s convened by the United Nations Global Compact, the UNFCCC and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The purpose of Caring for Climate is to mobilise those in leadership positions within a business to implement practical solutions to climate change and alter the nature of the business world, ensuring a greener global economy alongside shaping public policy.

For signatories, the benefits are undoubtedly tangible:

  • Businesses gain access to knowledge pools and networking opportunities.
  • Business strategies can be aligned with a UN-led initiative, increasing the visibility of a business’ work. 
  • Create transparency around a company’s actions.
  • Gain learning on the latest technological innovations and best practices.
  • Help shape national and international policy agendas on climate change.
  • Participate in the annual Caring for Climate Business Forum. 
  • Engagement in national stakeholder dialogues in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks.

Carbon Neutrality Coalition

The Carbon Neutrality Coalition is an initiative that brings together several public sector organisations worldwide to develop climate strategies that help cities and countries meet the objectives set out by the Paris Agreement. 

Members demonstrate climate-positive development strategies, provide leadership for other organisations, advocate for further climate action and encourage membership for other national bodies. 

The benefits raised by the Carbon Neutrality Coalition are broad and holistic, helping capture:

  • The advantages and sustainability of a net-zero economy.
  • Promoting inclusive economic and social development.
  • Incentivising the flows of investment and technological innovation. 

Currently, 442 cities, 22 states and regions, 45 investors and 1,101 businesses are committed to the initiative, providing an extensive network through which organisations can share learnings. 

Race to Zero

This initiative rallies non-state actors such as businesses and financial institutions to take immediate action to reduce their GHG emissions and help halve global emissions by 2030. Race to zero is currently represented by:

  • 24 countries
  • 708 cities
  • 2,360 companies
  • 163 investors
  • 624 universities

These parties make up over 15% of the global economy respectively, making it the most significant initiative committed to halving emissions by 2030. Members benefit by showing their climate commitments and strategies are credible and supported by the UN. 

Similarly, they’ll also support setting and achieving targets, gain access to a community of members that spans multiple sectors, regions and industries and proudly play an active role in global climate strategy at one of the most decisive times in history.

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Business Ambition for 1.5°C

The Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign was set up to advise and help businesses commit to net-zero emissions to keep global heating in line with the 1.5°C limit outlined by the IPCC SR15 report. 

This works by setting targets influenced by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which help provide ‘clearly-defined pathways for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.’

Businesses can use the SBTi criteria to develop emissions reduction targets and then track progress annually in liaison with the SBTi for official help and validation. Private sector companies of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to join, with sector-specific pathways developed for niche industries. 

Unfortunately, Business Ambition for 1.5°C doesn’t assess targets for public sector bodies or non-profit organisations. 

The benefits of joining Business Ambition for 1.5°C are highly advantageous:

  • It helps future-proof growth.
  • Guarantees resilience in the face of regulations.
  • Increases the confidence of investors.
  • Spurs innovation and competitiveness.
  • Demonstrates sustainability commitment to eco-conscious consumers.
  • Businesses that sign up are recognised as ‘Committed’ on the websites of Science Based Targets, the CDP, the UN Global Compact and We Mean Business.

These give carbon neutral initiatives explicit advice and support businesses to become more eco-friendly and join the ranks of next-generation organisations leading the way for sustainable development and policy-making. 

Why Join a Carbon Neutral Initiative?

Companies and organisations that commit to initiatives like these will lead the next iteration of national and international economies. As 1.5°C-compliant business models are increasingly accessible, the evidence suggests these leading companies will be the best-placed to grow in a net-zero, climate-conscious future. 

Businesses also benefit from:

  • Improved brand image.
  • Potential cost reductions.
  • Increased compliance with government regulations.
  • Being seen as an attractive investment opportunity.
  • Increased shareholder satisfaction.
  • Access to national and international knowledge-sharing and networking.