Going carbon neutral
Many businesses and individuals are concerned about climate change and want to make their own contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Measuring your carbon account (also known as your carbon footprint) and going carbon neutral is one way to contribute. For businesses, going carbon neutral can have additional benefits such as saving money through reducing resource use and differentiating your organisation or product from others in the market.
Once you have measured your carbon account you can decide the best actions to take to reduce it. There may be ways to avoid creating emissions in the first place. There may also be ways to reduce emissions produced from a certain activity. To be carbon neutral, any remaining emissions would need to be ‘offset’ so that the net emissions from your activities are equivalent to zero.
Carbon offset units are usually purchased by individuals or companies and used to cancel out or ‘offset’ the emissions they generate during their normal course of business or day to day life. Offsets units are units which represent genuine reductions or ‘abatement’ of greenhouse gas emissions.
Abatement is achieved by:
- Reducing or avoiding emissions—for example by using renewable energy
- Removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in soil or trees—for example by growing a forest.
National Carbon Offset Standard
The Australian Government has established the National Carbon Offset Standard (the Standard) as one way for organisations to take action to reduce carbon pollution beyond Australia’s national targets. The Standard provides a benchmark for businesses and other organisations voluntarily seeking to be carbon neutral for their operations, products, services or events. The Standard sets out requirements for achieving carbon neutrality, based on a rigorous and transparent framework that is based on relevant international standards and tailored to the Australian context.
Carbon Neutral Program
The Carbon Neutral Program is designed for businesses both large and small to make the most of the additional benefits of going carbon neutral.
To be certified as carbon neutral under the Program, participants must meet rigorous benchmarks for carbon accounting and offsetting, as set out in the National Carbon Offset Standard.
The Carbon Neutral Program certifies organisations, products, services and events. Certified entities can display the Australian Government’s certification trade mark and thereby offer consumers wider purchasing choices.
Entities certified under the Carbon Neutral Program can also join the Carbon Neutral Network, a group of like-minded organisations committed to leadership on climate change issues. Membership of the network includes the opportunity to attend forums, share valuable information on carbon accounting and offsetting, and provide input to promotional directions.