We’ve recently found ourselves discussing carbon neutrality with more of our customers than usual. “Klimatneutral” is a catchy term that could help attract and retain consumers. But it should also be a topic of debate.
Unfortunately many claims of carbon neutrality lack credibility, which creates brand and reputational risks for the companies involved. At a breakfast seminar on Thursday this week, during Sweden’s political week in Almedalen, we’ll be exploring what it takes for a company to be able to make a credible claim of carbon neutrality.
A lot of debate about carbon neutrality has focused on the type of carbon offsets that should or shouldn’t be used. But this is just one of four key issues (summarised below). Very, very few companies fulfil all these criteria today so the field is wide open for any company wanting to become carbon neutral – for real. Which will be the next company to rise to the #klimatneutral challenge?
1. Calculations of emissions should be comprehensive and done in accordance with relevant standards. For organisations/companies, emissions in all 3 scopes should be included and for products a lifecycle approach should be taken. Relevant standards include the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO 14021.
2. A serious emissions reduction plan should be in place. The Science-Based Targets Initiative for companies provides a good starting-point, although it doesn’t go far enough on Scope 3 emissions. Progress against the plan should be publicly reported.
3. Good quality carbon offsets should be used ie third-party certified offsets with co-benefits for people and planet. The offsetting should be for all emissions ie in all scopes/all stages of a product lifecycle, as required by ISO 14021 and PAS 2060.
4. Claims of carbon neutrality in communications should not be over-stated. For instance, for companies claims should only be made for specific periods. PAS 2060 provides useful phrases. Claims should be backed up by publicly available reports.