Carbon Neutrality: Understanding this Label’s Recent Rise

Carbon Neutrality: Understanding this Label's Recent Rise

The carbon-neutral label is on the rise, notably with recent news about carbon neutral rPET and new forms of carbon negative deodorant packaging.
But what does carbon neutral mean?
The Meaning of Carbon Neutral
Carbon neutrality | Learn more on Commonshare | is generally accomplished by purchasing carbon | Learn more on Commonshare |offsets from certification organizations such as Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard | Learn more on Commonshare |, and Green-e Climate Standard.
The central idea is that the carbon dioxide and methane generated by the company is neutralized by an equivalent reduction caried out by another organization, which is paid through the carbon offsets. The organizations may be Amazon rainforest owners, tree planting groups, windfarm operators, solar power generators, and so on.
The Reality of Carbon Neutral
However, not all that glimmers is gold, and not all that purports to be carbon-offset delivers. The unfortunate reality is that some of these carbon-offset projects never exist, or never deliver on their promises. By way of example, the Vatican was presented with offset certificates for millions of trees that in fact were never actually planted.
Other programs have not been able to deliver the return one needs to claim the offset. A 2016 European Union Study found that many offset projects overestimate emissions reductions, and that more than 80% of offset projects cannot truly be called “incremental” or “additional.”
One 2019 report found that carbon credits for forest preservation may be worse than not buying them at all.
Toward a Better Vision for Sustainability
But there is a more fundamental criticism one could apply to the system of carbon offsets | Learn more on Commonshare |: even if one buys high-quality offsets, one is still buying a license to pollute. Perhaps a better approach would be to reduce pollution in the first place.
And finally, while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases is very important, many of the groups paid to plant trees of crops also use that money to purchase and consume water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, energy, etc. Thus, progress toward sustainability | Learn more on Commonshare | must go beyond “carbon neutral.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *