How to become a net-zero company?

You’re wondering about becoming a net-zero company? You want to? Of course, you should. But how can you acquire net-zero status? Come and see.

Carbon Accounting 📊

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March 1, 2022

how-to-become-a-net-zero-company

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Becoming a net-zero company is a bit like winning the Award for best actor – just kidding! However, companies that implement climate action and strive to join the net-zero transition or aim to implement net zero targets, net zero pledges could be viewed as a Holy Grail company, regarding ecology and sustainable development.

A way to officially (and factually) establish your business model as environmentally friendly.

Of course, you can reach the stars and aim at becoming "carbon negative" or "committed" to the steps necessary to achieve net-zero emissions — which would probably equate to an Honorary Award... but don’t jump over the other steps or ignore the importance of understanding the processes and commitment necessary to achieve net zero emissions!

Even before becoming a net-zero company, you should target to become a "carbon neutral" company. Yes, we know: the path is long. Becoming a net-zero company requires overseeing your value chain, assessing value chain mitigation, website services, various certain features, and time to review the details that pertain to your consumers and overall commitment to becoming a net-zero company.

But this is worthwhile, we promise — especially considering your long-term strategy… as well as your wallet. Yes: it will also applaud your performance, among a conquered crowd of clients and investors.

But what are we exactly talking about? What is a net-zero company? Why do you have to aim for this status? How can you achieve this goal? Greenly explains. 👇

Net-zero company : what is this?

“Net-zero” meaning

To make it simple, becoming a net-zero company means that you drastically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. The idea is to get close to zero, while offsetting residual emissions (those you really can’t avoid, without interfering with your business). In this context, compensation is achieved through the elimination and/or sequestration of an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases, in what are now called "carbon sinks".

👉 A carbon sink is a tank that captures and stores atmospheric carbon. The main one on the Earth planet is the ocean sink, which absorbs between two and three billion tonnes of carbon. However, there are also other sinks in the biosphere: especially forests and peatlands.

Be careful: net-zero should not be confused with carbon neutrality. Yes, we know: it seems quite similar… but the two aren't the same process towards reducing the amount of stuff polluting the atmosphere. It's simple, basically – carbon neutrality is the intermediate point on the line between starting step and net zero. Nothing more, nothing less.

Unlike net zero, carbon neutrality is simply about achieving a perfect balance between emitted and removed greenhouse gases — thanks to sustainable projects financing mainly. Briefly, the intended difference between them must be zero.

Finally, it makes sense: to act and reduce its environmental impact by now, a company starts with offsetting what it emits. Then, gradually, it sets up the necessary means to stop emitting CO2. In other words, carbon neutral status is maintained until you reach net-zero target.

Anything else? Don’t wait one more minute: the world needs your help! Reach out to our teams or contact our customer care team for your carbon assessment and starting your journey toward net-zero. We'll be sure to respond promptly and help provide you with a quality report and analysis on how you can reduce your carbon footprint around the world.

Net-zero business model: illustration

Need a visualization to better understand how the net-zero system works?

Okay. We are going to take the example of two companies: one is carbon neutral and the other has reached their net-zero targets.

Question: what is the main difference in how each company is going to distinguish their action plan?

You get the answer? Of course, you do: the main difference between their two approaches is that one is going to compensate for their GHG emissions, whereas the other is going to eliminate their excess GHG emissions.

Concretely, it means that the first company may compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions by counting on various investments, such as a sustainable project concerning renewable energies development. The first company will seek to prevent the production of the scale of emissions it’s responsible for by investing in an outside organization that strives to deliver the tools, electricity, or climate action needed for the planet. These companies are often committed to reducing emissions, sourcing renewable energy, or place importance on assisting developing countries to work towards a net-zero transition that they wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

While the second company will invest specifically in the creation of carbon sinks, that will eliminate their residual emissions. Most of the time, the companies included in this category finance new forests planting or mangroves preservation.

As you can see, the net-zero is part of an active approach, to put an end to greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, carbon neutrality does not mean focusing on creating carbon sinks. The panel of projects in which you can invest is quite large.

Why do companies have to become “net-zero”?

We could tell you that becoming net-zero is going to help in the limitation of global temperature rise under 1,5 °C. In fact, that’s why such initiatives exist: to tackle global warming.

However, we also know that good will and ethical awareness aren’t always sufficient to engage a whole company in such a revolution. It’s true: a company seeking to become net-zero must take into account several changes that must be made within their organization.

So, in order to convince you that all of this is worthwhile, we are going to give 5 “corporate” reasons to strike out.

Employees are demanding more and more for sustainable companies

Especially the youngest of employees! Millennials are particularly mindful concerning ethical and environmental issues. But they are not the only ones — fortunately. Raising awareness about climate change makes people more critical. It also makes them more likely to join and support a company that demonstrates its values and beliefs through concrete actions, tracking, and engagements. You want to build a strong employer brand? Become a net-zero company.

Customers also prefer ethical brands

You want to strengthen your company’s long-term strategy? Then, target net-zero emissions. Again: if people are demanding more and more for ethical brands, the best way to ensure the sustainability of your business model is to follow the evolution. To answer your customers’ buying criteria sooner than later.

Costs optimization may allow your company to increase its turnover

Most of the time, measuring your carbon footprint — first step to reach net-zero goal — highlights useless expenses. The approach underlines all the aspects of your business model that can be improved. Consequence? Your costs get optimized, and your turnover feels good. What a wonderful virtuous circle, isn't it? Best of all, it serves as confirmation that your company is in line with achieving your net-zero targets.

Investors look for sustainable business models

Investors know the scope of what's at stake these days, an aim to contact companies that recognize the value in becoming a net-zero company. In addition to this, investors are perfectly aware that laws are becoming more and more uncompromising with non-sustainable companies. In this context, you may have heard of “sustainable finance”? It is the expression which describes the phenomenon: investors are now looking to invest their money in so-called “sustainable businesses”. In other words, businesses that fit with sustainable development and climate action criteria.

Rules and regulation regarding environment proliferate

Even if you don’t care about investors, you may be careful with the generalization of rules and regulation concerning sustainability. For example, some of the assessments required are going to impact more and more companies — all sectors included.  Take the lead: set a net-zero target and become a net-zero company before being obliged to do so.

Net-zero organization : your 6 corporate commitments

Convinced by the interest of undertaking such an approach, more and more companies are taking the road to achieving their net-zero targets. However, it should be noted that the “road” to becoming a net-zero company is not necessarily the same for everyone. To date, there is no roadmap that would be set in the stone. Nor is there a "model" to follow for any individual net-zero target, as each company adapts the precepts of net-zero emissions, according to their own business, their own market and their own possibilities.  

Conclusion? Don’t waste your time looking for the guide of the perfect net-zero company. Roll up your sleeves: you will have to define, develop and implement your own scheme. The one which will allow you to reach your objectives in terms of emissions, but also in terms of sales.

Does it mean that you are going to be parachuted into the jungle of sustainable development, without even a compass to guide you? Of course not. That’s not Greenly’s mindset. And Greenly could be a wonderful compass in the midst of your process towards taking climate action, you know? 😇

In fact, Greenly’s mission is to encourage any organization willing to contribute to the collective effort for sustainable development. Regarding the urgency underlined by the publication of the IPCC report’s second part, we would even dare to say that there is not a minute to lose - nor an effort to despise, no matter how small it is.

Today we give you 6 tips to start your transition to net-zero. Let’s go!

Make your carbon assessment

Stop: it is not a question of starting in a rush, without knowing the purpose of your action. It would lead nowhere. The objective of net-zero is to encourage informed reflection on the best way to adapt your business model to environmental issues.

For this reason, Greenly has developed a tool that allows you, before you undertake anything, to draw up the objective balance statement of your greenhouse gas emissions. Briefly: start with conducting your carbon assessment. No worries, Greenly handles the job. Better: our teams then prepare all the best recommendations, so that you just have to choose which actions you want to undertake. 😎

How easy is that? To have your net-zero and climate action ideas delivered to you in with the speed and simplicity of a single report? Don't scour the web searching for sites that'll help you become a net-zero company. Visit our website to get started on your transition to becoming a net-zero company today!

Define scientifically based goals

This is not about setting approximate targets. Regarding emergency degree, any action taken must be effective. And, to be effective, any action must be linked to specific objectives. So, how do you plan your net-zero transition? Greenly can help you define these objectives.

However, if you want to actively contribute to this reflection, know that the SBTi initiative has worked to clarify the objectives that any company should achieve, to effectively fight against climate change through the use of science based criteria. Take a look, as science-based targets indeed show companies how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and become a net zero company.

The idea is to tackle global warming, while seizing the benefits and boosting competitiveness in the transition to a net-zero economy. ✅

Create a “carbon” roadmap

There is what could be called the "final objective". However, if you expect to settle a sustainable and stimulating approach for your teams — without whose support you will certainly not reach your target — you should see bigger picture.

What does that mean? In short, this means that you have to develop a real carbon roadmap, with many intermediate objectives. The idea: punctuate your way to net-zero of small victories towards your net-zero transition.

The idea is twofold: it will allow you to objectively measure your progress as you go, but also to motivate your troops. Remember that you are not going to become a net-zero business overnight. Don’t be too ambitious and define intermediate steps. We promise: it is excellent for morale and will help to stimulate your net zero progress. 😁

Improve your products or your business model

Whether you are selling a product or a service, be aware that it can also be optimized with a zero-net approach. Components, suppliers, conveyances, etc. One of the first things you should be interested in is your offer itself. There is a good chance that it can be improved in one way or another. If you’re offering a service, for example, you can look at the carbon footprint of your current organization.

Do you really need your employees to come on site? What is the emission rate of your web hosting — which is an integral part of your company functioning? Is your company dedicated to tracking their progress towards reaching their net zero targets? Etc. 🔍

Offset your GHG emissions

Regarding the situation, companies can no longer be content with reducing our greenhouse gas emissions: companies must work to eliminate these emissions. That is the whole principle of net-zero initiative and strategy. So, if companies want to be part of this collective effort, companies must gradually move to sequester (or destroy) their own greenhouse gas emissions.

To do so, find out about the various projects your company could support to create new carbon sinks. If you are interested in, Greenly is well positioned to help you. More: we will be glad to encourage your efforts and help you progress in your transition to net-zero. 😍

Get involved in sustainable projects

Let’s be clear: there are more than carbon sinks to life. Although we love them, of course. 😉 Many initiatives for sustainable development are emerging. And each of them deserves to be encouraged, supported and even funded. In fact, if you identify an approach you want to be associated with, do not hesitate – go ahead! Y

ou want to support the development of solar panels? Again: go ahead. You want to support citizen initiative programs? Get started. We will never say it enough: every effort counts in reducing emissions and working towards the transition to becoming a net-zero company.

Fighting climate change is about teamwork. If you have the means to support promising projects, do not deprive yourself. 👏


One question? One difficulty? Nothing should stop your company from taking the road to net-zero status. Absolutely nothing. Conclusion? Stop wondering. Stop now and don’t hesitate: contact our dream team, in order to realize your personalized carbon assessment. Sustainable development needs your help!


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by
Arnaud Delubac

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