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.


Becoming a net-zero company is a bit like winning the Award for best actor - just kidding. It is the Holy Grail, 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" — which would probably equal to an Honorary Award... But don’t jump over the other steps! Even before becoming a net-zero company, you should target to become a "carbon neutral" company. Yes, we know: the path is long. 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 at 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 GHG 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".

Interesting fact
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 it is not. Anyway, the distinction is very simple, don’t worry! In fact, carbon neutrality is the intermediate step 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 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 environment needs your help! Ask our teams for your carbon assessment and starting your journey toward net-zero.

Net-zero business model: illustration

One little illustration? Okay. We are going to take the example of two companies: one is carbon neutral and the other reaches net-zero goal.

Question: which main difference 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 its GHG emissions, whereas the other is going to eliminate its GHG emissions excess

Concretely, it means that the first company may compensate its greenhouse gas emissions by investing in a  — sustainable project — concerning renewable energies development, for example. It will seek to prevent the production of the amount of emissions it’s responsible for. 

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

As you can see, the net-zero is part of an active approach, to put an end to GHG 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: becoming a net-zero company implies a lot of changes inside your 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 more and more demanding for sustainable companies

Especially younger of them! 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 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 more and more demanding 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

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?

Investors look for sustainable business models 

They are not crazy. And they perfectly know 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 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: do it before being obliged to.

✨ 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 net-zero. However, it should be noted that the “road” 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, as each company adapts the precepts of net-zero emissions, according to its own business, its own market and its 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, 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 tend 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. 😎

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 to make it? Greenly can help you in the definition of 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 contribute effectively to the fight against climate change. Maybe, have a look: indeed, science-based targets show companies how much and how quickly they need to reduce their GHG emissions, in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. 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. 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. 😁

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? Etc. 🔍

Offset your GHG emissions

Regarding the situation, we can no longer be content with reducing our greenhouse gas emissions: we must work to eliminate these emissions. That is the whole principle of net-zero initiative and strategy. So, if you want to be part of this collective effort, you also have to gradually move to sequester (or destroy) your own greenhouse gas emissions. To do so, find out about the various projects you 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. 😍

Get involved in sustainable projects

Let’s be clear: there are more than carbon sinks in 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. You 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. 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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