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It is increasingly common to hear about companies that are carbon positive. It means that they remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than they produce. Another word for this is carbon negative. Which confusingly refers to the same thing.

Carbon positive means that the company is environmentally friendly. Their agenda goes beyond not harming the environment. They are carbon neutral, meaning they remove the same amount of CO2 they release in their activities. Yet they take it one step further and take away even more CO2 from the atmosphere. In other words, these kinds of businesses work to mitigate climate change.

What is carbon positive?

As explained above, it refers to additional actions removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This action can happen in different ways, such as offsetting carbon emissions. For example, ClimateHero exists to help people offset carbon emissions by supporting Gold Standard projects. The latter means supporting projects that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Furthermore, to become carbon positive, a company can help halt deforestation. They can also eliminate their use of fossil fuels by sourcing all their energy from renewable sources.

Carbon neutral or climate neutral?

Many terms circulate the environmental work of a business. As explained, carbon neutrality is when a business impact regarding CO2 emissions is zero. However, this only guarantees a partially environmentally friendly company. Instead, climate-neutral captures this. It is one step further than carbon neutral. It means reducing all greenhouse gases to zero while eliminating other negative environmental impacts. Hence, it considers more environmental aspects than climate positive as well.

United Nations climate action

The SDGs and other goals of the United Nations strive for a climate-neutral future. More so, they encourage businesses to be climate positive. For example, the UN suggested six climate-positive efforts to help rebuild the economies after the Covid-19 pandemic. These included investing in green jobs, no bailout for polluting industries and ending fossil fuel subsidies. Other efforts were considering the climate in all decisions, working together and leaving no one behind. 

Investing in green jobs is the way to a clean and just transition to a sustainable society. The UN also highlighted the need to stop supporting polluting industries. As a way to direct the money to green businesses. The institution was also encouraging nations to consider the climate in all decisions. In other words, strive for climate-neutral economies.

Sources: Greenly, Plan A, United Nations


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