Meet The Man Trying to Make Corporate Sustainability Labels As Common As the ‘USDA Organic&#82

At the grocery store, you’ve probably seen products with labels like “USDA Organic” and “Fair Trade Certified.” They mean, respectively, that the product meets some regulatory standards that ensure products are organic, or fair trade (broadly defined as paying one’s producers fairly).

The team behind a nonprofit called Climate Neutral, established in 2018, wants to become the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of those recognized labels. They’ve created a label called “Climate Neutral Certified,” where consumers know they are buying from a company that is actively measuring, reducing, and offsetting its carbon footprint.

Currently, there are similar certifications out there, such as the Carbon Reduction Label and the Carbon Neutral label, but Climate Neutral thinks those labels don’t go far enough. Climate Neutral requires nonprofits to offset all three scopes, or types, of emissions laid out by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the most widely used international accounting tool for leaders to quantify greenhouse gas emissions. The team also requires companies to recertify every year.

To date, at least 75 brands and companies are Climate Neutral Certified, including bread maker Bread Alone, tea company Numi Organic Tea, and mattress company Avocado Green Mattress. Others have committed to joining, including shoe company Allbirds.

The name of the nonprofit, and its label, is a play on the phrase “carbon neutral,” which means the company has “net zero emissions,” or that the CO2 the company is producing is no greater than the amount of CO2 it’s re-absorbing from the atmosphere through offsets. Minimizing a company’s carbon emissions is imperative to slowing down climate change, which is linked to stronger hurricanes, more intense wildfires, and polar ice melt, to name a few. The more carbon dioxide that’s in the atmosphere, the less sunlight and heat can escape into space. This trapped heat effectively cooks the planet.

An example of offsetting one’s carbon footprint would be to fund a wind farm project that generates clean energy or to plant an acre of trees (trees absorb CO2).

To become Climate Neutral Certified a company has to do three things, according to the nonprofit.

  1. Measure how much the company is currently producing in CO2 emissions.

  2. Offset emissions by purchasing carbon credits for projects such as ones that capture biogas from livestock, capture methane gas from landfills, or restore degraded forests.

  3. Make steps to reduce emissions going forward through resources Climate Neutral has.

Credit: Business Insider – Click here to view the article.

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