Carbon Neutral - What does it mean?

Carbon Neutral - What does it mean?

A lot of attention has been the given to Sustainability over the last few years. It's a very exciting space with all sorts of brilliant innovations and solutions to the current climate crisis. However, with all the conversation comes confusing terms and complicated terminology. Among these terms is "Carbon Neutral". So what does Carbon Neutral mean?

What does Carbon Neutral mean?

The "carbon" in "carbon neutral" refers to carbon dioxide equivalent. Carbon dioxide equivalent is the unit of measurement used to capture the global warming impact of the six core greenhouse gases set out in the Kyoto Protocol such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. We all cause carbon dioxide to be emitted with every day actions. Whether it be through the things we buy or the activities we do, if a process requires electricity, there is a very high chance that it will be emitting carbon in the process. 

Being "carbon neutral" means that the greenhouse gases that you produce (carbon dioxide, methane and the like) do not exceed the amount you remove from the atmosphere. This means that the emissions you make through business practices have no ‘net’ contribution to climate change, because all your emissions have either been reduced or compensated for elsewhere.

In the case of Y1 Sport, these practices are broken down into 3 sections or "scopes". The bulk of our emissions are in the production of our products (scope 3). So the production of the raw materials, energy used in the creation of the products and then the emissions from transporting products from the factories to our UK and EU warehouses in addition to employee transport. All other emissions (energy used on office space etc) are recorded in scope 1 and scope 2 assessments. We will be sharing our Scope 1, 2 and 3 assessments in the coming months. In each scope you can do certain things to reduce initial emissions such as creating products out of sustainable materials as with our ENVO2.1 range. However, some emissions are currently unavoidable which means you need to offset emissions via buying carbon credits. 

Offsetting refers to the purchase of carbon credits that take out the same amount of CO2 that you put into the atmosphere through business practices. Carbon credits are credits you can buy and represent a financial contribution to a project that takes a certain amount of CO2 out of the environment. Therefore, in order to become Carbon Neutral, a company needs to take the same amount of CO2 out of the atmosphere that they emit through business practices. The project we have chosen to offset through is Carbon Tanzania's "Ntakata Mountains" project, which takes carbon out of the atmosphere through protecting forests. We will share more on different offsetting projects in coming blogs.

As we continue to grow as a company we hope to reduce the CO2 emissions we produce and thus reduce the reliance on carbon credits to help us become carbon neutral. We have numerous plans in place in order to reduce our initial carbon emission such as changing our packaging, reducing reliance on air freight and making a stick recycling scheme. We will share more information on this in the coming months.

Attached are a few interesting links to further your understanding of what becoming carbon neutral involved.

Video;  The Economist - What is net zero?

Our offsetting project; Ntakata project PDF