Carbon neutral, climate positive, net zero, what does it all mean?

How to improve your environmental balance



What is carbon neutrality?


When you think of balance, you imagine see-saws, houses of cards or even the concept of yin and yang. In fact, all our global systems work on balance. One of the problems humanity faces is how we strike a balance between global growth and nature. How can we use it for our benefit in a responsible and balancing manner? The solution is pretty clear, we need to be carbon neutral.


Carbon neutrality is simple – it is the environmental equal of balancing the books. The carbon we emit must balance the carbon we remove. Like a see-saw, there are two ways of ensuring carbon neutrality: either reduce CO2 emissions or increase carbon removal.

How is this relevant to the tourism industry?



Like carbon neutrality, the tourism industry relies on its own form of balance. While being one of the most accessible and profitable enterprises for people across the world, it is also one of the biggest polluters out there.


According to a recent climate change paper, tourism makes up for nearly a tenth of world global emissions (8%), it is both extremely beneficial but also very environmentally-damaging. A prime example is Maya Beach in Thailand, which was recently closed for at least three years due to the environmental stress tourism put it under. The government thinking was clear, we need to put in long term strategies ahead of short term gains. It is our responsibility to aim for carbon-neutrality for the good of our planet and our industry.


To hit global targets to avoid a climate crisis we all need to be reducing our carbon emissions by at least 8 - 10% each year. In the next few years, you will have to act and it is better to be ahead of the competition to reduce risk.


 

We aim to use our resources, our data and our community to do something about our climate crisis.


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Why should I try and strive to make my business carbon-neutral?



Apart from the obvious - saving the planet -, it is time to debunk the myth that a sustainable business is a less profitable one. In fact, incorporating an environmental ethos is an innovative and forward-thinking move. All our projects, focus on how to help make the business better not just ‘greener’.


There is an enormous increase in conscious purchasing. We aim to help businesses cater to this market as well as the wider consumer base. Making sustainability work for the consumer we provide a better experience and increase the value of your product.


Lastly, the cost of not acting is getting more costly year on year. Zero or low carbon-emitting alternatives are often cheaper and more reliable than traditional carbon-emitting products. Governments will be forced to act and punish businesses who have a negative impact on the environment through taxes and red tape. Can you afford not to start reducing your carbon footprint?


Inspiring leaders often know all this already, ecollective are here to give them the good news that our approach is not going to be time consuming or expensive.


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How can I make my business carbon neutral?



Becoming carbon neutral is much like getting fit – there are 1001 ways of reducing emissions but it is difficult to know the most effective manner of doing it.


Becoming a zero-carbon company is a marathon, not a sprint, and cutting corners is not an option. Using a sustainable consultancy like ecollective is an innovative, forward-thinking and profitable choice. We read all the boring legislation and extensive papers so that you don’t have to. We give you the tools to manage CO2 emissions yourself to avoid yearly charges like other companies who hide the data.


Our approach is simple. We break everything down and identify all the carbon emissions of your whole operation and product. We then highlight high carbon dioxide emitting areas, that do not bring value to your customer and have commercially attractive low carbon alternatives.


The key is to reduce carbon emissions without any cost to the business or customers.


We try and do one better than this by finding low carbon alternatives that actively improve the customer experience or reduce your costs.


What is carbon offsetting?



99.9% of businesses have a carbon footprint. To offset emissions, some businesses will help fund initiatives around the world that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If you take out as much as you put in, you can label yourself as a carbon-neutral business.


Although ecollective do recommend businesses do this, it should not be their top priority. The main aim is to reduce what you can control, your own carbon emissions.


The reason for this is simple, reducing your carbon emissions will reduce your costs. Paying for carbon offsetting schemes will add to your costs.


Carbon offsetting schemes vary hugely, some are better than others and the science is still new. As a sustainable tourism consultancy, we can help give guidance to make sure you are funding the right projects.


 

“There is no contradiction between sustainability and profitable growth.” - Philip Polman, Unilever.


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What is carbon labelling?



Carbon labelling is helping brands to speak out on their environmental performance in an effective manner. Companies across many industries have started to do this successfully.


Each product or service produced by a business will likely have a carbon footprint. By pitting this score on your packaging it helps the consumer make better choices.


We should be informing customers not just what is included in our products but also the social benefits and any environmental cost. This movement is gaining momentum with businesses eager to be leading the way. Research shows that showing your carbon emissions increases consumer confidence in your environmental policies and what you stand for as a business.


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