Understanding carbon.

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

What is carbon neutrality?


Think of it in terms of balance: see-saws, houses of cards or the concept of yin and yang. All our global systems work on balance. And one of the problems humanity faces now, is how to strike a balance between global growth and nature. How can we grow in a responsible and balanced way? The solution is clear - we need to be carbon neutral.


Carbon neutrality is the environmental equivalent 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’s also one of the biggest polluters.


According to a recent climate change paper, tourism makes up for nearly a tenth of world’s global emissions (8%), it is both extremely beneficial but also very environmentally-damaging.


A good 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 and try to mitigate the climate crisis, we need to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 8 -10% each year. In the next few years, we must act fast to:

• stay ahead of the competition
• avoid obsoletion
• save the planet

 

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 make my business carbon-neutral?



Apart from the obvious - saving the planet - it’s 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 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. In making sustainability work for the consumer, we provide a better experience and increase the value of your product.


Lastly, the price of not acting is getting higher 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. Can you afford not to reduce your carbon footprint?


Inspiring leaders know this already. The good news? At ecollective, our approach is neither time-consuming nor expensive.


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How can I make my business carbon neutral?



Becoming carbon neutral is a lot like getting fit – there are 101 ways of reducing emissions but it’s difficult to know the most effective method(s).


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 you don’t have to. Unlike other companies who deliberately hide data, we give you the tools to manage CO2 emissions yourself and you avoid yearly charges.


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 don’t bring value to your customer and show you commercially attractive low carbon alternatives.


The key is to reduce carbon emissions without any negative impact to the business or your customers. Real success, however, lies in finding low carbon alternatives that actively improve the customer experience and reduce 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 we want businesses to become carbon-neutral, carbon offsetting should not be your top priority. The main aim is to reduce what you can control: your own carbon emissions. Because reducing your carbon emissions will reduce your costs. And 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 will 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 helps brands speak out on their environmental performance. 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 putting this score on your packaging, it helps the consumer make informed and better choices.


This movement for informing customers about social benefits and environmental cost is gaining momentum, withbusinesses eager to lead the way. Research shows that displaying your carbon emissions increases consumer confidence in your environmental policies and your company values.


 

Final thoughts



The public is waking up to climate change. They want to see what their favourite brands are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Our advice is, stay ahead of your competition or you run the risk of becoming obsolete. If you’d like to find out more about how to tackle carbon, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

 

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