DEFINITION: The mechanism for claiming a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a process or product through the removal of, or preventing the release of, GHG emissions in a process unrelated to the life cycle of the product being assessed.

See also: Greenhouse gas (GHG)

Related items

Image: Exxon

Exxon finally announces 2050 net-zero target, stops short of addressing indirect emissions

ExxonMobil has committed to reaching net-zero operational emissions by 2050, with full plans for delivery due in 2023. However, it has failed to update ambitions to reduce indirect emissions, which account for the majority of its footprint.

Shell was the focus of climate activists

Business giants pressured by Dutch activists to strengthen climate targets

A Dutch environmental group that successfully took Shell to court has sent a letter to 30 businesses, including BP and Uniper, calling on them to step up climate plan efforts.

BNEF is predicting "teething problems" as the market expands amid the net-zero movement

BNEF: Carbon offset prices set to increase 50-fold by 2050

Prices for carbon offsetting could reach highs of up to $120 per tonne by 2050, up from between $2 and $3 in 2021, BloombergNEF (BNEF) is forecasting.

Pictured: 11 Tampines Concourse, a CDL development certified as carbon-neutral

Real estate giant CDL strengthens science-based emissions goals in line with 1.5C

After setting a 2030 net-zero target, City Developments Limited (CDL) has set stricter emissions reductions targets and had them verified in line with 1.5C by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Pictured: A hydrogen vehicle showcased at the Games. Image: IOC

All Olympic Games to be carbon-neutal or carbon-negative going forward

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has mandated that all Olympic Games from 2030 will need to be certified as carbon-neutral or carbon-negative, after confirming that Tokyo 2020 was carbon-negative.

Pictured: Onsite solar at Alibaba's corporate campus in Hangzhou, China

Online retail giant Alibaba targets carbon-neutral operations by 2030

E-commerce major Alibaba has pledged to achieve carbon-neutrality for its direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions by the end of the decade and signalled its intention to develop science-based climate targets in line with 1.5C.

All edie podcast episodes can be listened to via iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Soundcloud

Net-Zero Business podcast: Princes' journey to carbon neutrality and spotlight on beyond-supply energy options

In response to the accelerated pace at which corporates are examining and setting net-zero targets to help alleviate the climate crisis, edie's monthly Net-Zero Business podcast was created. Up next, we talk low-carbon food and drink with Princes and business energy solutions with EDF.

Target-setting has grown exponentially, but further detail is now urgently needed, the analysis found

Most corporations support net-zero, but only one-third plan to address all of their indirect emissions

A major new analysis of the global net-zero movement has found that the share of revenues from listed firms with targets of some kind has increased almost four-fold within a year. Nonetheless, there is much to be done on making these targets credible.

edie speaks to experts to uncover how the market for NbS is improving to alleviate fears of greenwash

From greenwash to supply squeezes: How COP26 changed the nature-based solutions market

At COP26 earlier this month, the mechanisms on the Paris Agreement rulebook were finally agreed upon, with key aspects on carbon markets defined in unison by world nations. So, will this new and strengthened carbon market assist corporate net-zero targets, particularly through the lens of nature-based solutions?

Many corporates with multinational supply chains and operations will see Scope 3 emissions accounting for 90% or more of their absolute emissions footprint

Tackling Scope 3 emissions: New initiative launched to help businesses achieve net-zero value chains

In recognition of the fact that indirect (Scope 3) emissions typically account for the bulk of a business's climate footprint, a new initiative has been launched to help firms of all sizes and sectors measure and reduce them in line with climate science.

Image: UNClimateChange flickr

Glasgow Climate Pact: The 7 key talking points from the new global deal at COP26

As the dust settles on COP26 in Glasgow, people are still getting to grips with the new Glasgow Climate Pact and what that means for the global climate movement. Here, edie outlines seven key talking points (not all of them bad) from this historic new announcement.

Key challenges to target-setting and delivery included a lack of policy clarity and a lack of in-house skills

Just 41% of UK businesses prepared to transition to net-zero by 2050, Microsoft research finds

Most UK businesses have "one foot in and one foot out" on sustainability, with more than half (59%) unprepared to meet the Government's legally binding 2050 net-zero target, new research covering almost 2,000 firms has found.

The guide is free to download for edie users

edie launches new Explains guide for businesses on carbon offsetting

edie has today (26 October) published a new explains guide, focusing on how businesses should approach the use of carbon offsetting to assist a carbon reduction strategy.

edie Explains: Carbon Offsetting

What is carbon offsetting in the terms of a businesses’ carbon emissions strategy? How does the carbon offset process and its market work? And, at what point should a business turn to carbon offsetting?

The BBC first announced plans to develop a net-zero strategy this January 

BBC sets science-based targets to support 2030 net-zero goal

The BBC has announced plans to cut direct emissions by 46% by 2030, and indirect emissions by 28% within the same timeframe, before offsetting emissions to reach net-zero.

edie speaks exclusively to Salesforce’s head of clean energy and carbon Max Scher

How Salesforce became a net-zero business and what happens next

EXCLUSIVE: Last month, Salesforce announced it had become a net-zero business across its value chain. Here, edie explores how offsetting and location-based decarbonisation plans have created a unique road to combatting the climate crisis.

Grosvenor’s historic London estate in Mayfair and Belgravia is its main source of direct emissions

Grosvenor to use carbon offsetting earlier than planned, in bid to become carbon-neutral by 2025

Property developer Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has announced a carbon offsetting strategy to bolster its 2030 net-zero goal, confirming plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 through carbon credit purchases.

Covid-19 aside, aviation has been one of the fastest-growing sectors in terms of emissions in recent years

IATA signals support for global net-zero aviation sector by 2050, with strategy reliant on SAF

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has supported a resolution calling for the global sector to reach net-zero by 2050, unveiling plans that rely on sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) for 65% of emissions cuts.

The report's calculations cover temperate and tropical forests

Large-scale reforestation to become a $1trn investment opportunity, report finds

Landowners stand to create a $1trn investment opportunity by the end of this century, through action to restore degraded forest ecosystems, according to a new report.

The first priority of the body is to finalise the creation of the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs)

New governing body formed to oversee voluntary carbon markets

The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets has announced the formation of an independent governance body for carbon markets and credits that will aim to set a global benchmark in proving the social value and carbon reduction potential of carbon credits and offsetting.

The proposal will be tabled next year

EU plans certification scheme for carbon dioxide removals

The European Commission will publish a policy paper by the end of the year on "the sustainable management of the carbon cycle" - the first step towards an EU-wide certification scheme for negative emissions coming from agriculture, forestry and other sources, that will be tabled in 2022.

Pictured: Coastal erosion threatening infrastructure in Yorkshire 

Five ways businesses can champion climate adaptation and nature-based solutions

Climate adaptation and nature-based solutions are two of the key focus areas for COP26. Once the negotiations are complete, the private sector will have a key role in accelerating action on the ground and, in this feature, we explore how.

Cisco targets net-zero by 2040, Illumina by 2050

Tech giant Cisco has pledged to reach net-zero emissions for operations by 2025 and the supply chain by 2040, while healthcare research and solutions firm Illumina has set a 2050 target.

More than 860 businesses have set approved science-based targets

Low-carbon business: PwC and Silentnight announce science-based targets as Howden makes net-zero pledge

'Big Four' accounting firm PwC has had its climate targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), while bed brand Silentnight has committed to develop SBTi-approved targets within 24 months.

Aviation is widely considered a hard-to-abate sector and is one of the fastest-growing in the world in terms of emissions

Airlines could account for 20% of global emissions by 2050, report finds

Unless the aviation sector accelerates efforts to decarbonise, its share of global annual emissions could grow from 3% at present to 20% by 2050, according to a new analysis from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The 'Drive CO2 Neutral' campaign has been running in the UK as well as the Netherlands

Shell campaign promoting carbon offsetting is greenwashing, Dutch advertising watchdog rules

The Netherlands' advertising watchdog has urged Royal Dutch Shell to stop running a campaign promoting fuel purchases as 'carbon neutral', providing that customers purchase offsets.

Pictured: A bottling line at the plant in Jordbo, Sweden. Image: CCEP

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners achieves carbon-neutral certification for two factories

Europe's largest Coca-Cola bottler, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), has certified its first two factories as carbon-neutral - one in Spain and the other in Sweden.

All edie podcast episodes can be listened to via iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud

The Net-Zero Business podcast: Inside the Co-op's 10-point climate action plan

In response to the accelerated pace at which businesses are examining and setting net-zero targets to help alleviate the climate crisis, edie is hosting a monthly podcast series exploring target development and delivery. This month, we speak to the Co-operative Group.

To help deliver against the new commitments, Mode, which launched in 2020, has set up an internal sustainability committee 

Mode Global targets net-zero from cryptocurrency operations by 2030

Fintech major Mode Global Holdings has committed to achieving net-zero emissions from its cryptocurrency operations by the end of the decade, outlining plans to ensure they are powered by renewable electricity.

Some nine million UK homes are now using a 'green' electricity tariff, by Government estimates

Government plans crackdown on greenwashing claims from energy providers

The UK Government has outlined plans to review how energy firms use the environmental credentials of their tariffs to market them, amid concerns that some providers are overstating the green benefits.

Pictured: A carbon capture array (left) and a mangrove forest (right). Image left: Carbon Clean Solutions

Nature-based solutions and carbon capture technologies: Do either have a role to play in the net-zero transition?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) major new report this week bore a stark warning: we may have to go beyond net-zero by 2050, globally, to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. It also raised questions about common approaches to 'netting' emissions - both nature-based and man-made.

edie outlines how businesses can begin to respond to the report in order to accelerate decarbonisation and improve long-term resiliency against a changing climate

5 key corporate net-zero considerations based on the latest IPCC report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a report warning that irreversible and unprecedented changes to the planet are being caused by the climate crisis. Here, edie summarises how businesses should respond to the warnings in the new landmark report.

Image: Kingspan

Kingspan Group and Royal DSM get seal of approval for science-based climate commitments

Building materials manufacturer Kingspan has pledged to cut operational emissions by 90% this decade, while Royal DSM has pledged a 50% cut within the same timeframe, under newly-approved science-based climate targets.

A decline in wind investments was offset by offerings from renewable energy firms

Renewable energy investments reach new heights for first half of 2021

Investment into clean energy projects and companies swelled to $174bn in the first half of 2021, with record levels of public market financing offsetting a decline in renewable project investments.

The charity argues that land-based carbon removal methods could cause food prices to grow by 80% by 2050, pushing even more people into cases of hunger

Nations and businesses 'hiding behind net-zero smokescreen', Oxfam warns

Governments and corporates are relying too much on 'unproven and unrealistic' carbon removal and offsetting schemes in order to reach net-zero targets, with a new report from Oxfam warning that a land area five times the size of India would be required to create new forests for these measures.

Common offsetting projects include tree planting and other nature restoration or creation, as well as helping communities to access renewable electricity or clean cooking fuel. Image: VCMI

Carbon offsetting: New 'integrity initiative' launched to tackle greenwashing

With an increasing amount of businesses turning to carbon offsetting to deliver net-zero climate goals, a new initiative has been launched to ensure that voluntary carbon markets actually deliver the levels of mitigation and sequestration needed.

Pictured: Panellists at the initiative's launch event at The Culpeper, Shoreditch, one of the 36 pilot locations. Image: Net-Zero Now

Net-zero pubs and bars scheme to help UK sector accelerate climate action amid Covid-19 recovery

A new industry protocol and certification standard has been launched to help the UK's bars and pubs reach net-zero before the national legal deadline of 2050.

Common offsetting projects include tree planting and other nature restoration or creation, as well as helping communities to access renewable electricity or clean cooking fuel

Carbon offsetting: Global governance body to be formed this year

With more businesses turning to carbon offsetting as a means to net-zero, the sector will need to grow dramatically - but concerns persist about greenwashing. To that end, plans have been drawn up to launch an independent governance body by the end of 2021.

Live emissions and energy data from the net-zero pilot restaurant will be used to inform a roadmap to decarbonisation across the KFC UK&I estate

KFC and Pilgrim's target net-zero by 2040

KFC UK & Ireland has announced a new commitment to reach net-zero ten years ahead of the legal deadline of 2050, in the same week that meat giant Pilgrim's announced a global net-zero target, also for 2040.

Image: Henry Boot

Construction firm Henry Boot targets net-zero by 2030

Sheffield-based construction firm Henry Boot has launched a new Net-Zero Carbon Framework, featuring commitments to switch to electric vehicles (EVs) and phase out diesel generators.

All edie podcast episodes can be listened to via iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: What role do carbon markets and pricing play in the net-zero transition?

With news around offsetting schemes and emissions trading featuring heavily in headlines in recent weeks, episode 103 of the Sustainable Business Covered Podcast explores their role in the net-zero transition.

The coalition represents most of the major businesses across the UK's aviation value chain, including British Airways. Stock image.

UK aviation sector sets interim climate goals on road to net-zero by 2050, but won't cap growth

A coalition representing the UK's major airports, airlines and plane manufacturers has, after publishing a controversial plan for reaching net-zero by 2050 last year, announced new interim climate goals and pledged to refresh its approach to low-carbon technologies.

Heathrow is now calling on ministers to support the scaling up of SAF production by setting mandates that require a minimum of 10% SAF use by airlines by 2030

Heathrow Airport adds sustainable aviation fuels to decarbonise flights

Heathrow has incorporated aviation fuel made from waste oils and fats for the first time, as the UK's largest airport seeks to establish proof of concept for the widescale use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) in a bid to reduce emissions from flights.

The G7 Summit will continue to focus on the net-zero transition

Next G7 Summit in Cornwall to be certified as carbon neutral

The UK Government has confirmed that the next G7 Summit, due to take place in Cornwall next month, will comply with internationally recognised standards for carbon neutrality.

The Science-Based Targets Initiative has verified the ambition in line with 1.5C

Kew Gardens eyes net-positive climate impact by 2030

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has published a 'Manifesto for Change' headlined by a commitment to reduce, sequester and offset more emissions than it generates.

Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of more than 150 aircraft, serving destinations across the US, Asia, Europe and Australia 

Cathay Pacific sets global net-zero target for 2050

Major international airline Cathay Pacific Group has set a 2050 net-zero target and unveiled a three-pronged delivery strategy, based on energy efficiency, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and offsetting.

Image: Nando's, picturing some of the chain's plant-based menu items

Nando's on track to reach carbon neutrality this year

As restaurants in England begin to welcome customers indoors for the first time in 2021, Nando's has announced that it is on track to become a carbon-neutral business by November.

Offsetting will be used as the Co-op works to reduce the footprint of products directly by 11% by 2025 

Co-op targets carbon neutrality across own-brand food and drink by 2025

In what it claims is a first for a UK supermarket, the Co-op has pledged to ensure that all own-brand food and drink products are carbon neutral by 2025.

The new body could be supported by organisations like the Environment Agency and CCC, the report states

Accounting, offsetting and sequestering: UK urged to set up carbon regulator on road to net-zero

To ensure that emissions reductions are delivered in line with the Paris Agreement and forthcoming carbon budgets, and that the carbon offsetting and removal markets do not greenwash as they scale, the UK could set up a dedicated regulator.

Image: VistaJet

VistaJet targets carbon neutrality by 2025 as British Airways owner ups sustainable aviation fuel

Private flight firm VistaJet has committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2025, by reducing emissions and then offsetting, in the same week that International Airlines Group (IAG) set new sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) targets.

Penguin Random House is the UK's largest publisher and has a multinational value chain

Penguin Random House targets climate-neutral value chain by 2030

Publishing giant Penguin Random House is aiming to deliver a carbon-neutral global value chain by 2030, as part of an updated sustainability policy.

The first flight using blended biofuel took place in 2008. But, in 2019, less than 6% of all aviation fuel used globally was classed as sustainable.

Boeing, Netflix and Microsoft among founders of new business alliance on sustainable aviation fuels

A new alliance to help scale sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) by increasing and unifying corporate demand has been backed by a string of big-name businesses, including Boeing, Deloitte, Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase.

The EV manufacturer has already provided a labelling system to outline the lifetime carbon footprint of its new vehicles. Image: Polestar

'A moonshot goal': Polestar aims to develop offset-free, climate-neutral car

Swedish electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Polestar has unveiled an ambitious new intention to create the first "truly" carbon-neutral car by 2030, by reducing emissions across the value chain and without relying on offsetting.

Earlier this year, Etsy set science-based targets and pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2030

Etsy to offset emissions from packaging materials

Online retailer Etsy has confirmed its intention to offset all of the carbon emissions associated with its packaging, as it builds towards its net-zero emissions commitment set for 2030.

Pictured: World of Books' warehouse operations 

UK's largest used books business targets carbon neutrality by 2022

World of Books Group, the UK's largest retailer for used books, has committed to becoming a carbon-neutral business by 2022.

Stewart joined Netflix six months ago and has been spending much of her time preparing the net-zero strategy

Sustainable sets and nature-based investments: Inside Netflix's new net-zero strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has this week pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2022. In an exclusive interview with edie, the firm's sustainability officer Emma Stewart outlines how it plans to ramp up in-house carbon reductions and use offsetting to meet this new climate goal.

Pictured: One of the new 'Embodied Beauty' flooring styles in an office. Image: Interface

Interface launches its first 'carbon negative' carpets

In a major step towards its vision to become a carbon-negative business by 2040, modular flooring firm Interface has launched its first carbon-negative certified products in the UK.

All edie podcast episodes can be listened to via iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud

Net-Zero Business podcast: EY's journey to, and beyond, carbon neutrality

In response to the accelerated pace at which businesses are examining and setting net-zero targets to help alleviate the climate crisis, edie has launched a new spin-off of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast. Up next, we speak to EY's global vice chair for sustainability, Steve Varley.

The commitments, from both firms, cover global operations. Image: HelloFresh

Climate and waste: HelloFresh and Superdrug make new sustainability commitments

Meal-kit giant HelloFresh has pledged to halve food waste by 2022, in the same week that Superdrug's parent company, A.S. Watson Group, committed to eliminate unnecessary packaging.

The likes of Pernod Ricard and Nestle have already enshrined biodiversity into their sustainability strategies

Cutting through complexity: Can biodiversity be embedded into corporate strategies?

In recent months, the importance of biodiversity in combatting the climate crisis has reached a new level understanding, with policymakers and academics peering into this complex topic to try and outline how the private sector can champion it. Here, edie hears from the businesses that have already enshrined regenerative practices into their business model.

The Council has already approved the project twice, but Jenrick has called for a public inquiry to take place

Government orders public inquiry into Cumbria coal mine

The Government is set to intervene in the controversial plan to open a new coal mine in Cumbria, with a fresh inquiry as to whether it can be opened while keeping to national climate commitments mooted to take place.

Cattle farmers may have to transition to different animal breeds that produce less methane. Image: Morrisons

Morrisons to source exclusively from net-zero British farms by 2030

Morrisons has revealed an ambition to become the first UK supermarket to use only farms certified as net-zero when sourcing products and ingredients from British suppliers.

While the 2021 Budget's green facets have been broadly welcomed, key groups want more information and some believe funding stops far short of what is needed

Green growth or greenwashing? Business leaders react to Rishi Sunak's 2021 Budget

After Chancellor Rishi Sunak opened his red Budget box to provide more detail on green bonds and net-zero innovation finance, there has been a mixed reaction from green economy leaders - as edie summarises in this article.

Image: Virgin Media

Virgin Media targets net-zero carbon operations for 2025

Virgin Media has committed to achieve net-zero operations by the end of 2025 and to transition its entire fleet to electric vehicles by 2030, as part of a sweeping new sustainability strategy.

The projects chosen by WeTransfer are linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard certifications

WeTransfer turns to offsets to achieve carbon-neutral certification

Digital file transferring service WeTransfer has confirmed it has achieved carbon neutral status, following a pledge to reduce emissions by 30% by 2025 that was set last year.

More than eight billion allowances changed hands through European markets in 2020, a near-20% increase on 2019 levels

Global carbon market grew 20% in 2020

The valuation of the global carbon market grew 20% in 2020, totalling almost €230bn and the fourth consecutive year of record growth, new research has found.