Carbon neutrality means different things to different people. The general intent is to suggest that a “carbon neutral” or “net zero” service or product is provided in a manner so that there are no net greenhouse gas emissions. Typically, but not exclusively, this refers to emissions of carbon dioxide which arise from fossil fuel use. In many cases efforts might have been made to minimise electricity consumption, or use of fossil fuels, which is the goal. It is, however, almost impossible for any supplier to provide any service or product which has not involved the use of fossil fuels, as at least some small element of their supply chain will have used fossil fuels.

Commonly if an organisation is said to be certified “carbon neutral” then they will have made efforts to minimise their carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2), and obtained offsets to achieve net zero. They may not in fact have assessed, addressed or reported their Scope 3 emissions which cover downstream and upstream emissions.

Our view is that if you claim carbon neutrality then it is incumbent on you to report the potential scale of Scope 3 emissions, as in some case these dwarf Scope 1 and 2. This not only helps transparency and credibility, but might help stakeholders to act to reduce such impacts.