Carbon Neutral Is Great, but Climate-Positive Business Is Better for the World
By: Emily Newton
When Joe Biden took office earlier this year, he initiated the Build Back Better plan. The agenda’s goal is to enhance national sustainability levels by achieving carbon neutrality. America can effectively minimize ecological degradation by shrinking the industrial sector’s carbon footprint.
Initiating climate-positive business models may reduce national emissions, targeting the highest polluters. It also enhances consumers’ agency and lets them choose the sustainability of their goods and services. Before exploring the benefits of climate-positive companies, individuals must assess the challenges associated with carbon-neutral models.
Ecological Challenges With Carbon-Neutrality
Carbon-neutral businesses solely focus on minimizing the number of emissions they create. They track and calculate the amount of carbon dioxide related to their material mining, manufacturing and distribution practices. One challenge associated with the sustainability model is its disregard for other greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon dioxide produces nearly 80% of global air pollution, leaving 20% of emissions unaccounted for. Other pollutants have similar impacts on the atmosphere, creating the enhanced greenhouse effect. Over time, the 20% of emissions may significantly degrade the environment.
The carbon-neutral business model is also inefficient because its filtration practices are unequal to emission production processes. Many companies in post-industrial nations like America outsource their product manufacturing. Most production practices occur in less developed countries without carbon processing technology.
Corporations like Amazon plant a certain number of trees for each sale they make, but they do this in the U.S. instead of the countries they outsource from. The odds that surface-level emissions will travel to another continent before the atmosphere are slim, leaving the carbon reduction practice ineffective.
Reforestation professionals are also running out of suitable land to plant new vegetation. Infrastructural development in America leaves few regions available for overgrowth. Additionally, expanding plant life in some habitats can harm local ecosystems.
Carbon capturing and storing (CCS) processes are also minimally effective. A widespread CCS practice places carbon underground, helping Earth’s organic filtration processes purify the matter before reaching the atmosphere. The burying practice allows some emissions to escape, decreasing its efficiency and sustainability.
The underdeveloped energy monitoring and calculation technologies also reduce the sustainability of carbon-neutral businesses. When company owners miscalculate their emissions from technological deficiencies, they leave excess pollutants unaccounted for. Instead of solely focusing on emission-reduction efforts, companies can increase their sustainability levels by adopting a climate-positive business model.
Features of Climate-Positive Businesses
Climate-positive businesses go beyond the carbon-neutral goal, focusing on global climate change prevention efforts. Companies following the model are more sustainable because they focus on reducing all greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, their goods and services are less ecologically degrading compared to competing products on the market.
The business model aligns with the Paris Agreement’s global temperature reduction goal. The United Nation’s (UN’s) agreement plans to minimize Earth’s temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius below preindustrial levels. Companies can lessen climate change by reducing their emissions.
Focusing on the global environmental sustainability goal instead of personal emissions effectively improves ecological conditions. There are various features of a climate-positive business that enhance conservation efforts. Reducing a company’s reliance on fossil fuels is the first step toward sustainability.
Businesses are installing renewable energy technology to decrease greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Eco-friendly corporations like Tesla line their production facilities’ roofs with solar panels, generating a sustainable electricity supply. Other companies rely on grid-scale solar storage advancements, accessing enough emissionless power to support their energy needs.
Some climate-positive businesses additionally use electric vehicles (EVs) to minimize transportation and distribution emissions. In America, nearly 29% of emissions derive from the transportation sector. Workers can charge their EVs with renewable electricity to further decrease atmospheric pollution.
Many climate-positive companies use various technologies to prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike carbon-neutral organizations, the sustainability-focused groups minimize initial degradation instead of cleaning up pollution after the fact.
The Benefits of Active Emission Reduction Efforts
There are various ecological benefits associated with climate-positive companies. The most significant advantage is minimizing the enhanced greenhouse effect. When companies follow the carbon-neutral model, they contribute to atmospheric degradation.
Their direct greenhouse gas emissions reach the atmosphere, minimizing its stability and ability to produce life-sufficient surface temperatures. When pollutants invade the environment, they reduce the global ecosystem’s security. Naturally, Earth creates heat from sunlight, using it to warm its surface.
The atmosphere collects excess energy and sends it to space, reducing overheating. When greenhouse gases pollute the atmosphere, they raise its light-to-heat conversion rate. They also trap extra energy in the environment, refiltering it through the heat-making process.
Over time, the emissions raise Earth’s temperatures. Water displacement, soil erosion, agricultural limitations, habitat destruction, forced migration and food scarcity derive from the enhanced greenhouse effect. Climate-positive businesses work to reduce all emissions and slow environmental degradation.
Another advantage of climate-positive companies is utility cost reductions. Solar power is currently the most affordable energy source on the market. Businesses can significantly increase their financial savings by decreasing emissions and using renewable power supplies.
Companies can also increase their sales by going climate-positive. Generation Z and millennial consumers value sustainable products and services, paying more for them over competing options. They also purchase more eco-conscious goods than other alternatives on the market.
Companies can gain a leg up on competitors by increasing the sustainability of their business models. They may additionally charge higher prices for their goods and services, increasing their financial gains.
Who Are the Key Players in Business Sustainability?
Many companies evaluate the benefits of climate-positive business models to make the transition away from ecologically degrading practices. Ikea is one company making ambitious strides toward climate positivity. It plans on fully adopting the business model by 2030, leading the corporate green revolution.
Microsoft is also working toward carbon positivity. It wants to become carbon negative by 2030, minimizing manufacturing and distribution emissions. Tech companies are significant atmospheric and surface-level polluters, making emission-reduction practices vital.
Voting With Your Dollars
Environmentalists and eco-conscious consumers can promote climate positivity on the market by voting with their dollars. People hold the power to change manufacturing and distribution practices. Increasing one’s support of low-emission companies can encourage other businesses to follow the sustainability trends.
Emily Newton is a journalist with over four years covering the environmental sector. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she also covers the many ways technology is changing our world.