Carbon Neutral Certificates: Verify Your Favorite Company is Net-Zero

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

August 18, 2021

Whether you’re an eco-friendly business owner or a planet-loving consumer, there’s no question that a carbon neutral certificate sounds like a pretty good thing to have. But what is a carbon credit certificate, and does carbon-neutral even mean anyway?

A street sign that says

In order to avoid the worst possible outcomes of climate change, scientists predict that we need to limit the rise in global temperature. This means reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and becoming Carbon Neutral Now. Unfortunately, not all companies have the capacity or technology to run their own carbon negative programs. But by purchasing climate credits and offsets, all companies have an opportunity to become carbon neutral.

Key Takeaways: Saving the Planet with Carbon Neutral Certificates
  • Carbon emissions are measured in tCO2e, which is a fancy way of saying “tons of carbon”.
  • Companies, individuals, and organizations can fight climate change by modifying company protocol to become more climate neutral.
  • A neutral certification is a valuable marketing tool for eco-conscious companies

With Carbon Neutral Certifications, What Does It Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?

A carbon neutral company is any organization that has completely negated both its direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the EPA, direct GHG emissions (or “Scope 1”) include any gas emissions that are under direct control of the company. This includes fuel combustion, like in vehicles, furnaces, boilers, and equipment. Indirect GHG emissions (or “Scope 2) are any emissions that occur from the production of that company’s energy sources, like electricity and air conditioning.

When a company is able to offset (or “balance out”) the entirety of their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, they have become certified as a neutral business.

A graphic image of an 8 Billion Trees carbon neutral certification example that has a tree watermark, 8’s along the border, and a seal of approval. The example or generic certification says “Certificate of recognition; Green Construction Inc.(example company) has been awarded the 8 Billion Trees carbon neutral certification on January 1st 2021 for outstanding efforts in eliminating carbon emissions.”
How Does a Company Become Carbon Neutral?

Here’s the thing: It’s almost impossible for a company to offset all of its GHG emissions with in-house green initiatives. That’s why eco-conscious companies purchase carbon certificates.

Carbon certificates are market-traded commodities that represent a specific, predetermined amount of carbon pollution. When a company “retires” a carbon certificate, they are “canceling out” the same amount of CO2 from their overall carbon footprint.

Who Certifies a Company as Carbon Neutral?

Because global governments have been slow on the uptake when it comes to carbon neutrality, it has been up to private companies and small eco-groups to manage the business of net-zero certification. Versus Carbon Neutral is a group of professional scientists, analysts, and engineers who have come together to give companies the tools they need to achieve net-zero carbon neutrality. They also provide certifications that companies can use as a marketing tool.

Carbonfund’s Carbonfree Product Certification is a similar program, designed to certify specific eco-friendly products on the basis of their net neutrality. Product certifications can then be displayed on packages and in advertising, which can be a big marketing boon for any carbon-neutral businesses. Carbonfund is also one of the larger carbon offset companies, with a large catalogue of carbon projects to support.

A timeline infographic with trees, a bird, and a monkey at the bottom showing the rapid growth and impact of 8 Billion Trees. “Jon & Mike had the company idea in November 2019 and within 7 months or up until July 2020 has already planted nearly one million trees (over 166,000 acres) and sequestered both direct and indirect emissions. In between that 7 month period the company was funded, built partnerships with organizations in the carbon offset industry, built relationships with foreign governments, planted trees, saved habitats and impacted lives.”

How to Become Carbon Neutral & the Benefits of the Carbon Neutrality Initiative

There are three steps to becoming CO2 neutral and supporting the carbon neutrality initiative:

  1. Understand & Measure: The first step in the journey toward net zero carbon is understanding how CO2 and GHG emissions are affecting our planet. Then, using this understanding, we can measure or estimate our actual carbon footprint, so we can take steps to correct it.
  2. Reduce & Offset: Companies can find big emissions reductions by optimizing supply lines, investing in new equipment, or installing green energy technology on-site. But any GHG emissions that can’t be undone by these initiatives should be covered by a carbon offset or carbon credit.
  3. Share & Inspire: The task of preventing our planet from runaway greenhouse effect is a big one, and we don’t stand a chance unless everyone gets on board. If you’re an individual or company who is striving to be carbon-neutral, tell your friends, family, and customers both why and how to achieve.


U.S. Universities Take the Lead on Neutral Certifications

Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the most innovative carbon neutrality programs in the world are taking place in US Universities.

The University of California’s Carbon Offset Program is a good example. READ MORE: California Carbon Offsets Explained

Are You Carbon Neutral or Climate Neutral? Calculate Your Carbon Footprint to Find Out

Being carbon neutral is all about balancing out your CO2 emissions. But once you start spending time in the world of carbon neutrality, you will start hearing the term climate neutral as well. The difference between carbon neutral and climate neutral is simple. Climate neutral includes considerations for more greenhouse gases (GHG) than just CO2. Methane is another dangerous emission that can be mitigated with the use of climate offsets, as can nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.

Ready to calculate your carbon footprint? Our personal carbon footprint calculator makes it easy to see what kind of effect your lifestyle is having on our environment.

Carbon Neutral Companies & Products with Footprint Labels

In celebration of all those who are making a stand against climate change, here is a list of some of the best carbon neutral companies, as well as our team’s recommendations for some of the best products with carbon footprint labels.

Best Carbon Neutral Companies 2021
  • Allbirds: Shoes made from trees, with zero carbon footprint
  • Avocado: Green mattress supplier with eco-conscious practices
  • Biolite: Clean, smoke-less cooking technology
  • Ministry of Supply: Carbon-neutral clothing make with 100% recycled materials
  • Nisolo: Ethically made footwear
  • Rumpl: Blankets, towels, and ponchos from a Carbon Neutral company
  • 22 degrees: Neoprene oceanwear company with multiple carbon neutral certifications
  • FireclayTile: The first handmade tile company to become a certified Public Benefit Corporation
  • Rocket Insights: Carbon neutral product designers with big style
  • Bread Alone Bakery: Family-owned organic bread and pastries
  • Defunkify: Eco-friendly detergents and cleaners

In order to evaluate a company or organization on the basis of carbon neutrality, the #1 thing to look for is transparency. The more that group is willing to share about their ecological efforts, the better the chance that they are going to make a real difference in saving the planet.

8 Billion Trees is a carbon offset company that is committed to transparency in every level. At this website, you can learn about the ways that your carbon offset dollars are being spent, as well as the ongoing efforts that are underway to ensure a healthy, thriving planet for many generations to come.