With ongoing climate change, this productive method aims to reduce or eliminate the impacts of production activities on the planet.
It is simple to explain the low-carbon economy concept: it involves developing production processes that generate the least possible impact on the environment by reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) emitted throughout the production chain.
With discussions on climate change advancing across all spheres, it has become an agenda for the present and the future.
The challenge for many businesses, as we showed in this article on climate change, is to succeed in implementing more sustainable mechanisms in their activities. The idea is to ensure that the organization can reduce or even eliminate gases that contribute to global warming.
In this regard, several actions can assist companies to achieve this goal:
- Pursuing renewable energy sources (solar, wind, and hydroelectric).
- Focusing on the circular economy, including reverse logistics.
- Investing in research and development (R&D) focusing on waste reuse and better use of resources.
- Adopting more sustainable land use, including reforestation in degraded areas.
Of course, the extent of these initiatives depends on the industry in which the company operates and its environmental impact.
Oil or mining sector companies should take more assertive actions than software providers. However, this does not mean that organizations with a lower impact should not be concerned with the issue.
Even with emissions reduction, the company will still emit some greenhouse gases on a smaller scale. In this scenario, the approach neutralizes the impact by compensating with nature. Initiatives like Green Carbon enable companies to offset their footprints.
A complex equation
A survey by the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that a significant investment in renewable energy will be necessary to achieve a low-carbon economy.
Renewable energy sources need to expand at a faster rate than what is currently happening. Their share reached 29% in 2021 but needs to surpass 60% by 2030. The annual production capacity must grow by approximately 12% per year between 2022 and 2030 to achieve that. The problem is that this rate is twice as high as the average expansion between 2019 and 2021.
That is a complex equation, as energy is perhaps the mandatory input and will be even more valuable in the future. Companies depend on technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, which connect various devices. Adopting these innovations requires a reliable energy supply.
The challenge is complex because, in addition to keeping up with technological innovations and remaining competitive, companies need to plan for renewable and appropriate energy sources in line with the new reality of a low-carbon economy.
Brazil offers a more favorable scenario than the rest of the world, as the country has around 50% of its energy matrix coming from renewable sources.
The importance of offsetting
In a challenging scenario like this, one crucial aspect for many companies is carbon offsetting, besides seeking mechanisms to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Companies worldwide have been investing in measuring and managing their greenhouse gas emissions. The so-called emissions inventory considers various sources within the company’s business, such as electricity consumption, industrial processes, equipment, and vehicles. The calculation is done with the support of specialized consulting or by a market calculator, such as the GHG Protocol.
The value identified in the inventory serves as a reference for mitigation activities that can be adopted by the business. One of the most applied approaches is reforestation in areas that have been deforested or undergone significant degradation, as we explained before.
Companies find specialized partners in forest management to purchase carbon credits or plant trees to offset their activities in most cases. Green Carbon is one of those partners. It is a greentech company specializing in good practices of fauna and flora management, with an international certification seal from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
By investing in this practice, the company also receives the Zero Carbon Seal, which validates the measures taken by the contracting company to mitigate carbon production.