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Neutralise the emissions you can’t avoid by financing carbon removal projects

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What is this action about?

In line with Foundations for Net-Zero Target Setting by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), neutralisation measures are actions that companies take to remove carbon from the atmosphere within or beyond the value chain and store it. 

Carbon removal methods range from biological, such as tree planting and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), to chemical, such as using machines to suck CO2 from the air. For the complete taxonomy, risks, and co-benefits of various methods, please read the IPCC AR6 WGIII report.

Increasingly, carbon removal is becoming more common in corporate climate plans, and in particular in target setting, as reaching net zero emissions requires neutralising a company’s residual (i.e those that remain after taking all possible reduction measures) emissions with an equivalent amount of carbon removals.

To ensure your strategy is science-based and aligned with the 1.5°C ambition, your priority should be to take immediate and direct action to reduce all emissions across all Scope 1, 2, and 3 and limit your residual emissions to the minimum. To neutralise the latter effectively, carbon should not only be removed but also stored for a long-enough period to balance out the impact of any emissions that continue to be released into the atmosphere.

Both neutralisation and compensation measures are being used by companies to offset emissions. In science-based net zero strategies, offsetting can play two roles: 

  • During the transition to net zero Neutralisation and compensation measures may supplement, but not substitute, reducing value chain emissions in line with science. For more on compensation, please read “Compensate for your emissions to help society transition to net zero faster”.

  • At net zero Companies with residual emissions within their value chain are expected to neutralise those emissions with an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide removals.

The Oxford Offsetting Principles (see below) provide further guidance on successful offsetting practice. The Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance by GHG, due to be published in 2023, will include guidelines on accounting for and reporting removals. You can read a draft here.

For further information about net zero, please refer to net zero guidelines (see below) by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Download: The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon OffsettingDownload: ISO Net zero guidelines

Neutralise the emissions you can’t avoid by financing carbon removal projects

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