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Difference Between Carbon Neutral, Net Zero and Climate Positive

August 30 2022

Difference Between Carbon Neutral, Net Zero, and Climate Positive

The new gold is achieving carbon-neutral. More companies are now aware of the need to be carbon-neutral or climate positive. The issue of climate change is now a global issue.

With global corporations like Google claim to be the first company to eliminate their carbon legacy. The question now is how is that even possible?

The terms “net-zero”, ‘climate positive”, and “carbon neutral” have been thrown around for some time now. In the last couple of years, startups and global companies are now integrating them.

Into their processes so that they can gain a marketing edge. However, the lack of what these terms mean may mislead well-intentioned consumers.

Hence, corporations need to create an awareness of how they can understand these terms. That way everyone is on the same page regarding achieving a carbon-neutral environment

The Paris Climate Agreement has set a target and it has 29 years more to achieve global net-zero emissions.

For companies and corporations including individuals to minimize or completely erase their carbon footprint. They need to have a full grasp of these terms.

For instance, Apple has set a target to be carbon neutral. Completely from the supply chain to the power usage in all the devices they make by 2030.


  • Carbon Positive: This means the activity of a corporation can achieve net-zero emission by removing additional Carbon (CO2) from the atmosphere.
  • Carbon Neutral: this means that a Company can remove an equivalent amount of CO2 they release into the atmosphere as a result of their activities.
  • Carbon Positive: It is a marketing term used by an organization to describe carbon negative and climate change
  • Carbon Negative: This is the same as carbon positive.
  • Net-Zero Emissions: This refers to the ability to balance the amount of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission that is removed from the atmosphere and the total amount released into the atmosphere.
  • Net-Zero Carbon Emissions: This means that an activity does not release any amount of carbon emission into the atmosphere. The carbon emissions as a result of the activity are zero.
  • Carbon Neutral: This is the ability of a corporate organization to be able to minimize greenhouse gas emissions to zero and also eliminate all other negative environmental impacts at the same time.
Difference Between Carbon Neutral, Net Zero and Climate Positive

The Difference Between Carbon Neutral, Climate Positive, and Net-Zero

The term carbon neutral emerged as the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year in 2006 and has been a common reoccurrence in several discussions.

It is defined as the balance between absorbing carbon and emitting carbon emissions from carbon sinks. In other words, it can be said to be the ability to eliminate carbon emissions.

Carbon sinks are systems that can absorb more carbon than they can emit, examples of carbon sinks include soils, forests, and oceans.

Based on the European Union Commission analysis, they observed that natural sinks are capable of removing between 9.5 and 11 Gt of CO2 annually.

There is no artificial carbon sink that is capable of removing carbon from the air on the required scale to combat global warming.

As a result of this, there are two options available to companies if they want to become carbon-neutral, the two options are

  • Balancing their GHG emissions through offsetting or minimizing their carbon emissions to net-zero and
  • Purchase of carbon credits.

What Does it Mean to be carbon-Neutral?

Becoming carbon neutral is the goal of many companies but how can they make it happen? The start point is to calculate and know what your company footprint is.

This will enable you to know how and where to channel your efforts and also track your progress. You can use carbon management software or other online tools to evaluate your carbon footprint.

Both carbon-neutral and net-zero are almost the same as in both cases, companies are striving to minimize and ensure a balance in their carbon can help individuals, and companies lower carbon emissions.

While carbon neutrality means balancing out carbon emissions, net-zero means eliminating carbon emissions, which is achieving a net-zero carbon emission.

Carbon Negative and Climate Positive

These are two similar terms referring to the ability of companies to be able to absorb more carbon dioxide from the airspace than they emit.

When a company can achieve this, then they are said to have a negative amount of carbon emissions and are impacting positively on the climate.