We love our planet. From frolicking on beaches to kicking back in botanical bliss and simply soaking up all the wonder of the gorgeous great outdoors, Mother Earth is our slice of magic. At Sozy, we want to do everything we can to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible.
We know that the fashion industry plays a huge role in bumping up greenhouse gas emissions and we are forever looking to improve our own commitment to being a carbon-neutral brand.
Carbon neutrality is such an important issue, especially for companies. At Sozy we believe we have a responsibility to give back and to protect this world for future generations to come. In an effort not to gloss over the problems we face when it comes to carbon emissions and to avoid greenwashing rather than taking action, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and achieving carbon neutrality. Thanks so much for your support and for joining us on this journey to do better.
Carbon Neutral 101: What Is Carbon Neutrality And How Does Carbon Affect Global Warming?
What Is Carbon?
Carbon is a chemical element that combines with other elements to make molecules. These molecules are basically the building blocks on which our world is formed - we are made up of carbon as is the earth beneath our feet. In fact, even the human body is said to be 20% carbon. But when talking about climate change this isn't the form of carbon we mean. Carbon in the climate context is a shorthand way of talking about carbon dioxide which is made up of carbon and oxygen molecules and also known as CO2.
What about Fossil Fuels?
Plants soak up the CO2, keeping the carbon and throwing out the oxygen (which is why plants are so important). Animals breathe in that oxygen and throw out carbon dioxide. This has been going on since the beginning of time and when these plants and animals die and go into the earth they become fossil fuels like oil and gas. We use fossil fuel as energy to make our world turn. By burning fossil fuels we send that collected carbon back out into the atmosphere, only the process has been sped up. In just a couple of hundred years, we have pumped out into the world what took millions of years to build up.
What about Greenhouse Gas?
CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gas is important as it helps trap heat from the sun close to the earth and keeps our earth habitable rather than a frozen mass.
So, we do need these greenhouse gases and carbon emissions in order to survive, but like everything in life - this comes in moderation. Unfortunately, we have as long left that tipping point behind and we are now in a place where there is too much carbon dioxide. When we have an excess of carbon dioxide emissions this warms the atmosphere too much and leads to climate change and a whole host of other problems.
Carbon dioxide isn't the only source contributing to the greenhouse effect. Methane from natural gas is a huge problem too and one of the biggest contributing factors is livestock and how we approach mass agriculture. Nitrus Oxide and industrial gases also add to the pile.
There are many sources of greenhouse gas emissions, most of which have to do with our daily habits.
How Carbon Impacts Climate Change
As the earth doesn't have enough biocapacity to soak up all these carbon emissions, they start to accumulate. The greenhouse gases absorb solar energy and they keep the heat close to the earth and the atmosphere gets hotter and hotter. This leads to all kinds of proven catastrophic effects, some of which you may be familiar with such as the melting of the ice-caps.
Soaring CO2 emissions leads to carbon pollution which can contribute to heightened smog and respiratory issues in people, poor crop yields, and more natural disasters. The melting of the ice caps can lead to a rise in sea levels, floods and famine and the loss of habitats and ecosystems for wildlife and plants.
Image Source: NASA
The higher temperatures can lead to wildfires and drought and water supplies drying up. Our weather patterns will change and everything from the environment to the economy will suffer the impact. When Greta Thunberg said that we need to act as though our house is on fire, it's because it is.
At Sozy, we are keen to act now and do what we can to get to climate neutrality because we believe it is our duty as a company existing during a time when swift climate action is needed. Every single sector contributes to the rise of greenhouse gasses and it is down to each of us to do our best to do our bit.
How To Achieve Carbon Neutrality
One of the major ways in which we can do our bit is by aiming to be mindful of our energy use choices and to achieve carbon neutrality in our business. To achieve carbon neutrality, we calculate our carbon footprint and work to reduce that footprint to zero by levelling up our energy efficiency and committing to carbon offsets to balance us out.
Here is the process for achieving carbon-neutral certification...
- Define where you need to focus your energy and which of your services and products would benefit the most from a carbon-neutral approach. You can make your whole business carbon neutral or concentrate that effort on a certain product or sector.
- Measure your existing carbon footprint so you know exactly where you are on the scale and where you need to make major emissions reductions. An independent specialist contractor will come and work with you on this to make sure there is a solid strategy in place for correctly measuring your output and knowing what scope you are dealing with when it comes to carbon offsetting.
- Target these areas where change is needed and commit to making the change to hit net zero emissions.
- Reduce your impact by implementing changes like energy efficiency projects, changes to air travel, switching to solar panels for power, reducing energy consumption, or whatever your sustainability goals are for becoming carbon neutral.
The Difference Between Carbon Neutral And Zero Carbon
Becoming carbon neutral is a balancing act. It means offsetting your emissions by removing from the atmosphere the same amount of carbon as you put out. You do this through carbon credits or GHG emissions and investing in projects that encourage the growth of renewable energy sources or other climate action plan ideas.
Hitting zero carbon means not just working to balance out your emissions but reducing them too. So, not only are you not putting anything more into the air but you are actively working on emissions reduction too.
What Leaves A Carbon Footprint
Anything that requires the burning of fossil fuel leaves a carbon footprint. Here are just a few examples of activities and daily life that add to your footprint...
- Electricity - burning coal and fossil fuels to produce electricity contributes to nearly 27% of overall emissions. Everything that uses electricity, from the heating in your home to the battery in your smart phone, contributes to global warming.
- Industry - burning fossil fuels to create energy to run businesses is a major contributing factor to emissions as are "certain chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials".
- Transportation - 28% of emissions come from burning fossil fuels for our vehicles, which is why the travel bans associated with COVID-19 has actually been really good for the environment.
- Agriculture - 10% of emissions come from agricultural practices, largely from the upkeep of livestock (ie that juicy burger).
3 Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Reduce Our Use
Cutting down our use is an awesome start when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. For individuals, maybe this means cycling instead of driving, taking one less flight, skipping a shower, or choosing to buy local products that will use less energy getting to your door. These small changes all add up and can lead to a collective emission reduction.
Use Renewable Energy
From solar power to biomass, hydroelectricity and wind turbines, there are many ways in which the world can make a shift to renewable electricity and other renewable energy source choices. Changing how we power our world and shifting away from gas and coal is going to be a major contributor to changing the system and reducing our global footprint.
Offset The Rest
When you can't reduce your usage anymore this is when you make plans to offset the rest. Basically, you buy a carbon credit and fund projects and sustainable development that works with long term carbon reduction. This is a great way of holding yourself accountable and acknowledging that you are taking all the steps you can to combat the impact of your remaining emissions.
Countries That Are Committed To Carbon Neutrality
Committing to being carbon neutral by 2050, Costa Rica is leading the way when it comes to switching to renewable energy sources with 94% of its electricity coming from wind, water, and heat. They are also doing awesome things when it comes to responsible eco-friendly tourism too.
Canada also vows to be carbon neutral by 2050 and BC have become one of the first North American provinces to actually achieve carbon-neutral status. Natural gas vehicles are enjoying accelerated status.
Denmark has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions up to 70% by 2030. With one of the largest carbon-neutral settlements on the planet, Samso Island is all bio heating and wind-powered electricity.
Already generating 99% of its energy from renewable resources, Iceland is making an impact and it was one of the first 4 countries to join the climate-neutral network.
A bill has been passed that requires the country to hit net zero for greenhouse gasses by 2050, making New Zealand one of the few countries that has put climate action into law.
3 Big Businesses That Are Committed To Carbon Neutrality
Over 825000 Xbox consoles have been made carbon neutral, which is awesome news for all those forward thinking gamers out there.
Committed to being fully carbon neutral by 2030, Sky is already making inroads to contribute to a better greener globe, ensuring that entertainment can be guilt-free. Their rainforest rescue and ocean rescue campaigns are also committing to creating a plastic free workspace and to grow awareness around the problems of deforestation.
Google have been carbon neutral now for over a decade and has invested $3 billion into renewable energy projects. They are instrumental in helping spread the word about environmental issues and their online tool Your Plan, Your Planet is a great place to kickstart your own journey in reducing your carbon footprint.
These are just a handful of companies committing to carbon neutrality and we are excited to be a part of this list. Thanks to all those who have supported us and who continue to cheer us on along the way.
If you want a little more inspiration when it comes to climate change and what we can all do to help, take a look at these articles too...
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