Know the difference between carbon-neutral, net-zero, and climate positive

It all started in the 90s when international conferences took up a crucial issue of sustainable development. Decades after discussing climate-related challenges, now governments, people and corporations are actually assessing and contributing to the sustainability journey of the planet. The target set to lower the global temperatures is one such step. Such initiatives have turned people’s heads towards ever-pressing issues of global warming and associated challenges.

Here, often we are stormed with a sea of information that we focus majorly on the context rather than the significance of terms on an individual basis. Sustainability, climate change, net-zero, carbon emissions are the buzzwords. The context remains the same as that of climate change but fundamentally they are different. Everyone, including companies, tend to understand the climate lingo but hardly they are clear about the goals. Read on further and know the difference among the concepts of carbon-neutral, net-zero and climate positive.

Carbon neutral:

As the name suggests, carbon-neutral is the balancing out of carbon emissions from your firm. It is more like owning a complete responsibility for one’s own carbon emissions. Corporates and companies need to assess and analyse their carbon emissions. Such analysis gives an idea about the number of carbon emissions that need to be balanced out. It is then that firms plan to come out carbon neutral by saving an equivalent amount of carbon emissions somewhere else in the world.


The Net-zero concept is a simple concept of balancing out the net emissions created. Here emissions are of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. These levels are reached when anthropogenic emissions balance out with the help of pre-determined activities.

Climate Positive:

It lies in that much-awaited stage in the sustainability journey, wherein companies or entities tend to remove an additional amount of carbon from the atmosphere. It has reached the level of achieving net-zero emissions and now stands beyond the same. This term is often used interchangeably with climate negative.

Is your company carbon neutral or climate positive or has net-zero emissions?

Well, after knowing these are different and important concepts, a firm needs to introspect about these. Raising these questions can help us achieve our environmental goals faster. Prior to that, your company needs to analyse emissions. Accordingly, you can set realistic goals and plan a roadmap. For the same, consult a team of professionals dealing in the same.

Hopefully, tech giants and corporates are taking steps towards assessing their goals and contributions. However, a lot needs to be done collectively on this pressing issue, until we balance out our needs with our climate’s needs.