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Why Microsoft©, IKEA®, & Other Companies Are Going Carbon Negative

Greenhouse gases are the most significant driver of climate change, and carbon dioxide levels today are at their highest point in the last 800,000 years. [1] Fortunately, there is hope, and it’s coming from a somewhat unexpected source—large companies. Many companies are rejecting the common perception of the huge, megacorporation and are instead embracing green policies and sustainable practices. All around the world, companies are pledging to go carbon negative.

Carbon Negative vs. Carbon Neutral vs. Climate Positive

First, let’s go over terminology. What does “carbon negative” mean? How is it related to similar terms like “carbon neutral?”

When a company, country, or individual is carbon neutral, it means that the amount of carbon emissions they produce is balanced by removing greenhouse gas emissions in other ways, often by purchasing carbon credits. It doesn’t mean that the activity produces no carbon. It means that they’ve achieved a sort of carbon breakeven point. For every million tons of carbon dioxide an activity produces, the company removes a million tons of carbon from our atmosphere. [2]

Going carbon negative takes this a step further. A carbon negative entity removes more carbon than it produces. In other words, being carbon neutral is not enough. We have to actively work to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. [2]

Another term you may have heard recently is climate positive. Climate positivity is essentially the same thing as carbon negativity; it just uses friendlier language, so don’t be surprised if you start hearing it more often. [2]

Which Companies Are Going Climate Positive?

As consumers increasingly support environmental causes and demand greener products, more and more companies, both large and small, are doing their part to reduce carbon emissions.

Microsoft©

One of the largest companies to recently announce a climate positivity plan is tech giant Microsoft©, which has pledged to go carbon negative by 2030. Microsoft© is actually planning on taking things even further. By 2050, the company aims to remove all the atmospheric carbon it has ever produced, both directly and indirectly, since its founding in 1975. [3]

“While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so,” said Microsoft© President Brad Smith. [3]

To achieve these ambitious goals, Microsoft© is taking a multi-step approach. First, the company is doubling its internal carbon fee, a sort of “tax” on itself, to $15 for every metric ton of carbon dioxide it produces. The money will then be invested in sustainability technologies like carbon sequestration, a type of carbon capture that actively removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. [3]

IKEA®

In 2018, IKEA®, the world’s largest furniture retailer, announced it would be carbon negative by 2030. This monumental task involves the large-scale transformation of its entire supply chain, switching to 100% renewable energy sources, introducing more plant-based options in its cafeterias, and using more recyclable materials in its products. [4] The company also aims to replace its entire delivery fleet with electric vehicles by 2025. [5]

“We will also accelerate our efforts to inspire and enable our customers to live a healthy and sustainable life at home,” said IKEA® Head of Sustainability Lena Pripp-Kovac. “Every action matters.” [4]

TurboTax®, Mint®, QuickBooks®, & More

IKEA® and Microsoft© are two of the biggest names in climate positive companies, but they aren’t alone. Software company Intuit®, the makers of TurboTax®, Mint®, and QuickBooks®, have also pledged to be carbon negative by 2030. [6] Other companies going carbon negative include UK power plant Drax© and New York vodka maker Air Co©. [7], [8]

Why Are Companies Going Climate Positive?

It’s wonderful that more and more big brands are taking their environmental responsibility seriously, and it happened because people like you helped demand it.

According to a 2018 survey, 88% of consumers prefer companies that help them live more sustainably. [9] The survey responses are backed up by actual sales. An analysis by NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business found that sales of green products were nearly $114 billion in 2018, up 29% from 2013. Between 2013 and 2018, sales of sustainable products grew 5.6 times faster than products not marketed as sustainable, according to the NYU research. [10]

When consumers say they want green options and sustainable business practices, smart companies listen. Every one of us can make a difference.

How You Can Be Climate Positive, Too

Your home or your business can be climate positive, too! The first step is to find the current impact of your daily activities. Use our free carbon footprint calculator to measure your climate impact and learn how to reduce emissions.

 

Sources

  1. Lindsey R. Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Climate.gov. https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide. Published September 19, 2019. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  2. Anzilotti E. Climate positive, carbon neutral, carbon negative: What do they mean? dailyclimate.org. https://www.dailyclimate.org/climate-positive-carbon-neutral-carbon-negative-what-do-they-mean-2577709058.html. Published June 13, 2018. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  3. Microsoft announces it will be carbon negative by 2030. Microsoft News Center. https://news.microsoft.com/2020/01/16/microsoft-announces-it-will-be-carbon-negative-by-2030/. Published January 16, 2020. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  4. IKEA accelerates movement to become climate positive, committing to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from production by 80%. IKEA Newsroom. https://newsroom.inter.ikea.com/news/ikea-accelerates-movement-to-become-climate-positive–committing-to-reduce-absolute-greenhouse-gas-e/s/45bfcf5a-742b-4bde-8744-5ca9de43c0b8. Published November 30, 2018. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  5. Gulbraa R. Electric vehicles: Ikea wants a zero-emissions delivery fleet. Yale Climate Connections. https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2018/11/ikea-wants-a-zero-emissions-delivery-fleet/. Published November 21, 2018. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  6. Microsoft makes ‘carbon negative’ pledge. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51133811. Published January 16, 2020. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  7. Loughran J. Drax announces plans to become first ‘carbon negative’ company. The Institution of Engineering and Technology. https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2019/12/drax-announces-plans-to-become-first-carbon-negative-company/. Published December 10, 2019. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  8. Bomgardner MM. Chemist launches carbon-negative vodka company. Chemical and Engineering News. https://cen.acs.org/business/consumer-products/Chemist-launches-carbon-negative-vodka/97/i44. Published November 7, 2019. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  9. Townsend S. 88% Of Consumers Want You To Help Them Make A Difference. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/solitairetownsend/2018/11/21/consumers-want-you-to-help-them-make-a-difference/#2a5116cb6954. Published November 21, 2018. Accessed January 30, 2020.
  10. Kronthal-Sacco R, Whelan T. Sustainable Share Index™: Research on IRI Purchasing Data (2013-2018). NYU Stern. https://www.stern.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/assets/documents/NYU%20Stern%20CSB%20Sustainable%20Share%20Index%E2%84%A2%202019.pdf. Published March 11, 2019. Accessed January 30, 2020.


Take the first step.

Start small. Be conscious of the impact your actions have on the environment and figure out what you can do to lessen the blow. Calculate, conserve, and offset.

For businesses, our Corporate Sustainability Plans can help you with your emission reduction goals.

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