Some products claim to be zero emission or carbon neutral, is that a thing?
Yes, companies can be certified as carbon neutral, they have to measure their emissions, reduce these where possible, offset remaining emissions and then publicly report on their achievement.
There are few carbon-neutral foods at the moment. However, the good news is that many companies are committed to achieving this goal in the coming years. Many products are already being produced in a process with less greenhouse gas emissions, but neutrality is still a medium to a long-term target.
It is important to note that sustainability is not just about the environment. When looking for sustainable production, three aspects are involved: economic, social and environmental. Therefore, most sustainability certifications assess these aspects of the chosen food chain. The guarantee of this tripod is relevant since most commodities are produced in developing countries and exported to developed countries. Thus, the final consumer can be assured that the food was produced following the best social, economic and environmental practices.
With regard specifically to carbon-neutral, there are some certifications for different stages of the process, from primary production to the commercialization of products. This is the case for Climate Neutral Certified, Carbon Reduction Institute and Climate Active, for instance. In these certifications, both the neutrality of the production stage – such as in the production of coffee, for example – and the neutrality of small businesses – such as a craft ice cream company or a takeaway restaurant – can be attested. To be carbon certified the company must measure emissions, reduce these where possible, offset remaining emissions and then publicly report on their achievement. A company can also just certify a specific product, service, event or building.
Climate Neutral Certified. Access: https://www.climateneutral.org/
Carbon Reduction Institute. Access: https://noco2.com.au/noco2-business-certification/certified-products/
Climate Active. Access: https://www.climateactive.org.au/