British Standards - A Clear Case for Carbon Neutrality

bsi logo"Carbon neutral" sounds good on paper, but what does it really mean? Organizations are making claims about carbon neutrality for everything from products to travel, events, projects and buildings. The problem is that no one quite agrees what "carbon neutral" means or how far it extends.

For example, if a product that claims to be carbon neutral is manufactured in one country using resources brought in from other countries, and that product is then distributed for sale worldwide, how can we be sure that it actually is carbon neutral? Where does verification begin and end in the lifecycle of any product?

Clearly, there is a need to define the concept of carbon neutrality in order to enhance its credibility, and to encourage a consistent approach among organizations that want to demonstrate in a credible and transparent way that they have achieved a carbon neutral status. This is why BSI is launching PAS 2060: Specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality early in 2010. The standard aims to provide a common, transparent and reliable approach by means of which carbon neutrality can be demonstrated. This will make it easier for people to compare claims, reduce the possibility that genuine greenhouse gas reduction will not be achieved, and overcome public cynicism about carbon neutrality.

The specification has been developed in response to feedback from industry leaders, consumer groups and other organizations. It builds on existing environmental standards such as the ISO 14000 series and PAS 2050 by setting forth requirements that must be met to achieve and demonstrate carbon neutrality through the quantification, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions.

The specification, once complete, will apply to any type of entity (eg businesses, regional and local government, academic institutions, clubs and social groups, families and individuals) and can focus on any identified part of its primary activity. PAS 2060 encourages entities to achieve emissions reductions arising directly from their own activity before going after reductions through recognized offsetting procedures. It also encourages a change in behaviour to help drive society towards a low carbon economy.

For more information on PAS 2060, contact Brian Such at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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