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What does net zero carbon really mean?

July 26, 2022

The Paris Climate Agreement says that to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less, we will need to reach net zero carbon emissions globally by 2050

What does this mean for consumers and businesses alike? How is carbon footprint calculated and what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint? Keep reading to find out all the details on this important subject.  

How is carbon usage calculated?

Whenever a business or an individual performs an activity, they emit greenhouse gasses in the process. This is as simple as going for a drive to the grocery store, or as big as industries producing massive amounts of CO2 to manufacture goods. 

Carbon usage is calculated by figuring out how much CO2 or greenhouse gasses you produce during the day in each activity you perform. There are myriad carbon footprint calculators online that can help you gauge your annual footprint. 

What’s included in the calculation?

There are many different items included in the calculations. You might be surprised at how many different ways you are producing greenhouse gasses through casual everyday activities. Some of these ways are:

  • Purchasing clothing that requires greenhouse gasses to manufacture 
  • Buying items from distant countries that use gasoline-based transportation
  • Using anything that is made of plastic, which produces CO2 for production
  • Driving anywhere using your car or any other petrol-guzzling transport

This also applies to businesses like banks or other institutions, which are constantly emitting greenhouse gasses due to their various activities. 

Are carbon off-sets enough?

You can offset the carbon emissions you produce in a couple of ways. It could be as simple as removing as many greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere as you put in (but surely, easier said than done). 

For example, you might have flown with airlines before that promised to use CO2-capture technologies to remove as many greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere as your flight produces. 

The problem is that sometimes offset isn't enough. Lots of businesses are using this as a way to delay or push back customer pressures on them to reduce their carbon emissions. They use reducing carbon emissions as a slogan or a great sales pitch in advertising, but they aren't doing anything real to reduce their carbon emissions in the long term. 

Truly, the best way of offsetting carbon is to not produce carbon emissions in the first place. That means using renewable energy sources, 100% recycled paper and plastic materials, and electric or green vehicles. You can do this as well by installing solar panels on your home, buying and using electric vehicles, and buying local as much as possible. 

How can banks play a role in offsetting carbon?

Even though airlines are the ones buying the most carbon offsets at the moment, banks and other financial institutions are looking to get in on the action as well. They want to reduce their carbon footprint and go net zero emissions because they know that's what customers care about. 

Are they doing enough, yet? Not really, but that doesn't mean that they are completely ineffectual.

A lot of the bigger banks are buying up companies in the carbon offsetting industry so that they can get in on the action. Are they doing it to make money or to help the global warming problem? No one can tell. 

But at least this means more money will be pumped and invested into the carbon offsetting businesses that are out there trying to make a difference. 

How does bunq make a difference?

Climate change is something we take very seriously. This shows in our internal efforts, as well as in our banking plans that help offset CO2. We noticed that our users love the idea of planting trees, so we made it happen every time they spend €100. 

This means that typically, users are planting 24 trees a month. The calculations below show you how this simple tactic helps any Easy Green user get to net zero emissions in just 2 years. 

One tree reduces 12.3 kg of CO2 per year, and 24 trees planted per month result in 576 trees planted by each user in 2 years. That's more than 7084 kgs of CO2 removed per year. Interestingly, the average CO2 footprint of a European person is 7000kg/yr. 

Voila! While not producing CO2 is ideal, we know it’s not always possible to keep that number to 0. So we help you offset your carbon footprint just by spending your money. 

You don't have to lift a finger or do anything extra to gain a carbon net zero* lifestyle. How mindblowing is that?

Not only that, but if businesses use bunq, they will plant even more trees to compensate for their higher spending, thus balancing out their higher carbon emissions. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. 

Going net zero carbon is crucial for all

Everyone on the planet, businesses and individuals, can contribute to this effort of going net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (or even sooner). The future generations depend on this important endeavor. 

Unfortunately, lots of businesses are just paying lip service to this by pretending like they’re going carbon neutral, but not doing anything real about it. We don't want to wait until 2050 to take action. 

Become CO2 free* in just 2 years. Start your free 30 days Easy Green trial and join the green revolution. 

* Based on the average yearly carbon footprint of a European citizen and the average number of trees planted each year by an Easy Green user. Learn more here.

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