Select learnings from NPP research and discussions

Applying Net Positive

Net Positive Carbon

Net Positive Carbon: Summary and Implications - Carbon Applications

What is the topic and the challenge being addressed?
  • Climate change and global climate action
What are the major trends and initiatives in the field?
  • Paris Agreement
  • Regulatory and corporate action to combat climate change
What is current progress, and is it on track?
  • Current Paris pledges and corporate/regulatory are not on pace to limit climate change to a 1.5 C or 2.0 C scenario
What could net positive change / outcomes look like? Net positive could...
  • Open systemic emission reductions beyond supply chain (scope 3) emissions
  • Enable reductions in others’ footprints
  • Balance out those that will not achieve the 2°C global average target
What is the role of the private sector?
  • Demonstrate leadership through commitments (e.g. science-based targets) and action
  • Encourage and respond to consumer action
  • Support regulatory measures to combat climate change
What are other key stakeholders, frameworks, etc. (select examples)?
  • Paris Agreement and Nationally Determined Contributions
  • Science-based targets and We Mean Business commitments
  • Global/National/State/Local regulation

Net Positive Carbon: Carbon Applications


Focusing on what matters most
  • Carbon is a common material impact relevant for most actors.
  • Because carbon is an area with more established guidance, it is often a good starting point for actors to embark on their net positive journeys and understand the key concepts and approach.
  • Carbon can become relevant as a material impact area through related factors like the carbon impacts of water usage/efficiency or production impacts of materials with favorable health impacts.


Creating long-term, sustained and absolute impact
  • The importance of carbon impacts to combatting climate change is well established, along with key methodologies for measuring, reducing, and reporting on carbon.
  • Innovations with positive handprints can make permanent reductions in carbon impacts and move towards a lower carbon economy
  • Managing potential negative effects (e.g. rebound effects) can be important to creating lasting impact


Influencing change across entire systems
  • Net Positive contributions will play a crucial role in achieving a 1.5/2.0 degree pathway. Net positive entails systemic emission reductions beyond supply chain (scope 3) emissions; enables reductions in others’ footprints; and helps “balance out” actors that will not achieve low carbon targets.
  • Net Positive carbon efforts are at the confluence of actions to support the Paris Agreement including corporate reduction strategies (~500 companies have committed to Science-Based Targets as of Nov 2018), consumer advocacy, and regulatory/policy initiatives


Sharing progress openly and honestly
  • Measurement guidance and protocols around energy and carbon emissions are more advanced and readily quantifiable compared to some other footprint impact categories.
  • The relevance of carbon handprints and footprints is generally less dependent on context and geography. An emission of green house gas has a similar impact on climate change regardless of where it takes place. Therefore, compared to some other impact categories, many of the context and location considerations and complications are not applicable.