Greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, are created through everyday human activities. These emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and are causing the plant to warm. To limit the effects of climate change to something approaching a level compatible with human existence we need to cut carbon emissions quickly.
“Net zero” refers to achieving a balance between the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere and the amount removed from it. Net zero is when we have achieved a state of neutrality where the carbon we produce is negated by the carbon we remove. Becoming net zero is a commitment in your organisation to set goals and targets to reduce and eliminate your emissions.
The first step in becoming a “not-for-profit net zero hero” is to think about the carbon generated by your organisation’s activities. These will be different for every not-for-profit.
For some organisations, transport will be the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions; for others, energy used for heating or cooling or running equipment will be biggest.
Carbon Positive Australia has developed a free carbon footprint calculator that can help you understand your organisation’s carbon emissions. The carbon calculation is based on your organisation's historical consumption of fuel, power and water.
You can request a copy of Carbon Positive Australia's free Excel-based calculator by following the link on the left-hand side of the page after you click the button below.
Reducing or offsetting your emissions
Once you understand your emissions, you can start work to eliminate them. If you’re unable to eliminate all your emissions, you may wish to offset them.
One way of doing this is to purchase credits through tree-planting schemes like the one operated by Carbon Positive Australia. Payments to Carbon Positive Australia are used to plant native trees – find out more here.
About Carbon Positive Australia
Carbon Positive Australia is an Australian charity that has been restoring degraded lands through ecologically sensitive planting for more than 20 years.
The organisation has collaborated with landholders, communities and environmental organisations to plant more than 6 million trees, in the process restoring more than 5000 hectares of land and capturing more than 660,000 tonnes of carbon (the equivalent of 179 wind turbines running for one year*).
“We encourage everyone to make climate-healthy choices that go beyond being 'carbon neutral',” the organisation says. “While reducing our carbon dioxide emissions is essential to limit the impacts of climate change, developing a 'carbon positive' approach has wider social, environmental and economic benefits.
“Our educational tools – such as our new carbon footprint calculator – help all Australians to understand their impact and take action for a healthy climate. Everyone is welcome in our community of practical changemakers!”