Carbon neutral

Describes product or process that has a negligible impact on total atmospheric CO2 levels. For example, carbon neutrality means that any CO2 released when a plant decomposes or is burnt is offset by an equal amount of CO2 absorbed by the plant through photosynthesis when it is growing.

Carbon neutrality can also be achieved by buying sufficient carbon credits to make up the difference. The latter option is not allowed when communicating LCAs or carbon footprints regarding a material or product.

Carbon neutral claims are tricky as products will not in most cases reach carbon neutrality if their complete life cycle is taken into consideration (including the end of life).

If an assessment of a material, however, is conducted (cradle to gate), carbon neutrality might be a valid claim in a B2B context. In this case, the unit assessed in the complete life cycle has to be clarified.