Understanding the concept of zero carbon and its importance!

  • 04/07/2023
  • 17 minutes

Initiatives such as zero carbon have increasingly gained the attention of management from different corporations. This is because business intention has turned to financial gains with social and environmental responsibility, two very important attitudes to remain competitive in today’s market.

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This measure seeks to incorporate the management of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) in the companies’ businesses and encourage the reduction of their emissions in order to take care of the planet we live on.

Of course, to better understand this dynamic it is necessary to delve deeper into the subject. Therefore, we want to help you understand not only the concept of zero carbon, but also its importance and some practical examples!

What does the expression zero carbon mean?

Zero carbon is the policy adopted by companies and people who seek not only to neutralise their emission of greenhouse gases on the planet, but to effectively zero the generation of such gases. Note that there is a relevant difference between these two measures.

Neutron carbon is characterised by efforts made by those enterprises that emit a certain amount of CO2 or other GHGs. However, they want to somehow offset such emissions and, for this, they adopt environmental preservation measures or buy carbon credits in order to equalise their emissions.

Zero carbon, on the other hand, is when those emissions don’t even exist. Of course, for this to happen, it is essential that there is a significant investment in research and development of solutions that allow a company’s processes to run completely clean.

But in this case, it’s not just about separating waste correctly or preserving natural resources. The adoption of a clean energy matrix, the reformulation of processes and even the incorporation of sustainable practices is essential. And that goes for the entire supply chain of a business.

In other words, it means that the company needs to be constantly committed to keeping its emissions at a zero level, which includes raising the awareness of its employees, carefully selecting suppliers and even operating its activities without polluting the environment.

How much carbon is emitted in the world?

The most recent and reliable data regarding carbon dioxide emissions in the world are from 2019, when we generated more than 36.4 billion tons. It was not for nothing that the subject began to take up so much space in world discussions regarding the preservation of life on the planet. More than 190 countries have committed to significantly reduce their emissions by 2030.

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a new report on the subject, showing that GHG emissions have never been higher. In addition, the material points to suggestions such as:

  • For greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, they need to stop rising by 2025 and drop by 43% by 2030;
  • There is no more possibility for new infrastructure based on fossil fuels, it is necessary to deactivate the existing ones and make the transition to low carbon fuels;
  • It will be necessary to expand the use of clean energy sources, both for industries, agribusiness and for homes;
  • It is essential to invest in technological innovation in order to decarbonize industrial structures;
  • It will be essential that there is an intense incentive for constructions considered green, with facilities for clean consumption;
  • Cities should be redesigned and transitioned to low and/or zero carbon infrastructure and mobility models;
  • Food systems must undergo profound change and adaptation and natural ecosystems need to be preserved.

What are greenhouse gases, how are they categorised and why fight them?

The high emission of GHG is causing disastrous consequences to the environment, especially climate change, such as the increase in global temperature. That is why fighting them is so important.

Greenhouse gases got their name because they absorb a certain amount of heat, which causes them to retain part of the sun’s temperature and keep the planet’s temperature very high. This is called the greenhouse effect.

Among the main examples of GHGs are:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • Methane (CH4);
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O);
  • Ozone (O3);
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs);
  • Water vapour.

Together, they form a barrier that causes heat to remain in the atmosphere rather than flowing back into space. The uncontrolled rise of these gases is changing the climate of our planet and causing catastrophic situations, such as the melting of the polar ice caps, the increase in the general temperature of the globe and much more.

How are ESG, Sustainability and Zero Carbon concepts related?

The concepts of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), Sustainability and Zero Carbon are closely related because they mainly involve environmental issues as their focal point. Therefore, anyone who intends to follow or align themselves with one of them needs to be aware of the others. Let’s understand each one better.


Sustainability is a broad and complex concept that refers to concerns such as the balanced continuity of an ecosystem, which includes environmental, social and economic issues. Therefore, other equally relevant concepts fit into it, such as the green economy, diversity and inclusion and even the reduction of the carbon footprint generated by companies and people.

Companies tend to work with sustainability as a philosophy, which demonstrates that they are concerned with the sustainable development of their activities. In other words, it is the same as saying that they do want to grow economically, but without damaging the environment where they are inserted and creating conditions for the society around them to develop together.


The ESG is, in turn, an aggregate of criteria adopted to guide potential investors on business efforts to achieve certain metrics in relation to the environment, society and also corporate governance.

Thus, the better the company is able to develop such variables, the more attractive it becomes in the market. Check its pillars below:

  • Environmental: it concerns the use of natural resources, CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, waste management, green logistics and so on;
  • Social: it is associated with inclusion and diversity policies, employability and the quality of bonds, human rights, relationships with the community, etc.;
  • Governance: are the initiatives that demonstrate transparency and ethics in business management.

Zero Carbon

Zero carbon is a much more specific effort and is focused on environmental issues of sustainability, but which can be part of either one or the other concepts mentioned above. It consists of a set of actions aimed at maintaining the operational efficiency of a business, without harming the environment.

It is a commitment to always seek alternative practices that generate the least possible negative environmental impact, whether in the sources of inputs or with clean energy. The same goes for replacing raw materials, mobility strategies within the company and commitment to the local environment.

What are the long-term positive impacts of zero carbon?

It is clear that such efforts are very well rewarded when fully implemented. The search for zero carbon in Brazil has been attracting several companies and generating important advantages, such as the ones you will see below. But maintaining this good practice in the daily routine of maritime logistics requires planning and care not only in the processes of your own business, but in the partnerships that your company establishes.

By planning actions to implement a Zero Carbon policy, you will have some gains along the way. Check them out!


The first major benefit is the non-emission of GHG. In every sense, this measure makes possible the continuity of all mankind.

Being more sustainable also means making the world economy viable. The actions taken by your company, together with others, can change a catastrophic future scenario.

New business opportunities

If you are aiming to open new opportunities in this more sustainable and responsible market, zeroing your emissions will be a driver for much more attractive negotiations.

When you link your company to environmental or even social causes, it becomes simpler to attract partnerships and investors with the same interests. So, this could be the golden opportunity to broaden your business alternatives.

Benefits to the society

Obviously, by worrying about the future of the planet, you are automatically working on your social responsibility and showing people that you care about joint development. Therefore, it is possible that you will also gain recognition from people.

What are the main actions to zero carbon emissions?

Zeroing your company’s carbon emissions is not something that works exactly like a cake recipe, but there are tips that can contribute to this. For example, you can:

  • Think of zero carbon as a strategic pillar of the business, a basis for establishing partnerships, contracting, purchasing and developing new products and solutions;
  • Transform what are already sustainable practices into zero carbon practices, replacing processes that still emit GHGs with more technological and cleaner ones;
  • Constantly tracking possible GHG emissions that can affect your processes, either through suppliers or via consumers, at the end of the consumption chain;
  • Decentralise information and make zero carbon an objective for all, allowing everyone to adopt their own suggestions to promote this initiative;
  • Choose suppliers who have the same goal as you, creating a mutual support network.

Also, regarding this last tip, know that Wilson Sons seeks to have the most sustainable fleet of tugboats in Brazil, precisely so that it can close deals with you and other entrepreneurs committed to the future of the planet. Our goal is to contribute to a more aware and responsible port operation.

How to be zero carbon?

Being zero carbon depends on several initiatives. Therefore, most companies end up developing entire programs to achieve this purpose. So, if you want to be among the companies with zero carbon, you need to start thinking about what your business can do to improve its performance.

Take inventory of emissions

The first major step you will take concerns listing all the emissions that your company causes today. To do so, you will need to assess all stages of the logistics chain.

This mapping is essential to understand which environmental impacts are being generated and what can be replaced so that negative impacts are reduced. What makes the big difference here is not sweeping anything under the carpet. Rather, you must dissect every opportunity for improvement.

As you have seen throughout this article, in order to make up for lost time and reverse the environmental impacts generated so far, it is essential that we adopt more radical measures to combat GHG emissions. Therefore, seeking Zero Carbon is the fastest way to achieve this goal.

And now that you’re already on top of the subject, how about understanding how waste management is done on offshore platforms?