Carbon neutrality: an opportunity for businesses to create value


Covid-19 and the economic crisis have given new impetus to the fight against climate change. The EU’s recovery plan sets out 30% of spending to be allocated to tackling climate change. Other countries and regions around the world have also been galvanised into action. Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions (carbon neutrality) is a global trend which directly affects businesses. Although it might seem like a challenge, this is an area that could also be a source of value creation and yield many opportunities for businesses, provided they define a strategy, set targets, implement a reporting mechanism, and facilitate employee engagement.

Key Statistics


Year set by the European Commission to achieve carbon neutrality in the European Union.

Source: European Commission.


Mandatory part of spending allocated to fight climate change under the European recovery plan “Next generation EU”.

Source: European Commission.


Percentage of French business leaders who view sustainability as a source of multiple opportunities.

Source: HSBC Group, Navigator 2020 Survey

Carbon neutrality: a shared goal

The impact of climate change is being felt all over the world. Extreme weather events such as drought, heatwaves, heavy rains, floods and landslides are becoming more and more frequent. Rising sea levels, ocean acidification and biodiversity loss are other consequences of rapid climate change.

Return on investment largely guaranteed

At first, a carbon-neutral strategy was often seen as a constraint: an increase in business spending, with no obvious benefits for business leaders. Fortunately, the many tangible benefits mean that this is no longer the case.

Carbon neutrality in seven steps

Businesses can achieve carbon neutrality by leveraging:

- A reduction in their own emissions. This is an essential condition, since unless these emissions are reduced, it will be impossible to stop global warming,
- Offsetting them through natural or artificial carbon sequestration.

Infographic: Carbon neutrality in seven steps

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