Gaia Carbon Neutral label

Frequently asked question

+ What is the Gaia Carbon Neutral label? What are the requirements for getting the label?

The Gaia Carbon Neutral label is given to products, services, or organisations whose carbon neutrality has been verified by Gaia Consulting. Getting the label requires calculating the product’s, service’s, or organisation’s carbon footprint according to international standards, making emission reductions, and offsetting remaining emissions with projects that fulfil Gaia’s offsetting criteria. Most critically, those using the label are required to actively improve on these points and monitor progress with annual check-ins.

+ Why do we need yet another certificate?

We believe that access to unbiased information on the carbon neutrality of products, services, and organizations benefits our customers and their stakeholders. As one of Finland’s top sustainability expert organisations, Gaia can act as a reliable and independent third party for verifying carbon neutrality.

+ How is the Gaia Carbon Neutral label different from other certificates?

The Gaia Carbon Neutral label is a Nordic concept based on science and international standards. It accounts for all the phases in achieving and communicating on carbon neutrality. Those using the label have achieved carbon neutrality primarily through emission reductions, only using offsetting as a secondary tool. Gaia’s criteria accepts projects that use either carbon reductions or carbon removal and/or storage to achieve mitigation outcomes. Gaia also verifies that this offsetting is truly additional.

+ How does the label benefit companies?

Companies know that achieving carbon neutrality is important not only for society, but for their own business. Achieving carbon neutrality is a multi-step process that can take a lot of resources and know-how. The Gaia Carbon Neutral label offers companies a clear carbon neutrality concept and a partner who can independently ensure true climate benefits and verify progress. This helps companies achieve carbon neutrality and communicate about its benefits to customers, employees, buyers, and other stakeholders. At the same time, a company can get clarity on its sources of emissions, helping reduce costs and manage risks. Getting the label is not a one-time event, but a process of continuous development, including regular, annual check-ins.

+ How does the label benefit consumers?

Most consumers want to choose sustainable products and services, but reliably distinguishing between options can be difficult for many. The Gaia Carbon Neutral label is a clear sign of carbon neutrality for consumers, backed by a reliable, science-based concept and strict criteria. The fulfilment of these criteria is checked by an unbiased third party. In this way, the label allows consumers to make truly sustainable choices.

+ What does ”Carbon Neutral” mean? Why the ”Carbon Neutral” label and not for example ”Climate Neutral”?

Carbon neutral means that a product, service, or organization’s activities do not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In practice, this is achieved by reducing emissions as much as possible, for example by moving to renewable sources of electricity or making operations more efficient. As a last step, the remaining emissions can be offset if they cannot be completely avoided. This means that an organization pays so that an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide is reduced or removed from the atmosphere somewhere else.

The term ”carbon neutral” follows in the footsteps of other leading international standards such as ISO and PAS:2060. The term encompasses all greenhouse gas emissions in addition to carbon dioxide.

+ What does carbon footprint mean? Does the Gaia Carbon Neutral label require organisations to include the emissions from their value chain, ie Scope 3 emissions, in carbon footprint calculations?

A carbon footprint is calculated according to the international GHG Protocol. Within this standard, emissions are split into three categories: Scope 1, 2 and 3. Scope 1 encompasses an organization’s direct emissions, which are caused by the burning of fuels, some industrial processes, or systems using coolants. Scope 2 includes the emissions from purchased energy, such as electricity and heating. Scope 3 emissions are created indirectly through the organization’s activities within their value chains or due to the use of the products and services they sell. The sources of emissions that are included in an organization’s carbon footprint calculation is always based on a materiality assessment of the organization’s value chain. Getting the Gaia Carbon Neutral label requires that material emissions within Scope 3 are also included in the calculation.

Gaia can also verify existing carbon footprint calculations, if these are available, as part of the process of getting the Label.

+ What are Gaia’s criteria for offsetting?

Gaia’s offsetting criteria follows the international standards for quality offsetting. Therefore, the offsetting project’s mitigation outcomes (ie the carbon reductions or carbon removal/storage it creates) are assessed based on the following themes: additionality, permanence, and avoiding carbon leakage. In calculating the mitigation outcome, the project must use a reliable baseline, appropriate and recognized calculation methods, and the mitigation outcome needs to be transparently monitored and reported. The mitigation outcomes must be independently verified, preferably by internationally recognized offsetting standards, and the project should advance other sustainability areas in addition to fighting climate change. Where possible, double counting of the mitigation outcome by the host country’s climate targets should be avoided. The Carbon Neutral label accepts both carbon reductions and carbon removal and storage for offsetting.

+ What organisations or products already have the Gaia Carbon Neutral label?

The first products to receive the Carbon Neutral label were Think sparkling wine and cosmetics brand Taika. In the future, the names of all products, services, and organisations that receive the label will be published on the registry webpage for the Gaia Carbon Neutral label (coming soon).

+ How can I get the Carbon Neutral label?
+ Who is Gaia Consulting?

Gaia Consulting is a Finnish consultancy for sustainable business. Gaia has more than 25 years of experience and is one of the most experienced actors in the field. We have worked with over 1000 companies and organisations. You can read more about us on our website.