2023 CarbonNeutral Protocol Released, Strengthening Guidance Around Climate Action Claims

10th January 2023

The Protocol provides the global standard for clear, credible, transparent claims of carbon neutrality by the private sector for more than 20 years.

Today, Climate Impact Partners releases the latest edition of The CarbonNeutral Protocol, helping companies globally achieve CarbonNeutral® certification and providing the global standard for clear, credible, transparent claims of carbon neutrality by the private sector for more than 20 years.

Adapted annually to reflect the latest scientific and industry best practice, The Protocol provides companies with a blueprint for climate action. It enables businesses to demonstrate impact and action now, while planning for a net zero future – companies using high-quality carbon credits to take responsibility for residual emissions today and be carbon neutral, are twice as likely to have a Science-Based Target (SBT) than those companies that do not.

With increasing expectations for business to deliver on climate goals in an impactful and meaningful way, the 2023 update focuses on how companies can improve transparency, drive internal transformation, and push beyond minimum requirements.

“We have worked with companies of all sizes, across all sectors, and around the world to achieve carbon neutrality across their products and services – with many combining it with net zero to demonstrate action today alongside future ambition,” says Saskia Feast, Managing Director of Global Client Solutions at Climate Impact Partners. “We are proud to provide companies with the highest quality guidance, ensuring they are taking impactful steps, both internally and externally, to make reliable carbon neutral claims that stand up to increasing scrutiny.”

CarbonNeutral® is one of the trusted sustainability certifications selected by Amazon as part of its Climate Pledge Friendly program, recognizing all CarbonNeutral® products listed on its website as meeting high sustainability standards. Products across a range of brands including Brooks Running, HP DesignJet, and Bulldog are included.

Key updates to The CarbonNeutral Protocol this year include:

  • Guidance to improve transparency of CarbonNeutral Claims – with increasing scrutiny of climate-related claims, this year’s update includes guidance to improve transparency through disclosure of an externally-verified footprint, absolute emission reductions and reduction strategy, carbon credits purchased, and alignment to external reporting frameworks. It also presents several recommended disclosures, considered above the minimum requirements of The Protocol.
  • Requirements to drive internal transformation – with internal reductions an essential part of any credible CarbonNeutral claim, The Protocol includes requirements for companies, with footprints exceeding 100,000 tonnes of carbon per year, to have an externally-approved internal reduction strategy. This requirement will extend over time to companies with lower emissions. Crucially, companies engaging in offsetting programs drive further internal change by putting a price of carbon into the business. 
  • Introduction of an optional grace period – to ensure companies with current CarbonNeutral certification have sufficient time to implement new requirements under The Protocol, and gather the relevant and accurate data, they can apply for an up to 12-month extension to evidence successful implementation.

"It is vital that we don’t lose the ambition and urgency that is essential for success in meeting our global climate goals, and the private sector has a critical role to play in delivering immediate and impactful results,” says Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director of External Affairs at Climate Impact Partners. “Against a backdrop of increasing complexity, The Protocol provides companies with a blueprint to deliver quality carbon neutral programs, delivering finance to carbon reduction projects available today, and making real change possible.”

View the updated Protocol:

PDF - download The CarbonNeutral Protocol in PDF form

Online - view The CarbonNeutral Protocol in its web version