Resulting from or produced by human activities. See also Anthropogenic emissions and Anthropogenic removals.

Anthropogenic Emissions

Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), precursors of GHGs, and aerosols caused by human activities. These activities include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land use and land-use changes (LULUC), livestock production, fertilization, waste management, and industrial processes. See also Anthropogenic and Anthropogenic removals.

Anthropogenic Removal

Anthropogenic removals refer to the withdrawal of GHGs from the atmosphere as a result of deliberate human activities. These include, for example, enhancing biological sinks of CO2 or using chemical engineering to achieve its long-term removal and storage. See also Anthropogenic emissions.

Base Year

In the context of Climate Neutral Now, a base year is a reference year in the past with which current emissions can be compared. In order to maintain the consistency and comparability with future carbon footprints, base year emissions need to be recalculated when structural changes occur in the company that change the inventory boundary (such as acquisitions or divestments). If no changes to the boundaries of the inventory happen, the base year is not adjusted. We recommend looking at the GHG Protocol’s guidance for cases where adjustments are needed.

Carbon Credit

Also known as an "offset", this is a generic term used to assign a value to a reduction, avoidance or capture of GHG emissions achieved by a certified project. It is equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). A carbon credit can be used by a business, organization or individual to compensate their carbon footprint by financially rewarding an activity that has reduced or sequestered GHGs, and which also brings other sustainable development benefits. See also Offset.

Carbon Footprint

A calculation that estimates the amount of emissions in carbon dioxide equivalent that a country, a business, an organization, an individual or another stakeholder is responsible for. For the purposes of Climate Neutral Now, carbon footprint, GHG footprint, and GHG inventory are synonyms. See also GHG Footprint.

Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality describes a state in which the GHG emissions released to the atmosphere by a stakeholder (individual, organization, company, country, etc.) have been reduced or avoided and the remaining ones are compensated with carbon credits. To achieve carbon neutrality, carbon credits from projects that reduce, avoid or temporarily capture GHGs are accepted. Note that carbon neutrality is possible at stakeholder level, not at global/planetary level, where use of carbon credits (offseting/compensation) is not possible. See also Climate Neutrality and Net Zero.

CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project)

CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. The world’s economy looks to CDP as the gold standard of environmental reporting with the richest and most comprehensive dataset on corporate and city action.


Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind.

Climate Change

Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forces, such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions, and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as 'A change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’ The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition and climate variability attributable to natural causes.

Climate Neutrality

Climate Neutrality means achieving a balance between emissions and removals of GHGs from the atmosphere. For the purposes of Climate Neutral Now, climate neutrality and net zero are synonyms.
At the level of a stakeholder (individual, company, organization, country etc.), climate neutrality is a state where GHG emissions are reduced or avoided, and the remaining ones are compensated with carbon credits from projects that capture GHGs in the long term.

See also Carbon Neutrality, Net Zero.


After assessing its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint (also known as carbon footprint) and implementing actions to reduce it, an organization may have emissions that it did not avoid. In this case, the organization should consider contributing to projects around the world that avoid, reduce or capture greenhouse gases beyond its value chain. These projects must be developed under recognized standards and the carbon credits that they generate may be used to offset those unavoidable emissions.

CO2 equivalent

Carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2 equivalent, abbreviated as CO2e, is a metric used to compare the emissions from various GHGs on the basis of their global-warming potential (GWP), by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential.

GHG Emissions

Greenhouse gases, or GHGs, are gases that trap heat or longwave radiation in the atmosphere. Their presence in the atmosphere makes the Earth’s surface warmer. Sunlight or shortwave radiation easily passes through these gases and the atmosphere, is absorbed by the surface of the earth and is released again as heat or longwave radiation. The molecular structure of GHGs allows them to absorb this released heat and re-emit it back to the earth. This heat-trapping phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect.

GHG Footprint

A calculation that takes into account the amount of the different GHGs that a country, a business, an industry or an individual is responsible for. The footprint calculates the direct and indirect levels of emissions. For the purposes of Climate Neutral Now, carbon footprint and GHG footprint are considered synonyms. See also Carbon Footprint.

GHG Protocol

GHG Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized frameworks to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions. The Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides the accounting platform for virtually every corporate GHG reporting program in the world.

In 2016, 92% of Fortune 500 companies responding to the CDP used GHG Protocol directly or indirectly through a program based on GHG Protocol. 

GHG Protocol arose when WRI (World Resources Institute) and WBCSD (World Business Councel for Sustainable Development) recognized the need for an international standard for corporate GHG accounting and reporting in the late 1990s. Together with large corporate partners such as BP and General Motors, in 1998 WRI published a report called, “Safe Climate, Sound Business.” It was then in 2001 when the first edition of the Corporate Standard was published. Since then, the standard was updated with additional guidance for the many different emission sources an organization has to account for.

Guarantees of Origin (GOs)

Guarantees of Origin (GO) are issued following the Directive 2009/28/EC. GOs proof to the final consumer of electricity that a certain amount of electricity consumed is produced from renewable energy sources. A GO is of the standard size of 1 MWh. GOs play an important role in the development of renewable energy sources as they incentivize energy producer to increase the sources of renewable energy production.

Net Zero

Also known as an "offset", this is a generic term used to assign a value to a reduction, avoidance or capture of GHG emissions achieved by a certified project. It is equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). A carbon credit can be used by a business, organization or individual to compensate their carbon footprint by financially rewarding an activity that has reduced or sequestered GHGs, and which also brings other sustainable development benefits. See also Offset.


Offsets or carbon credits represent GHG emissions that have been reduced, avoided or captured through projects that are verified according to credible standards. Each offset or carbon credit is equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The use of carbon credits as part of the overall climate strategy of an organization, individual or other stakeholder serves to encourage further emission reductions at global level, as well as creating other sustainable development benefits such as job creation or improved health, among many others. See also Carbon Credit.

Reporting Year

Every year participants of the Climate Neutral Now initiative must report on their actions to measure, reduce and contribute through the Report template, which is publicly available on the Climate Neutral Now webpage. The year they are reporting about is called the Reporting year. The deadline to submit the first report is one year after the submission of the Climate Neutral Now pledge. After that it is mandatory to report each year. Reporting can be done according to the financial year or the calendar year.

Third-party Verification

Third-party verification is the process of auditing an organization's or company's carbon footprint, and eventually also its actions to reduce and avoid GHG emissions, to ensure that the calculations follow recognized standards, and are complete, correct and consistent. Climate Neutral Now accepts verification following ISO 14064, GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Bilan Carbone, standards established by national or local authorities, those developed by an official industry body, or those developed by the UNFCCC secretariat.