There is no longer any doubt that the systematically increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere is causing climate change and ocean acidification. Companies should respond accordingly, to ensure that their products cause no GHG emissions when used as intended.
Nature can safely absorb some human-made GHGs every year, but the future-fit imperative is for companies to eliminate all product-related GHG emissions. That’s because we are dangerously close to reaching atmospheric GHG levels that will be catastrophic for society, and any attempt to divide up the remaining carbon budget across companies is too complex and contentious to be practical.
Products powered by electricity can be considered as indirectly causing GHG emissions if the electricity derives from fossil fuels, but the products are not themselves forcing that. The focus here is on products that emit GHGs as a direct consequence of their use, such as:
- Combustible fuels (e.g. diesel, coal, end-of-life tires when sold as fuel).
- Equipment powered by combustion (e.g. petrol cars, diesel generators, kerosene lanterns).
- Transport services whose provision causes GHG emissions (e.g. taxi rides, commercial flights, and couriers using GHG-emitting vehicles).