Reducing your carbon footprint is one of the more straight-forward goals that you can work towards to achieve a sustainable business practice. It’s also one of the quickest ways to earning a sustainability certification. A reliable way to validate your efforts in reducing carbon emissions and prove to customers that you care is to get certified by a 3rd party certification like Climate Neutral by ClimatePartner.
The Climate Neutral Certification, on top of being a great way to earn customer trust, is also a partner of Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly program. Meaning that, if you sell products on Amazon, it can provide you an additional competitive advantage over your competitors.
This article will examine the details on how to receive the certification and what it takes to get it so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you and your business.
Before we dive into the details let’s take a look at the history of the Climate Neutral certification. It’ll be important to know that you can trust the quality of the certification and that it will be around and valuable for decades to come.
About the Climate Neutral by ClimatePartner Certification
ClimatePartner, headquartered in Germany, is a globally recognised company that provides businesses with a set of requirements for achieving and demonstrating carbon neutrality that is practical, internationally accepted and scientifically informed.
Early adopters of carbon neutrality have been using such standards to provide a framework to their programs and to give their claims of zero carbon status credibility and transparency for several years.
The Climate Neutral certification was launched in 2006 and is reviewed every year to comply with the latest emission standards.
The purpose of the certification is to help you achieve net zero emissions for the part of the business you want to get certified. ClimatePartner will assess your current emissions, provide guidance on internal reduction measures and provide options to take care of the remainder via carbon offsetting and renewable energy certificates. They work with more than 100 global carbon offset projects you can choose from (i.e. renewable energy projects, forest/marine conservation, clean drinking water).
In the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) the Climate Neutral label is one of the most well-known sustainability certifications for carbon offsetting.
They are the chosen partner for 5 of the leading DACH retailers. Among their more than 3,000 corporate customers are well known companies like logistics provider DHL, discount supermarket Aldi and coffee giant Dallmayr.
How the Climate Neutral Certification Process Works in Detail
The process to receiving a Climate Neutral certificate (see graphic below) is similar to other carbon labels like CarbonNeutral. It involves calculating all carbon emissions of your product, creating a carbon reduction strategy and offsetting the remainder by supporting carbon projects to achieve climate neutrality. ClimatePartner will help you with every step of the way up to communicating your efforts effectively.
Step 1 – Define
The first step of your Climate Neutral certification revolves around defining which part of your business you want to get certified. Certifications are available for the following subcategories:
If you are selling or planning to sell on Amazon and want to receive the Climate Pledge Friendly badge you should focus on the product certification. It was selected for participation in the program in May 2021.
Step 2 – Measure
Once you have defined the scope of what to certify and where to focus your emission reduction activities, ClimatePartner will assist you in measuring your current amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
For the Amazon relevant product certification ClimatePartner considers the entire lifecycle of your product. That includes the raw materials that make up your product, how it’s manufactured, transported and disposed of. They carry out a cradle-to-customer analysis which includes all steps within your supply chain except for the usage phase.
Step 3 – Target
After determining your current amount of emissions you commit to the target of reducing your emissions to net zero for the duration defined within the certification. We have broken down the process of setting a target in our blog post on the CarbonNeutral by Natural Capital Partners certification here.
Step 4 – Reduce
Most companies will achieve carbon neutrality via a mix of internal emissions reduction measures and external measures including carbon offsetting.
Internal reduction measures may include changing the production process, packaging materials or sourcing locations.
Since achieving carbon neutrality solely by internal reduction measures might be impossible in the short run you may offset the remainder by contributing to carbon projects.
ClimatePartner works with more than 100 global carbon offset projects (see map below) from 10 project technologies (e.g. forestry, clean oceans, clean drinking water and renewable energy). All projects are certified internationally (e.g. Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard) and audited annually by an independent third party (e.g. TÜV, SGS). Their prices range from €9 – €19 / tonne CO2.
All carbon offset projects make an important contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. We recommend to choose a project within your budget that fits your brand values best.
Step 5 – Communicate
Once you have received your Climate Neutral certification, ClimatePartner will help you with the communication of your certification. You will receive a comprehensive marketing package that enables you to communicate your commitment quickly and effectively. This includes your individual certificate label, text blocks and the image rights to your selected carbon offset project(s).
Each Climate Neutral label has a unique identifier number as well as a tracking URL. It enables curious customers to look up details on your CO2 emissions, reduction initiatives and carbon offset projects. This is what the label looks like:
The certification is valid for one year and will receive a yearly review.
Better World Products’ Certification Framework applied to Climate Neutral by ClimatePartner
In this article we have outlined why it’s so important to put effort into selecting the right sustainability certification. We developed a framework to help you compare existing certifications and choose the right one.
Here is how we applied Better World Products’ certification framework to the Climate Neutral by ClimatePartner certification:
Fees & Involvement
ClimatePartner’s service fee for an Amazon relevant product certification starts at €750. The final cost depends on the scope of work and the service level required by the customer.
The cost for carbon offset projects is not included in this fee and ranges from €9 to €19 / tonne CO2 depending on the specific project.
To place these numbers into context – shipping 1 tonne of product across the US via truck (Boston to San Francisco) equals about 0.5 tonne of CO2 emissions. Offsetting 500 shipments would cost you between €2,250 and €4,750 (depending on project selection; €9 – € 19 / tonne).
The certification process takes approximately 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks, the majority of the work takes place on the side of ClimatePartner. You will provide the data for the process.
ClimatePartner conducts the data collection and input via their own cloud-based software. It allows for them to work efficiently with any customer regardless of their location in the world.
The certification lasts for one year and renewals (including costs) take place annually.
Certification Popularity & Trend
In the DACH region (DE, AT, CH) the Climate Neutral label is one of the most well-known carbon labels. ClimatePartner is the chosen partner for 5 of the leading DACH retailers, who are working together with their suppliers to give consumers climate neutral product options.
ClimatePartner is currently working with over 3,000 corporate customers from all different kinds of sectors and sizes of which about 2,350 are located in Europe. Therefore they have great traction in the market (see image below for a selection).
Also, worth mentioning is that ClimatePartner is part of the international panel that develops the international norm on climate neutrality – ISO 14068.
The number of Climate Neutral certified products on Amazon US is 214 while Amazon GER has over 1,000 products, clearly demonstrating a higher popularity in the DACH region (see graphic below).
Carbon certifications are still fairly new, but we expect their popularity to increase in the future. Carbon neutrality is increasingly seen as a valid corporate/state social responsibility. A growing list of corporations, cities and states are announcing dates for when they intend to become fully neutral with most of them targeting 2050. Amazon itself plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2040.
The certification is available for:
If you’re looking to receive Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly badge you should focus on the product certification since it’s the one the program approves.
Carbon neutral certifications focus on lowering the footprint a brand and its products have on the environment. They show a commitment to a sustainable future and can help to build trust among customers that are eco-conscious.
Target Audience Fit
Carbon certifications are still relatively new and therefore less known. They are more popular among a sustainability conscious audience that are already more educated on how brands can make a positive impact. If your target audience overlaps with that group, the fit is likely to be high.
Since the certification is most popular in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) the ClimateNeutral certification works especially well for you if you’re serving one of these markets as customers will recognize it more easily.
ClimatePartner and the Climate Neutral certification were both founded in 2006 which means they’ve been in the market for 15 years.
Fit to Current State of Product
The certification fits any current state of product. Even if your product currently has a high carbon footprint and significant carbon reduction measures are difficult to implement you can still get certified immediately. In that case you will start out with a higher offset share.
The Climate Neutral by ClimatePartner certification is a great option to validate your carbon reduction activities and receive Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly badge.
Compared to other carbon certifications like CarbonNeutral by Natural Capital Partners it is more cost effective and a good fit if your focus is on the European market (especially DACH region).
In this article we have explored
- What is the Climate Neutral certification, who is behind it and what are the details?
- How does the certification process work in detail?
- What does the Better World Product certification framework applied to the Climate Neutral certification look like?
Hopefully this article brings you one step closer to choosing the right sustainability certification for you. If you have further questions about the Climate Neutral certification, you can contact their very responsive team HERE.
Are you wondering if you make the most out of your Amazon sales? Feel free to reach out to us HERE.