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What Is Decarbonization & What Does It Mean To Be Carbon Neutral?

Last Updated: September 26, 2022

Carbon neutral and decarbonization are buzzwords, but what do they mean? Take a look at Grove’s plan to go net zero and the steps we’re taking to get there.

At Grove, we’re committed to creating a more sustainable future through eco-friendly home goods and personal care products that aren’t just good for our bodies — they’re good for the environment, too.

Part of our sustainability goal is going net zero by 2030. To do this, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and employ decarbonization methods throughout every aspect of our company. Keep reading to learn more about decarbonization, carbon neutrality, and the steps we’re taking to achieve our goals.

What is decarbonization?

Decarbonization is when a business reduces its carbon emissions and the production of greenhouse gasses through a variety of methods. This could be through the removal of carbon from the atmosphere via carbon offsetting projects or shifting toward facilities, business activities, and manufacturing processes that don’t produce carbon.

What does it mean to be carbon neutral?

Carbon neutrality refers to striking a balance between emitting and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere through carbon offsetting projects. It’s important to note that carbon neutral doesn’t mean carbon free — carbon free is when a company or product doesn’t emit any carbon during the manufacturing or operating process. Carbon neutral means the company emits carbon but takes action to remove carbon from the air to help balance everything out.

As of 2021, Grove is a Certified CarbonNeutral® company in accordance with the CarbonNeutral Protocol — the leading global framework for carbon neutrality. That means we’ve offset all of the emissions related to the majority of our business activities, including our operations, facilities, and shipments. We have science-based goals to reduce carbon emissions for our products by 2030 (if not sooner!).

Net zero by 2030

By 2030, Grove will be net zero. To put it another way, we’ll remove the same amount of carbon from the air that we produce, leaving us at a zero sum. On our way to 2030, we plan to reduce emissions and source carbon offsets from long-term, nature-based solutions.

Carbon offsets

Because Grove doesn’t own the fleets we use to ship our products or the facilities we operate in, we don’t have control over the types of emissions these activities emit. That’s where carbon offsets come in. When companies are unable to reduce all of their carbon emissions, they can pay other companies to reduce emissions that they aren’t able to reduce themselves — this is carbon offsetting.

We focus on carbon offsets that provide jobs, protect the environment, support indigenous territories, and promote a green economy. Here are three of the carbon offset projects we source:

Darkwoods — Boreal Forest, Canada

This project conserves 156,000 acres of Boreal forest in British Columbia — avoiding 415,000 tons of emissions annually by protecting the forest against timber harvesting, road building, and other operations.

Acre — Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

Although 90% of Brazil’s Acre state is forested, current rates of destruction predict a decline to 65% by 2030. By granting land tenure to family farmers and providing agricultural training, this project prevents deforestation on over 250,000 acres while promoting sustainable livelihoods in its place.

Rimba Raya — Biodiversity Reserve, Indonesia

Protecting over 16,000 acres of tropical swamp from palm oil harvesting, this project engages local communities in education and agroforestry training. The project impacts 2,500 households and has helped protect 105,000 endangered Borneo orangutans.

Move toward a circular business model

We’re focused on creating a business model that’s built on the idea of “reuse and return.” This means more refillable products and reusable containers — we want to find a way to keep packaging in rotation so we can prevent the need for new packaging.

What we’ve done

  1. We created Grove refill stations.
  2. We provided glass recycling opportunities to Grove customers in Nashville, Kansas City, and Alexandria.
  3. We expanded our customer return program to accept Grove Co. reusable bags and refill pouches, helping to divert landfill waste.

What we plan to do

  1. Pilot reusable and returnable Grove boxes across several areas.
  2. Expand refill locations.
  3. Expand take-back programs for hard-to-recycle items.
  4. Continue to partner with our industry on scalable, cross-brand solutions.

Our pledge for the future

Looking ahead, our pledge is to first reduce our emissions as we grow — whether through direct purchases, or by encouraging our partners and suppliers to become zero-emission companies. For example, the electrification of UPS fleets would have a massive impact not only on their own carbon emissions, but also on the e-commerce industry as a whole. We would also continue to purchase carbon offsets for activities that we can’t yet reduce.

Second, we pledge to purchase high-quality, nature-based solutions for our carbon offset projects that support secondary benefits — such as habitat protection and conservation.

Our goal is to reimagine household essentials as a force for positive impact and regeneration, moving from sustainability 1.0 — “doing less bad” — to sustainability 2.0 — “doing true good.” We believe that embracing true sustainability is the only future.

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