Climate Positive
March 6, 2023

Climate Positive

Carbon positive means going beyond achieving net-zero emissions to actively sequester more carbon than is emitted, creating a positive carbon balance.

What is climate-positive?

Climate positive is a term used to describe an action, behaviour, or process that goes beyond reducing or offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. It involves taking steps to actively remove more carbon from the atmosphere than is emitted, thus having a net positive effect on the global climate. South Pole states "Climate positive (or sometimes referred to as "carbon negative") is the end goal. Net zero is but one (big) milestone. From the year 2050 onward, we need to remove more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than we emit in order to ensure a safe climate for generations to come."

What is an example of climate positive

Being climate positive involves reducing more GHG emissions than emitted. Techniques to offset and reduce emissions include: 

  • Planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
  • Investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. 
  • Increasing the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. 
  • Using fewer resources, such as water, electricity, and fuel. 
  • Implementing green transportation systems, such as public transportation and bike lanes. 
  • Reducing waste.

What is a climate-positive business?

Climate-positive businesses are not only carbon-zero but reduce their net carbon emissions to below zero. This means the company actively works to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it produces. Most businesses accomplish this by implementing sustainable habits into their business frameworks, such as investing in carbon sequestration projects such as tree planting to offset unavoidable emissions and using renewable energy to reduce their direct emissions.

Climate positive companies

Nowadays, it is common to find companies working to reduce their GHG emissions, uncommon to find net-zero emissions companies and very rare to find climate-positive companies. Check out Toitu’s directory to see all the companies working towards a more sustainable future. 

Emma Lewisham is a luxury, science-led natural skincare line backed by the highest calibre of green science and innovation in the industry and is one of the first companies in New Zealand to be established as Carbon Positive with Toitu’s certification.

Ecoware provides a full range of single-use disposable food packaging items made from annually renewable resources such as corn and sugarcane. They are the only other organisation with a climate-positive certification with Toitu. 

Climate positive design

Climate-positive design is a set of techniques and processes used for designing buildings and products that actively remove carbon from the atmosphere beyond net zero emissions. This can involve incorporating renewable energy, selecting recycled and renewable materials, and including in the natural design components that can absorb and store carbon. These are a few examples:

  • Designing buildings with passive solar features such as solar shading and roof overhangs reduce the need for air conditioning.
  • Incorporating green roofs and living walls that absorb and store carbon and produce oxygen.
  • Using recycled, upcycled, and sustainably sourced materials with lower embodied carbon.
  • Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal generate power.
  • Integrating water management strategies such as rainwater harvesting and green infrastructure to reduce the need for energy-intensive water treatment processes.

Climate positive certification

Becoming certified as climate-positive attests to an organisation's efforts to lessen its carbon footprint and move beyond carbon neutrality to become a net-negative carbon emitter. Organisations that have made quantifiable pledges to reduce their carbon output and have met or exceeded those targets are awarded the certification. This accreditation guarantees that the recognised organisation is actively battling climate change. Listed below are various certifying bodies:

Carbon Neutral Certification (CNC): This certification is awarded to businesses with a net zero carbon footprint. This is achieved by combining carbon emission reduction initiatives and carbon offsetting.

Environmental Choice: This certification is awarded to businesses that demonstrate environmental leadership through their products and services. This certification requires businesses to have a comprehensive environmental management system and achieve specific environmental goals.

Green Globe: This certification is awarded to businesses with high environmental performance and has implemented measures to reduce their carbon footprint.

Eco Tourism New Zealand: This certification is awarded to businesses that have achieved a high standard of environmental performance and have implemented measures to reduce their carbon footprint.

Toitu Climate Positive: This certification is awarded to businesses that have achieved climate positive emissions.

How to become climate positive

Here are the general steps involved in becoming climate positive: 

1. Calculate your carbon footprint: Determine your present emissions to determine the carbon dioxide you release into the atmosphere.

2. Establish a goal: Decide to become climate positive by cutting emissions or making up for them with carbon credits.

3. Change: With energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable practises, alter your behaviour to reduce carbon impact.

4. Offset: Invest in carbon offset initiatives to help counteract your emissions and improve the climate.

5. Track progress: towards becoming climate positive by tracking your carbon footprint frequently and updating it as necessary.

What are the main benefits of being climate positive? 

Mitigate Climate Change: Reducing GHG is the most effective way to slow and reduce the effects of climate change. 

Reduce Costs: Businesses are finding cost reductions by investing in energy efficiency and other sustainable practices. 

Increase Sustainability: Being climate-positive requires implementing sustainable practices that help the organisation's overall sustainability and increase its ability to adapt to environmental changes.

Enhance Reputation: By committing to being an environmentally positive company, organisations will be rewarded with increased public approval, higher customer satisfaction, and improved brand recognition.

Boost Innovation: Being climate positive pushes businesses to innovate as they must find new ways to reduce their environmental impacts and alter their frameworks. 

Improve Health and Wellness: The positive effect business will have on the environment will have many positive environmental impacts, such as improved air quality, increased wildlife habitat, cleaner waterways, decreased erosion, more aesthetic environment. A beautiful environment positively impacts community health and wellness, which can result in improved productivity.

What are the different approaches to achieving climate-positive goals? 

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): CSS captures carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and stores it in the earth's crust or the ocean. 

Renewable Energy: Using sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower to generate electricity and heat. 

Energy Efficiency: Reducing energy consumption through improved technologies and practices. 

Reforestation: Investing in tree planting projects that absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and reap countless other benefits. 

Sustainable Agriculture: Promoting practices such as sustainable crop rotation to reduce soil emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. 

Land Use and Land Management: Managing land to maximise carbon storage and reduce emissions from land use activities, such as deforestation and unsustainable agriculture. 

Sustainable Transportation: Using green and renewable transportation such as electric cars or encouraging the use of public transport. 

Ocean-Based Solutions: Enhancing ocean health from seaweed and other aquatic plants to absorb carbon dioxide. 

Waste Management: Investing in upcycled, recycled or compostable resources to reduce waste sent to landfills. 

What is the difference between climate-positive and neutral

Climate-positive refers to practices that reduce more carbon emissions than they produce, while carbon-neutral means no additional carbon emissions are produced. Climate-positive practices are more proactive and go beyond offsetting emissions with renewable energy sources or other methods. Carbon neutrality is focused on offsetting emissions and balancing emissions created and reduced emissions.

How can governments help to promote climate-positive initiatives?

  • Introduce a carbon fee to give people and organisations a financial incentive to reduce their GHG emissions.
  • Investment in sustainable energy sources like geothermal, wind, and solar.
  • Provide financial assistance, such as grants and loans, to companies and individuals who want to invest in sustainable practices such as renewable energy technology.
  • Pass legislation and rules to limit emissions depending on each sector.
  • Increase funding for research and development of renewable energy technologies.
  • Encourage public education and climate change awareness efforts.
  • Establish laws requiring sustainable agriculture, forestry, and land use.
  • Establish sustainability frameworks and emission reporting techniques that companies must abide by.


In conclusion, committing to being climate positive is one of the most important and necessary steps to reduce our environmental impact. Although it may require significant changes to our current lifeyle or business operations, committing to be climate positive can help us create a more sustainable and healthier world for future generations. With the exemplary commitment and dedication, we can make a massive difference in the fight against climate change.