Net zero hotel stays, what does that even mean?

Net zero hotel stays, what does that even mean?

As global concern for the environment grows, it's common to hear buzzwords like "net zero," "carbon neutral," and "carbon negative" frequently popping up in conversations. If you are interested in sustainability and how it affects our daily lives, then it's essential to understand what these terms mean and how they can shape our eco-friendly choices.

This post is here to help you decode these sustainability terms and explain how they can be applied to day to day decisions like choosing which hotel to stay in.

GHGs, net zero, carbon neutral, carbon negative - what do they mean?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to the greenhouse effect and global warming. The primary GHGs are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases. Reducing GHG emissions is essential for mitigating climate change.

Net Zero: Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. In simpler terms, achieving net zero means that for every tonne of GHG emissions released, an equivalent amount is removed, resulting in no net increase in emisisons. This is usually achieved through a combination of reducing emissions and using carbon capture or removal techniques like afforestation (planting trees), reforestation (protecting an existing area of trees), and direct air capture (the use of chemical or physical processes to extract CO2 directly from the air).

Carbon Neutral: Carbon neutral is similar to net zero but focuses specifically on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. To be carbon neutral, a person, company, or product must offset any carbon emissions they produce by investing in projects that remove an equal amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. Examples of carbon offset projects include reforestation, renewable energy initiatives, and methane capture at landfills. Being carbon neutral means taking responsibility for the CO2 emissions you generate and actively working to counterbalance them.

Carbon Negative: Carbon negative takes the concept of carbon neutrality a step further. By going carbon negative, a person, company, or product not only offsets their own CO2 emissions but also removes additional CO2 from the atmosphere. In other words, they make a net positive impact on the environment by capturing and storing more carbon than they emit. This can be achieved by investing in projects that remove more CO2 than they release or by implementing innovative carbon capture technologies.

What does 'reaching net zero' mean?

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is the global standard for companies to set emissions reduction targets aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C.

The Science Based Targets Net-Zero Standard defines Net Zero as:

  • Reduce your emissions as much as possible: “making rapid emissions cuts now, halving emissions by 2030. By 2050, organisations must produce close to zero emissions”
  • Neutrualise any residual emissions: this means removing the equivalent of your remaining emissions from the atmosphere.

These reductions need to be equivalent to a:

  • 90% reduction from baseline of absolute emissions, or
  • 97% reduction from baseline per FTE

How does 'net zero' apply to hotel stays?

We take the same definition of net zero and apply it to hotel bookings:

  • Reduce your emissions as much as possible by choosing to book the lowest carbon footprint hotel in the area
  • Offset the carbon footprint of your stay

Staze enables you to do this by calculating the carbon footprint of hotels so you can compare carbon like you compare price in any city in the world. We automatically neutralise the carbon footprint of every hotel booking made through our four carbon offsetting projects.

Understanding the differences between net zero, carbon neutral, and carbon negative is an important step in becoming a more responsible global citizen. Each of these terms represents a different level of commitment to sustainability, and knowing their meanings can help you make better choices in your daily life.