We talk with some really exciting and innovative food people during NextGen Purpose podcasts and usually there are ideas, concepts and topics that come to light and are worth digging deeper into. The concept of Net Zero is something that was brought up during a recent podcast and we are here to shed a little light into what this means from a business standpoint. Our conversation with Nels Leader of Bread Alone in New York made us realize we don’t know enough about what happens when companies offset their carbon emissions. And what is this Net Zero business do you ask? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the goal of obtaining Net Zero is “conserving water, reducing energy use, and eliminating solid waste to improve the environment, save money, and help communities become more sustainable and resilient.” Through this mission, EPA advocates are taking action to implement guidelines, approaches and technologies to achieve Net Zero. Going green by obtaining a Net Zero achievement, is becoming more mainstream than ever before. You could say that business owners are really sinking their teeth into these practices but it’s rarely something they can do alone. Organizations such as Net Zero Now and the EPA are bridging the gap from business owners to execution of practices. 

Our conversation with Nels Leader of Bread Alone shed a realistic light into what it looks like taking a business to Net Zero. “So net zero is a state when we are removing from the atmosphere as much carbon as we're emitting into it. So, we're in equilibrium, that is a Net Zero state,” Leader said during a NGP podcast. Bread Alone is a family-owned bakery making organic breads in New York, since 1983. They take the health of their customers and sustainability practices seriously. A Bread Alone bakery in Boysville has an electric heat exchanger, that uses electricity instead of natural gas to produce heat for their ovens. “Now, we can apply that same technology to our much larger bakery and use it to make 20,000 loaves of bread a day, not just a few 100. So, we're going to take the things we learned there and apply them to other parts of the business that we can continue to scale,” Leader said. 

Taking businesses to a Net Zero status is vital to help combat global warming and fossil fuel emissions. Everyday human activities release harmful gases into the atmosphere causing long-term harm to the earth’s atmosphere. A Net Zero project can be carried out on a small scale or for larger businesses but the approach for say a restaurant is vastly different than for a nail salon. Organizations like Net Zero Now are helpful resources for those who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint by helping them organize their plan with necessary first steps. The organization will measure a company’s output of greenhouse emissions and make a specific plan for each individual business. Net Zero Now is co-founded by a few guys that have backgrounds in sustainable industry practices, consulting and climate strategies. Once a business meets the necessary criteria, they’ll receive the Registered Net Zero Now Certification allowing them to go public with their Net Zero status.  

As mentioned before, The Environmental Protection agency is another resource that combines knowledge from federal, state and local agencies to implement practices that protect human health and environmental concerns. The EPA currently has several Net Zero projects underway ranging from waste reduction projects to clean water initiatives all over the U.S. 

The first step in any major project is education. If you or your business is interested in turning Net Zero, there are resources that will guide you through the initial Q&A process. The time to turn green is now to help stop negative earth impacts in their steps. If NGP can facilitate a conversation in the foodie industry, we hope you make a reservation at our table.  

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