Carbon neutral accreditation for strata firms: where to start

At the 2022 SCA Australia and New Zealand Conference the theme for the event was ‘Liveable Future’ and participants discussed how strata companies can contribute to the essential global shift to a zero emission economy.

It was a reflection of just how pressing an issue climate change has become, although the focus on sustainability extended beyond global warming. One of the Conference’s most important reference points was the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG17). They’re described as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.” Of these seventeen objectives, one specifically refers to taking action on climate change, others are closely related (Affordable and Clean Energy, and Responsible Production and Consumption, for example), while many refer to sustainability more broadly (Quality Education and Gender Equality, for example).

SCA chose this theme and highlighted the importance of the SDG17 because the organisation seeks to be a leader in the area of sustainability for the built environment.

Of course, any major change begins at the local level, and a move towards more sustainable practices, including carbon neutral business practices at strata firms, can only take place with the assistance of local managers.

But saying “we want to be carbon neutral” and achieving carbon neutral status are two entirely different things. We know a lot of managers already thinking about this issue have all sorts of questions:

How do we get there? Is there a formal procedure involved? Where do we begin? What’s involved along the way?

The good news is that there are answers readily available. Better than that, there are programmes designed to guide businesses through the process toward carbon-neutral accreditation.

Climate Active

One of these initiatives is provided by Climate Active. Climate Active is a partnership between the Australian government and Australian businesses, and its goal is to encourage and support voluntary action on climate change. That action includes measurement, reduction and offsetting of carbon emissions.

Carbon Active’s carbon neutral certification against the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard (formerly the National Carbon Offset Standard) has been available to Australian businesses for well over a decade and is extremely rigorous.

We know all about that rigorousness, and how excellent the programme is in general, because we at Active are undertaking it as you read this. We also know, however, that for smaller businesses – strata firms, for example, with just a few staff or who don’t have the resources to commit to a programme designed for larger organisations – it may not be quite right. Thankfully, there are several very good alternatives available right now.


Footprint offers a service dedicated to small and medium businesses. While it’s an extremely thorough programme, it deliberately lacks the intensity of those aimed at larger businesses. There’s a strong emphasis on education, as well as action. The Footprint team can help you understand your impact, develop a plan for reducing it, help you to modify what they describe as “in-house behaviours” and even show you how to take advantage of technologies that reduce emissions (and long-term costs).

ReThink Sustainability

ReThink offers a programme with similar goals to Climate Active and Footprint, but has a slightly different way of operating. It works with a company called Everperform to carefully measure and clearly present how the people who make up your organisation feel about and approach sustainable practices. That knowledge and thinking is weighed against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable

Development Goals we mentioned earlier in this article. ReThink uses this measurement to help you collectively improve in multiple ways – in your use of water and energy, in how leaders within your organisation are approaching sustainability, in education, in communication and more.

In all three of the programmes mentioned above, there’s an emphasis on changing businesses for the better. Not just to lower emissions – although that’s vital – but so you can make the most of opportunities brought about by a world working towards a zero-carbon future.

Indicative pathway to carbon neutral for your business.

There’s plenty of choices, and as we mentioned earlier, not every scheme will suit every business. If you’d like some help or guidance, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 1300 587 623 or email us at

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