Carbon Neutral Startups Are the Key to Our Future

By Isabel Serna Published on Jul. 21, 2023

The escalating impact of climate change has highlighted the importance of confronting greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and global GHG emissions must reach net zero by 2050.

By limiting global warming to this level, our chances of avoiding catastrophic consequences of climate change, such as droughts, extreme weather events, and heatwaves, significantly increase.

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These extreme events pose significant risks to human well-being, including food and water security, infrastructure stability, and public health. If we transition to cleaner energy sources and implement sustainable practices, we can mitigate the impacts of climate change and create a healthier and more resilient planet for all.

This article will explain the difference between carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions, their importance and highlight five innovative startups committed to achieving carbon neutrality.

Carbon Neutral vs. Net-Zero: Understanding the difference

Carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are terms often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings.

What is carbon neutral?

Carbon neutrality aims to balance carbon dioxide emissions by intentionally offsetting an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. This process involves reducing carbon emissions as much as possible and investing in carbon offset projects to neutralize any remaining emissions, resulting in a net balance of zero - focusing only on carbon dioxide emissions.

On the other hand, net-zero emissions go beyond just carbon dioxide; it includes other GHGs, like methane and nitrous oxide. The objective is to eliminate or significantly reduce all greenhouse gas emissions, creating a balance between emissions released and those captured or offset, providing a more comprehensive strategy to combat climate change.

Both carbon neutrality and net-zero share the common goal of balancing emissions generated with those offset or captured. However, their distinction lies in the scope of emissions considered. While carbon neutrality addresses only carbon dioxide emissions, net-zero considers a broader range of GHGs, making it a more holistic approach to fighting climate change.

Why transitioning to carbon neutrality and
net-zero emissions matters

Moving towards carbon neutrality and achieving net zero emissions is essential for many reasons. Firstly, reducing carbon emissions is vital to stop the rise in global temperatures and minimize the impact of climate change. Secondly, these initiatives drive technological advancements and foster innovation across various industries, creating economic opportunities, particularly in renewable energy and sustainable practices.

However, it's important to acknowledge that this transition comes with its own set of challenges. In the following video, our partners, EWE and Acario Innovation, will discuss the complexities of decarbonizing industries and the importance of green hydrogen as an energy carrier.

Global collaboration and unified efforts are essential for governments, businesses, and individuals to become carbon neutral and achieve net zero emissions. Policymakers must implement strict regulations and provide incentives for adopting sustainable practices. Companies should actively work to reduce their emissions, invest in renewable energy sources, and support nature-based solutions. As individuals, we can make a difference by embracing sustainable lifestyles, reducing energy consumption, and supporting organizations that promote renewable energy transition.

5 forward-thinking startups leading the world toward carbon neutrality


Overstory utilizes advanced carbon neutrality technology to provide real-time insights o the planet's vegetation to prevent wildfires and power outages. By applying high-resolution satellite data and specialized AI algorithms, Overstory enables utility customers to benefit from detailed information and predictive insights. Customers can anticipate growth and fall-in risks of trees and vegetation based on species, growth rate, weather, climate, and vitality, facilitating informed decision-making and action.


Dynamhex has developed enterprise software for decarbonization, enabling cities and companies to take targeted climate action while tracking outcomes. As a deep-learning optimization and resource planning platform for climate change mitigation and adaptation, corporate sustainability professionals, municipalities, and power utilities turn to Dynamhex for AI-based analytics.


EnergyDome is innovating long-duration energy storage with CO2, making strides toward solving climate change. Their carbon neutrality technology is based on a thermodynamic process that uses CO2 to store electricity cost-effectively with unprecedented round-trip efficiencies.

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ElectroActive Technologies specializes in converting waste into renewable products through its carbon neutrality technology. By leveraging an advanced microbial and electrochemical process, they produce renewable hydrogen with organic waste and electricity. This innovative approach is helping pave the way toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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Ecolectro is a chemical innovator committed to decarbonizing transportation, industrial manufacturing, and energy production. They achieve this by leveraging their proprietary Alkaline Exchange Materials platform. This technology replaces perfluoro-sulfonic acid polymers to create more cost-effective electrochemical systems that generate, store, and distribute energy, chemicals, and fuels.

Carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions are critical milestones in our journey toward a sustainable future. Achieving these goals requires international collaboration, effective policies, and technological advances. By continually working towards becoming carbon-neutral and achieving net-zero emissions, we can lessen the effects of climate change, protect our planet, and ensure a sustainable future for future generations.

Want to be part of the change?

At Plug and Play, we believe in the power of collaboration. Whether you're a corporation looking for innovation, a startup looking for a boost, or a VC looking to meet great startups to achieve a sustainable future, we're the right place for you.