How carbon offsetting could be part of a net zero ambition

In this episode of the Sustainability Matters podcast, Bruno Sarda speaks to Jennifer Leitsch and Cynthia Curtis about the challenges and opportunities of achieving net zero.

The theme of Earth Day 2022 is “invest in our planet” — and can be seen as a direct call to businesses and investors to act on reducing their adverse environmental impact. In the lead-up to Earth Day, Jennifer Leitsch, Managing Director in the Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) practice at Ernst & Young LLP, spoke to Cynthia Curtis, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at JLL, about the challenges and opportunities of ambitious net zero goals, and the actions the real estate and construction sector, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,1 should take now to achieve them.

Earth Day 2022’s thematic shift from citizen activism to corporate action poses some important questions on industry actions and accountability. While carbon offsetting can often be described as one of the answers to a business’s carbon emissions, it is unlikely to be the only solution. And as offsetting measurements come under increased scrutiny, how can proposals such as the “Carbon Credit Quality Initiative,” spearheaded by the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund, help provide confidence in credible and verifiable offsets?

The collaborations among organizations can be an important step toward reaching net zero emissions. Public-private partnerships, governments and long-term policy changes could also be important to building a low-carbon economy, and helping incentivize more green business practices that are both ethical and lucrative.

Many industries are increasingly aware of the possibility to have a sustainable and thriving business. Cynthia and Jennifer discuss why it’s time for businesses of all shapes and sizes to act.

Key takeaways include

  • Tackling climate change has become less about individual activism and more about corporate action.
  • Global ambitions of carbon neutrality have led to an increase in carbon offsetting, prompting a greater need for a standardized calculation system.
  • Offsetting can be part of the solution. Market-based guidelines, such as carbon tax, could significantly accelerate change across global business.
  • Public-private partnerships can be important in building the low-carbon economy.
  • While the real estate and construction sector has lagged in setting ambitious emissions targets, third-party organizations could be important to supporting responsible growth in the sector. 

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available.


Season 4, Episode 4


26m 19s