Achieving carbon neutrality means that GHG emissions from human activities are balanced by the removal of these gases from the atmosphere, that is, the
balance between emissions and removals from the atmosphere (for example by the sequestration capacity of the forest) is null. The ambition of achieving carbon neutrality in 2050 with the contribution of all stakeholders is the driver of this living lab.
For that, a Pathway to Carbon Neutrality is being defined: the starting point is the GHG emissions inventory of the living lab, in which the year 2019 is defined as baseline and all entities present in its geographical area are considered, covering a population of 6 876 individuals (1 662 residents at Quinta de São Gonçalo; 5053 individuals at NOVA SBE, among students, teachers and operational assistants or similar; and an estimate of 161 individuals associated with the services identified in the living lab area).
The next step corresponds to the determination of the effort for carbon neutrality which consists in the projection of GHG emissions obtained in the inventory from 2019 to 2050, considering that the current activity and patterns of the living lab will be maintained until 2050 (Business-as-Usual scenario). The analysis of the GHG emissions projections will allow us to understand the effort that the living lab players incur until carbon neutrality. It is on this effort (in tCO2e) that measures and projects to reduce GHG emissions will be defined, considering existing policies and practices of both the municipality of Cascais and NOVA SBE University, which have special influence in the project's area of action, as well as the collection of expectations of stakeholders.
In a pioneering initiative to boost the living lab and pave the way for carbon neutrality with the contribution of all stakeholders, the Smart Pole Market is being created, a mechanism for generating and exchanging carbon credits that aims to make stakeholders responsible for their CO2 emissions or compensate them for avoided emissions resulting from sustainable behavior.