What is Net Zero?

Touring and online exhibition

Globally we need to stop producing planet-heating emissions to halt the impact of global warming. Over the past few years, more and more, we have heard the term ‘net zero’. From large corporations to tiny start-ups, governments to universities, tech giants to fashion designers, they are all mapping out their route to reaching net zero emissions. But research shows that most people still don't understand what  'net zero' actually means.

In collaboration with Thomas.Matthews Communication Design, we took over the FCBStudios London office window with the ambition to debunk the mystery of what 'Net Zero Carbon' actually means to the passer-by on the street. The colourful installation took the audience through the journey of understanding; from why the planet is heating up, what we are aiming towards, and how collectively we can reduce our impact on the world around us. A 3D light installation drew the passer-by in, made up of hundreds of suspended laser-cut icons which represent the delicate balancing act of reducing what we emit and removing what greenhouse gasses are already in the atmosphere.

The entire installation was created using only offcuts and remnants from the FCBStudios model making workshop and all waste was reused and deployed in the window displays. The icons are cut from left-over panels of acrylic and timber and the remaining cut sheet ‘waste’ has been used alongside panels (also remnants) with etched information. The left-over acrylic waste boards - with their negative ‘holes’ in the forms of cars, factories and food waste etc - are layered up, creating shadows and reflections across the window, taking the audience on a narrative journey of understanding and action, but also hinting at the things we need to cut out and demonstrating the size and complexity of Net Zero Carbon, which many just find too overwhelming to begin to tackle.