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Decarbonization

How to Calculate the Carbon Footprint of Your Company

August 15, 2023

As concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability continue to grow, more and more companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In this blog post, we'll provide you with everything you need to know about carbon footprints for companies, including what they are, how to measure them, and how to reduce them. We'll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about carbon footprints.

What is a carbon footprint, and how does it affect the environment?

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, that are emitted into the atmosphere as a result of a particular activity or product. These emissions can come from a wide range of sources, including the burning of fossil fuels for energy, transportation, and industrial processes. The carbon footprint of a company can have a significant impact on the environment, contributing to climate change, air pollution, and other environmental problems.

How can companies measure their carbon footprint?

To measure their carbon footprint, companies need to gather data on their energy use, travel, and other emissions sources. This can include data on electricity consumption, fuel consumption, and the distance travelled by their vehicles.

These are the most important tools to calculate your carbon footprint:

  • using a carbon calculator,
  • focusing on a sustainable supply chain,
  • filing sustainability reports,
  • complying with the GHG Protocol.


We'll have a closer look at these tools in the following.

A CO2 calculator, and how to use it to reduce a company's carbon footprint

A CO2 calculator is a tool that can be used to estimate the carbon footprint of a product or activity. It can help companies identify areas where they can reduce their emissions and set targets for improvement. CO2 calculators typically use industry-standard emission factors to estimate the carbon footprint based on the data provided.

Using a carbon calculator, such as Daato's software, can make this process easier by automating the data collection and analysis process.

What is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol?

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is a widely recognized global accounting tool for managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is used by businesses, governments, and other organizations to understand, quantify, and manage their carbon footprints.

Who created the Greenhouse Gas Protocol?

The GHG Protocol was developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The GHG Protocol is now the most widely used international accounting tool for businesses and governments to manage GHG emissions.

What is the difference between Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions?

Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions are categories used to classify a company's carbon emissions. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from sources that the company owns or controls, such as emissions from on-site fuel combustion. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, heat, or steam. Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions, such as those from the supply chain, employee commuting, and waste disposal.

The figure below illustrates this visually:

WRI/WBCSD Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard
Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions (Source: https://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/scope-1-and-scope-2-inventory-guidance)

What are the different greenhouse gases and how much do they emit in CO2 equivalents?

There are many different greenhouse gases, but the most common ones are:

1. Carbon dioxide (CO2)

2. Methane (CH4)

3. Nitrous oxide (N2O)

4. Fluorinated gases, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)

Each greenhouse gas has a different global warming potential (GWP), which is a measure of how much heat a gas can trap in the atmosphere compared to CO2 over a specific period of time. For example, methane has a GWP of 28-36 over a 100-year time horizon, which means that it has 28-36 times more warming potential than CO2. Nitrous oxide has a GWP of 265-298, and fluorinated gases can have GWPs in the thousands or tens of thousands.

To compare emissions from different gases, they are often converted to CO2 equivalents (CO2e), which is a unit that represents the amount of CO2 that would have the same warming effect as the emissions of a particular gas. For example, if a company emits 100 metric tons of methane and methane has a GWP of 28, the emissions would be equivalent to 2,800 metric tons of CO2e.

Overall, reducing emissions of all greenhouse gases, not just CO2, is critical to reducing the carbon footprint of companies and mitigating the effects of climate change.

What are the most effective ways to reduce a company's carbon footprint?

Reducing a company's carbon footprint requires a multifaceted approach that targets the areas where the company is emitting the most carbon. Some effective measures for reducing a company's carbon footprint include:

  • Implementing energy-efficient lighting and appliances
  • Switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power
  • Reducing travel, by encouraging remote work or using sustainable transportation options
  • Improving supply chain sustainability, by choosing suppliers with sustainable practices

What is lifecycle assessment (LCA) and how is it related to carbon footprints?

Lifecycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product or activity over its entire life cycle. This includes the extraction of raw materials, production, use, and disposal. An LCA can be used to identify the carbon footprint of a product or activity and to identify areas where emissions can be reduced.

How can companies offset their carbon emissions?

Carbon offsets are a way for companies to balance out their carbon emissions by investing in projects that reduce or remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as tree planting or renewable energy projects. To offset their carbon emissions, companies can purchase carbon credits from organizations that fund these types of projects.

What is sustainability reporting, and how can it help companies reduce their carbon footprint?

Sustainability reporting is the practice of measuring, disclosing, and being accountable for an organization's social and environmental performance. By reporting on their sustainability efforts, companies can demonstrate their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and becoming more environmentally sustainable. It can also help them identify areas for improvement and set targets for reducing their emissions.

Conclusion

Reducing a company's carbon footprint is a critical step in promoting environmental sustainability and mitigating the effects of climate change. By measuring their carbon footprint, identifying emissions hotspots, and implementing effective measures to reduce their emissions, companies can become more sustainable and demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility. With Daato's comprehensive suite of tools and resources, reducing your company's carbon footprint is easier than ever before.

Banner for Corporate Carbon Footprint factsheet

How can we help your company to reduce your carbon footprint?

Daato offers a comprehensive suite of tools and resources to help companies reduce their carbon footprint and become more environmentally sustainable. Some of the key features of Daato's software include:

1. Carbon calculator: Daato's carbon calculator makes it easy for companies to calculate their carbon footprint and identify emissions hotspots.

2. Supply chain sustainability: Daato's software helps companies manage their supply chain's ESG performance in one place, making it easier to identify and manage emissions hotspots.

3. Sustainability reporting: Daato's platform brings all ESG data together on one platform and allows companies to report on legal and voluntary frameworks, helping them demonstrate their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.

4. GHG Protocol compliance: Daato's software is fully compliant with the GHG Protocol, making it easy for companies to manage their emissions and report on their sustainability efforts.

Reach out to us today. We are happy to help you.

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