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carbon footprinting
What is a carbon footprint?
The term “carbon footprint” is commonly used to describe the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for which a business, organisation or individual, is responsible. Carbon footprints can also be calculated for individual products or events.
Climate change is a major challenge globally and it is widely recognised that GHG emissions caused by human activities are having a negative impact upon the environment.
In producing a reliable carbon footprint it is important to follow a structured process and classify emissions thoroughly. Following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol three main types of emissions are incorporated into a calculation:
bullet pointdirect emissions from activities the business controls e.g. gas used to provide hot water
bullet pointemissions from the use of electricity e.g. for lighting or equipment
bullet pointindirect emissions from a company’s products and services e.g. a company manufacturing a product is indirectly responsible for the carbon emitted in the preparation and transport of raw materials it buys in. At the end of its life-cycle a product, as waste, can also produce GHG emissions
Producing a full carbon footprint covering all three types of emissions can therefore be a complex calculation. However, depending on the reason for needing a carbon footprint, a basic footprint can be produced by focusing on the first two types of emissions.
Carbon footprints are typically calculated to include all greenhouse gases and are expressed in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e).
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Further Information:
www.carbontrust.co.uk - information on carbon footprinting and calculations.
www.ghgprotocol.org - information on the GHG Protocol a methodology from the World Resources Institute (WRI) which sets the standard for corporate emissions reporting.
www.energysavingtrust.org.uk practical advice for businesses on saving energy.
why calculate?
bullet pointto manage the Company’s carbon footprint and reduce its emissions over time
For example, the Company may wish to reduce its energy costs and improve its environmental management. A basic approach to calculating the footprint is generally sufficient and fairly quick and straightforward to do.
bullet pointto report the carbon footprint to a third party such as customers, investors or for Corporate Social Responsibility purposes
A more robust approach is needed in this case which covers the full range of emissions for which the Company is responsible.  It may also be appropriate for the methodology used in the calculation to be independently verified.
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aecos environmental can help you to calculate a carbon footprint for your organisation and gain a better understanding of the environmental impact your business has.