How to Calculate Carbon Footprint?
Government bodies and industry regulators are increasingly making it mandatory for businesses to comply with environmental regulations. Most of these regulations aim at reducing a company’s carbon footprint or the greenhouse gas emissions calculated in tons.
Other regulations require businesses to reduce their energy consumption and adopt sustainable practices that reduce their environmental impact. Carbon footprint reporting is a crucial compliance indicator mandated by regulatory and governmental authorities.
This article looks at carbon footprint and how you can calculate it.
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is a compliance indicator that quantitatively evaluates a company’s greenhouse gas emissions. Companies may directly or indirectly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. While some may now release greenhouse gases as byproducts of manufacturing, others indirectly leave carbon footprints due to transportation, logistics, energy consumption, etc. Some greenhouse gases include nitrous oxide, methane, sulfur hexafluoride, and carbon dioxide.
In short, a company’s carbon footprint can be categorized as their direct and indirect GHG emissions.
● Direct GHG emissions are a result of transportation, manufacturing, burning coal, and energy consumption
● Indirect GHG emissions result from peripheral activities and third-party vendors, which may also contribute to a company’s carbon footprint.
Regulatory authorities often require companies to calculate their GHG emissions accurately to meet compliance standards.
Calculating carbon footprint is simple
You can easily calculate your company’s carbon footprint in just four steps.
● Make a list of every activity that may directly or indirectly release GHGs into the environment. Examples include transportation, heating and cooling, energy consumption, etc.
● Enter emissions-related data in the relevant format and ensure that they are already audited accurately
● As every kilowatt of electricity directly contributes to GHG emissions, you should use data sources such as Higg Index, which assesses components of GHG emissions. You could also rely on EPA for transportation and audited waste disposal and energy consumption entries.
● Once you have all your data in place, all you need to do is to calculate the operation-specific emission factor using the following formula:
Your operations multiplied by operations’ emission factor = your total emission
Don’t risk human errors and inaccurate reports
Although calculating carbon footprint seems easy, you can go wrong due to human errors, manual entry, and incorrect usage of data. Cloud-based solutions and consulting companies can help you calculate your specific emissions accurately.
In addition to calculating your carbon footprint, you also need to generate an actionable report specifying how you plan to reduce it. The same cloud-hosted solutions collate data from various sources and analyze them to provide insightful information.
A typical carbon footprint report consists of
● Greenhouse gas emission figures
● Potential risks and threats
● Your company’s climate strategy
● A detailed outline of how you plan to achieve those targets
These reports help you to comply with various environmental regulations if you are a large-sized company. If you are a small business owner and do not have to report your carbon footprint metrics, it still makes sense to calculate it. Showing that you care about reducing your carbon footprint enhances brand credibility and proves that you are taking actionable steps towards sustainability.
Cloud-based emissions’ calculator reduces your burden
Calculating your greenhouse gas emissions can get complicated. It includes both direct and indirect sources of greenhouse gases, making your carbon footprint report an amalgamation of all your business processes. Manual carbon footprint calculation is prone to errors, inaccurate, and time-consuming. As a result, undertaking the analysis manually may not be realistic.
Cloud-based solutions like k-Shuttle can help you automate the process of carbon footprint calculation and generate valuable reports that can be directly sent to meet compliance standards. Contact us today to find out more about such cloud-based solutions or to consult with an expert.