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Carbon Footprints

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is a measure of the total greenhouse gases (GHG) that are emitted or produced by an individual, business, organisation or activity. It should be measured in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) units and is typically defined within a set timeframe such as a financial year.

Why should I know my Footprint?

A carbon footprint is a useful tool to help us understand and conceptualise how our own business and or organisation is actually impacting on the environment and climate change. It essentially measures how many tonnes of CO2 you create or emit each year.
When done correctly it can give you a good snapshot of your total GHG emissions and more importantly it will help you understand what activities you are doing to actually create emissions in the first place.

We recommend the following 3 step strategy;

  1. Assess. The first step is to have you carbon footprint calculated by an independent third party who understands your business and/or organisation.
  2. Reduce. Once you know your carbon footprint and how many tonnes of CO2 you emit you should first try and reduce some or all of your emissions in-house.
  3. Offset. Once you have done all you can, the balance of your emissions should be offset using certified carbon credits from an independent dealer such as Brokers Carbon.

How do I work out my Footprint?

Whilst Brokers Carbon is not a footprint specialist there are recognised methodologies on how to work out your carbon footprint in regards to GHG emissions.

Whilst they may appear similar in nature it should be noted that they are not all the same and different methodologies can produce different results. An accepted format to work out (scope) your footprint will typically follow a model such as this;

Scope 1 - Direct GHG emissions that come from sources that are controlled or owned by the company itself such as company owned vehicles.
Scope 2 - Indirect GHG emissions that come from the companies external activities but are not owned by the company such as importation of goods and contractors vehicles.
Scope 3 - Other indirect GHG emissions that occur as a result of non company owned or controlled assets such as third party deliveries, business travel and accommodation.

Once you have worked out your carbon footprint and reduced all the GHG emissions you can in-house, you can then use our services to help you find the right type of credits or offsets to meet your needs.

Who can work out my Footprint?

There are currently a number of different companies on the market that are offering their professional auditing services and/or selling products (calculators) to help you work out your own carbon footprint.

They come in all different shapes and sizes and most good consultants can tailor an audit to suit your needs and your budget. Brokers Carbon recommends the following when deciding on who to use;

1. check to see if they are independent

Do they offer other services or products that may have a conflict of interest with your audit. Companies who offer to audit your footprint and then sell you their own carbon credits cannot be seen as truely independent and should not be used.

2. Check their methodology.

It is important to check which methodology they are using to determine your carbon footprint. Is it well recognised? Does their assessment include everything and does it allow for full life cycle analysis and/or is it a full cradle to grave model.

3. Make sure they are experienced.

Check to make sure they have experience in carbon footprint analysis and make sure they have the latest information. The carbon market is constantly changing and only specialist people and or their tools should be used.

4. Are they right for your business?

Depending on the size and complexity or your business you will have different needs in terms of determining your carbon footprint. Make sure you check that they have audited and assessed similar types of businesses and organisations before.

In you would like to know more about climate change policy and the Kyoto Protocol, click here

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