How to Measure Your Company Carbon Footprint

Are you wondering about how to calculate your organisation's carbon emissions? In this article we take you through the points you need to consider when measuring your company's carbon footprint
Founder of Positive Planet and pragmatic environmentalist.

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Calculating your organisational carbon footprint is the starting point on the journey towards net-zero. A carbon audit is the first building block towards any sustainability strategy.

A carbon footprint will highlight the hotspots in your carbon emissions so that you can pinpoint where you need to focus your carbon reduction strategy. For larger organisations, a carbon footprint can also highlight opportunities and environmental risks across your value chain. More than 25% of UK companies already measure and report their carbon footprint to their stakeholders and use the insight to guide their sustainability actions.

For anyone thinking about measuring their carbon footprint, the following article should help to answer questions you might have. 

Can I calculate my carbon footprint myself?

Small businesses with simple operational structures may be able to calculate their carbon emissions. For larger organisations or those with complex supply chains, it is something your finance team should be able to calculate. However, calculating your carbon footprint can be a time-consuming and challenging activity. It is also vital that you are capable of communicating your carbon footprint confidently. Partnering with an organisation like Positive Planet uses a recognised framework like GHG Protocol to ensure that your emissions reporting is accurate and credible. 

For anyone committed to measuring their company carbon footprint, there are many cheap carbon footprint reporting platforms available on the market, which claim to make the process easier. However, while the costs of using a platform are approximately 30% less than using a consultancy, using a platform to measure your emissions takes significantly longer. So it’s a question of what price you put on your own time and calculating your carbon footprint accurately. 

To get a quote for measuring your carbon footprint, please get in touch with us here. 

How do I begin?

Carbon footprints measure and benchmark greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions outputs on an annual basis. Therefore, you will need to gather data from various sources, including travel, logistics and operations, to gather a complete and accurate footprint.

First of all, you will need to understand what exactly needs to be included and set the boundaries of your footprint. Your carbon measurement should consist of 100% of Scope 1 direct and Scope 2 indirect emissions from your business operations as a minimum starting point. For a complete view of your carbon footprint, you should include all material Scope 3 indirect emissions from activities outside an organisation’s operations.

Scope 3 emissions are more complex because data collection for Scope 3 emissions involves multiple data sources and may include third parties. Therefore, for most businesses, calculating Scope 3 emissions will be challenging. However, calculating Scope 3 emissions is vital as they typically account for the most significant proportion of a company’s carbon footprint. Scope 3 includes purchased goods and services, business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal, plus transport and distribution. It can also include the use of sold products, leased assets and any company investments. 

What data do I require?

The critical data required for your footprint includes:

Energy, gas and water: This can easily be collected through your bills or directly from your supplier. 

Employee commuting: Essentially, this becomes harder the more staff you have. The simplest way to obtain the required commuting data is to carry out an employee survey. 

Business travel: If you use a business travel agent, they should give you flight and rail travel details. You may still need to calculate the miles travelled for each flight. 

How do I calculate my carbon footprint?

Next, you will need to select the relevant emission factor for each emission source to calculate the tonnes of CO2 emitted (tCO2e). It’s also essential to ensure that your data is for a consistent period. For example, if you measure your annual carbon emissions, your measurement data must be for the same year. 

When you have your data, you then need to select a measurement methodology for your footprint. For example, you can choose to conduct a basic carbon audit using a spreadsheet and readily available carbon measurement data. In addition, organisations like GHG Protocol openly share their carbon footprint calculation formulas via their website.  

How do I use my carbon footprint data?

Once you have completed your carbon footprint report, you will identify the hotspots in your emissions. Your hotspots will enable you to formulate a simple strategy roadmap to reduce your carbon emissions.

About Positive Planet

  • Positive Planet uses the internationally recognised GHG Protocol Reporting Standard to calculate your company carbon footprint so that you can report on your emissions with accuracy and confidence. 
  • Our experienced carbon accountants and analysts simplify the process of measuring your carbon emissions to reduce your time and costs. 
  • We provide you with straightforward and easy to understand reports, so you can easily understand your carbon footprint and emission hotspots.
  • The carbon footprint for businesses with less than 25 employees start from as little as £250

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Founder of Positive Planet and pragmatic environmentalist.

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