By measuring your business's carbon footprint, you can begin to understand your impact and how to reduce it.
How do I get started with net zero targets?
The UK's target is to be Net Zero by 2050, and this cascades into several regulatory schemes (Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), Climate Change Agreements (CCAs), ESOS, EPCs, and industry-specific targets) that require businesses to understand the environmental impact of their business.
Calculating your carbon footprint is the first step to understanding your impact and provides a fundamental baseline for effective carbon reduction and sustainability strategy.
Aside from the UK's target, key stakeholders have put increased pressure on companies to act sustainably. 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on products from a sustainable brand, and likewise, nearly 40% of millennials have chosen a particular job because of their employer's stance on sustainability. Focusing on Carbon footprinting helps businesses demonstrate how tangible environmental action is taking place.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly or indirectly by an individual, business or organisation, item or event. Typically this is expressed as carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. The CO2 equivalent (CO2e) factors in six GHG emissions.
The emissions can be further broken down into three categories called Scopes. Scopes help separate emissions into different action areas for a business to create a manageable approach to emissions reduction.
- Direct GHG emissions from owned or leased assets. This will include fuel burned onsite, gas, fleet (petrol and diesel) and emissions from manufacturing processes.
- Indirect GHG emissions. This will include emissions from purchased electricity and heat to power business premises.
- All other Indirect GHG Emissions from non-owned or controlled sources. This can include supply chain emissions, such as products linked to deforestation, or business travel and emissions associated with waste disposal.
The firsts step to mapping out your carbon footprint is identifying the parts of your organisation that you will collect data on. This will help you build measurement principles that help create consistency and accuracy in all carbon foot printing activities. Besides this, you should establish which activities you engage in are responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
We recommended that organisation collect 12 months of data before establishing a carbon footprint to accommodate for seasonal changes in business activity.
Reporting your data provides transparency between you and your stakeholders. Once data is collected, it is important that written explanations on how you’ve calculated your figures and the context surrounding your data is shared with your stakeholders.
At Planet Mark, external verification is combined with a suite of tools and expert advice to help reinforce data validity and provide tips for future carbon footprint reductions.
Download the full guide.
Download the Planet Mark Beginners Guide to Carbon Foot printing for free to get more practical tips and advice on how to begin measuring your carbon footprint. Download it here.
At Includability, we impact our net zero targets every day by partnering with Planet Mark, Ecologi, B1G1 and other purpose-led philanthropic enterprises that impact the UN SDGs. See our latest Impact Report to see how we support our community and members with their sustainability strategies.