Calculating the impact of products and services on the Earth's climate. In a few easy steps . . .
A carbon footprint is an accumulation of 'greenhouse gases' (or climate-changing gaseous emissions) in the earth's atmosphere.
A 'carbon footprint' results mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels, which releases CO2. This means that wherever fossil-fuel energy is (or has been) used, there is a carbon footprint. However, other potent greenhouse gases (methane CH4, nitrous oxide N2O, perfluorocarbons PFCs, sulphur hexafluoride SF6 and hydrofluorocarbons HFCs), also included in calculating carbon footprints, come from agricultural and industrial activities.
Whatever your business sectors and activities, whether you are manufacturing specialist products or delivering everyday services, this will leave a carbon footprint. How big is it? How can it be reduced?
'Carbon footprint' is an analogy to represent the amount of climate change emissions (or 'greenhouse gases') resulting from an activity.
A carbon footprint is measured in CO2 tonnes equivalent (T CO2e) because CO2 is the best-known - and most common - of the greenhouse gases.
All kinds of activities have a carbon footprint: agriculture, industrial processes, transport, services...
For many businesses, combustion of fossil fuels is the main contribution to their carbon footprint.
'Carbon neutral' is applied to organisations which have minimised GHG emissions as much as possible and compensated for any residual emissions.
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Measuring carbon footprints - or 'carbon footprinting' - calculates the climate change impact of an activity, in CO2 tonnes equivalent.
Carbon footprints are commonly calculated for products or organisations: in either case, life cycle assessment techniques (LCA) are used to incorporate both 'direct' emissions (those resulting from the activity itself) and 'indirect' emissions (those resulting from upstream - or upstream and downstream - activities).
Footprinting can be carried out using an on-line calculator, an in-house calculator based on ad-hoc spreadsheets and databases, but there are several specialist software tools available on the market. At EuGeos all our LCA and footprinting projects are prepared using openLCA.EuGeos is the official UK partner of openLCA, the open-source software for Life Cycle Assessment, carbon footprinting, water footprinting, EPDs and more.
As LCA practitioners for over 20 years, we've been calculating carbon footprints since before they were called carbon footprints!
We were involved in the testing of PAS 2050 before its introduction, and have subsequently delivered and reviewed carbon footprints of chemicals, construction products and foodstuffs.
With various generic and sector-specific standards now in place, for example PAS 2050 and its sector-specific annexes, ISO/TS 14067 (Carbon Footprint of Products), or the GHG Protocol's Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard, EuGeos can help you identify the standard most suitable for your needs and apply it to obtain a reliable carbon footprint.
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There is more to calculating a carbon footprint than simply using a calculator. As established LCA practitioners, EuGeos will help you to
Greenhouse gas accounting is related to carbon footprinting. Companies quoted on the UK stockmarket are required by law to report on their greenhouse gas emissions as part of their annual Directors' Report. This is a complex exercise that requires careful preparations. Find out more . . .
greenhouse gas accounting . . .