With rising awareness of global warming and effects of emissions on the environment, corporates and individuals alike are rising to tackle environmental issues in environment-friendly manner. In India, Carbon footprinting has become a term increasingly doing rounds in offices and environment conscious homes. Carbon footprinting is the first step to reduction in carbon emissions.
Carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) caused directly or indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product. The main reason for calculating a carbon footprint is to inform decisions on how to reduce the climate change impact of a company, service or product. Carbon footprints are measured by undertaking a greenhouse gas assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be created to reduce it.
Why You Should Carry Out a Carbon Footprint?
Growing public awareness of global warming has resulted in the increasing interest in ‘carbon footprinting’. The global community now recognises the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change. Countries, organisations and individuals are starting to take responsibility.
Carbon footprint is useful in a number of ways, some of which are listed below:
- Setting up targets for reduction in carbon emissions;
- Identifies which activities contribute the most in an organizations footprint;
- Measures variations in emissions over time to monitor and manage effectiveness of reduction activities;
- To offset emissions; and
- Greenhouse gas public disclosure and reporting.
Types of Carbon Footprint
There are different types of carbon footprint, e.g. for organisations, individuals, products, services, and events. Different types of carbon footprint have different methods and boundaries. The various approaches and types of greenhouse gas assessment are discussed below.
- Product CF : Product Carbon Footprint is suited for organizations which have distinct products and services. It delivers a view of GHG emissions specific to a single product or service. This can then be scaled up to the entire organization. Product Carbon Footprint can be assessed to capture either:
- Business to business view (cradle to gate); or
- Business to consumer view (cradle to grave).
- Corporate CF : Corporate Carbon Footprint is suited for organisations wishing to take an overview of the carbon footprint of the entire organisation. The process starts off by:
- identifying the business goals for the GHG inventory;
- setting up suitable organizational boundaries;
- selecting an appropriate baseline period;
- data collection; and
- preparing plan for data quality management.
- Value Chain CF: Value chain Carbon footprint includes activities associated with the product or services of an organisation over entire value chain. This accounts for emissions arising from raw material procurement to the end of product life. Value chain carbon footprint provides an aggregate view of all the products and services of the company.
Carbon neutral refers to something with zero carbon footprint. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by:
- Firstly measuring the carbon footprint of the organization or activity;
- Reducing emissions as far as possible by applying emission reduction methods; and
- Lastly by offsetting carbon footprint by purchasing emission credits from external sources such as renewable energy projects.