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February 9, 2021

Why measure your carbon footprint?

Kira Hood profile image
Kira Hood

Organisations are beginning to truly comprehend the climate emergency at hand and are wanting to act. However, in order to take steps that work towards combating this issueyou must first understand the nature and extent of your impact.  

Understanding the impact of your business begins with an accurate measurement of your carbon emissions. This article outlines the measurement process and why it is so important.  


What is measuring your carbon footprint?

Measuring your carbon footprint is simply a calculation of the greenhouse gases your company emits through its activities over a defined period of time. The process quantifies your carbon emissions into tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e), a numerical carbon equivalent which can be used for multiple business practices, including carbon and sustainability reporting and analytics. Your emissions measurement also serves as a starting figure for reducing your carbon footprint and offsetting emissions. 

A carbon footprint is the measurement of your business's total emissions from all sources, which are sub-divided into three internationally recognised categories, known as scopes. 

  • Scope 1:  Direct emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by your company, such as fuel combustion from facilities and vehicles that your company owns or controls.  
  • Scope 2:  Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heating or cooling consumed.
  • Scope 3: All indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain, including both upstream and downstream emissions.  Examples include purchased raw goods, employee commuting and business travel. Scope 3 is the largest contributor towards your total greenhouse gas emissions, with CDP reporting that on average, 80% of company emissions are attributed to scope 3 emissions sources.

GHG Protocol - Emission Scopes DiagramImage source: GHG Protocol

It's important to complete a full scope measurement (including scopes 1, 2 & 3 emission sources) for your business to get a holistic picture of the environmental impact your business has and the key drivers for emissions in your business. 

The specific emission sources that your company is required to measure and report, vary depending on your business operations as well as the industry and region you operate in. The Pathzero measurement module automates this process by building your emissions inventory and selecting all of the relevant emissions sources for your industry ensuring an accurate and complete inventory.  

Why you should measure your impact

Understanding the size of your carbon footprint offers your organisation an accurate insight into your environmental impact. Whether your goal is to better your carbon accounting or to reduce your business’s carbon emissionstaking progressive action starts first with the knowledge of your impact. 

Improve business efficiency

Organisations find it challenging to establish and implement actions that mitigate their impact simply because they don’t have an adequate understanding of their emissions inventory. As Peter Dunkin says, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”. By quantifying your carbon emissions you are arming yourself with the necessary information to properly understand and reduce your impact. 

By understanding your carbon inventory, your organisation can report this data and inform key stakeholder groups on your environmental status. This provides your business with the opportunity to become transparent. Carbon reporting also creates a clear image for both your company investors and key stakeholder groups. This enables for more efficient business practices and decision-making processes. 

Thorough carbon reporting also acts as a risk and opportunity assessment, highlighting inefficiencies across your company supply chain. In doing so, this encourages your business to become aware of emissions hotspots and to use these findings to undertake reduction opportunities. This process helps your business to reduce emissions, save costs and achieve sustainability targets.  

Measurement is easy

Measuring your carbon emissions doesn’t have to be an expensive or difficult process. To eliminate measurement challenges, the Pathzero Calculator combines the accuracy and adaptability of an environmental consultant with the efficiency and technological capabilities of an ERP system. With Pathzero, measurements are GHG Protocol compliant, accurate, reliable, affordable, and accessible to small businesses.  

The Pathzero Calculator is designed to do the hard work for you, by building a greenhouse gas inventory that includes all relevant emission scopes for your industry type.

Start your journey to Carbon Neutrality

Calculating your carbon emissions also helps your organisation understand the amount of tonnes that need to be offset in order to claim a carbon neutral status. Whether your company’s goal is to slowly reduce emissions, or to claim carbon neutrality today, understanding your emissions inventory is necessary. Once this process is completed taking climate action becomes simple and the journey to zero begins.  

For more information on Carbon Offsets, head over to our previous blog: Do Carbon Offsets work?

To learn how measuring your carbon affects carbon neutral certification, head to our certification page. 

Measuring your carbon footprint is the first step on your journey to net zero emissions, want to learn more? Why not schedule a demo with the Pathzero team. 

Schedule a demo

 

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