For an organisation, the term carbon footprint or greenhouse gas inventory includes the carbon emissions and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated directly from the organisation’s activities or use of fuels, and also indirectly from the use of electricity and from the use and disposal of materials, products and services.
By measuring its carbon footprint or GHG inventory, the organisation can manage and reduce emissions over time, and also use it for disclosure to stakeholders or for marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) purposes.
After calculating the carbon footprint, it is then possible for the organisation to take active steps to manage the emissions. The organisation can:
- Set emissions reduction targets
- Identify opportunities for energy efficiency and reduction of emissions
- Take action to implement emissions reduction projects
- Monitor the performance of the projects and improve accordingly
The approach to an organisation’s carbon footprint usually involves five steps:
- Define a consistent methodology
- Specify the boundary and scope involved
- Obtain the emissions data and calculate the carbon footprint
- Verify the results with a third party
- Disclose the carbon footprint in a report and to stakeholders
If your organisation wishes to calculate your carbon footprint or GHG inventory, you can follow the GHG Protocol produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD):
The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard provides standards and guidance for companies and other organizations preparing a GHG emissions inventory. It covers the accounting and reporting of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol — carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
You can also follow the ISO 14064 from the International Organization for Standardization, which comprises three standards on specifications and guidance for the organisational and project levels, and for validation and verification. Read more about the standard here.
Carbon Footprint Calculators
Or you can use these online carbon footprint calculators to estimate your carbon emissions:
Some of the above websites provide carbon offsets to help your organisation become carbon neutral.
Carbon Disclosure Project
If you wish to study how companies disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, visit the Carbon Disclosure Project website:
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent not-for-profit organisation which holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world. The data is obtained from responses to CDP’s annual Information Requests, issued on behalf of institutional investors, purchasing organisations and government bodies. Since its formation in 2000, CDP has become the gold standard for carbon disclosure methodology and process, providing primary climate change data to the global market place.