Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

footprintYou can take individual action on climate change and the best way to start is to understand the size of your carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon emissions that result directly and indirectly from your daily activities and lifestyle.

By calculating your carbon footprint, you can find out which activity generates more carbon emissions and take steps to change your lifestyle accordingly and reduce your emissions.

There are several online carbon footprint calculators that help you calculate your emissions and compare with the rest of the world. However, your carbon footprint may vary according to the calculator you use as these calculators vary by country, by activity and by the methodology behind the calculations.

What you can do is to calculate your carbon footprint using different calculators and take the average, or use a calculator that is catered for Singapore.

Here are some online carbon footprint calculators:

Some tips for using the calculators:

balanceMost of the websites above offer carbon offsetting schemes, where you can buy carbon offsets to neutralise your carbon emissions as the payment is used to fund carbon-reducing projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. You should first find ways to reduce your carbon footprint before offsetting your remaining emissions. Also, choose carbon offsets that meet standards such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Gold Standard VER.

Check out our other tips on reducing your carbon footprint or watch this video:

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Image credit: Plusverde; bunchkles; dlnny.

Measure Your Organisation’s Carbon Footprint or Greenhouse Gas Inventory

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

emissionsFor 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

footprint1The approach to an organisation’s carbon footprint usually involves five steps:

  1. Define a consistent methodology
  2. Specify the boundary and scope involved
  3. Obtain the emissions data and calculate the carbon footprint
  4. Verify the results with a third party
  5. Disclose the carbon footprint in a report and to stakeholders

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GHG Protocol

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).

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ISO 14064

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.

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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.

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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.

Image credit: CMSeter; Plusverde.