route zero

How to calculate your carbon footprint

In the aftermath of COP26, it has become clear that all sectors must consider their environmental impact. If we are to have any hope of capping the global warming temperature to just 1.5°C, emissions must drop as soon as possible. But for this to happen, we must first understand when, where and how we are creating these emissions.

The term carbon footprint is commonly used to describe the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere. These emissions could be produced by communities, businesses or individuals.

A carbon footprint provides a comprehensive breakdown of these emissions, based on their sources. By identifying high emitting areas, organisations can create an efficient reduction strategy – which is becoming an increasingly valuable factor in this climate-conscious economy.

So, how can you calculate your carbon footprint, reduce your emissions and save money?

How does a carbon footprint work?

Assessing your carbon footprint is the first step towards future-proofing your business. By measuring how much CO₂ your business produces, you can put measures in place to reduce or eradicate emissions. Making it a crucial component of any net zero plan.

Essential data to calculate your carbon footprint includes energy, gas, water, and business travel. Each emission source must be investigated and recorded over a consistent period in order to get the most accurate results.

Understanding where your business produces the most emissions brings several benefits. Reducing your emissions can help your business to save money, boost your green credentials and reduce your carbon footprint. But this can only be achieved once you’ve started to report your emissions levels. You can find out more about the benefits of assessing your carbon footprint in our new guide.

How can you report your emissions?

Government policy is shifting. And compliance with carbon reporting is rapidly becoming mandatory for a wider range of businesses. With legislation such as Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), understanding your carbon footprint is now an essential tool.

For this, you will need to understand exactly what needs to be included in your emissions report. Reporting for net zero targets requires the inclusion of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions:

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, e.g. fossil fuels, refrigerants and company vehicles.
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from generating purchased energy, e.g. purchased electricity.
  • Scope 3: All other indirect emissions that occur in the value chain, e.g. business travel, purchased goods and services, employee commuting, waste disposal and investments.

Scope 3 can be a challenge to define, but this should be measured. This is because Scope 3 emissions can account for a significant proportion of a company’s carbon footprint.

By breaking down your carbon footprint, you can identify areas of inefficiency or waste where emissions can be reduced. In turn, highlighting both risk and opportunity for your business.

What funding is available?

As global recognition of the climate crisis continues to grow, those that don’t put an environmental strategy in place may soon find that private and public funding is harder to attain. These financial repercussions could extend to your clients, as the public shifts towards more eco-friendly businesses.

Earlier this month, the UK government announced a new funding scheme to assist UK businesses with their journey to sustainability. This will help with the development of new green technology, reduction of carbon emissions and the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Businesses developing new technologies will be able to bid for a share of the £64 million in government-funding.

The government is also proposing two new funding schemes to commence in 2022. These will replace the current domestic and non-domestic renewable heat incentives:

  • Clean Heat Grant: upfront capital funding for households or businesses that choose to integrate green heating technologies, such as heat pumps. 
  • Green Gas Support Scheme: funding for biomethane injection, to increase the amount of green gas in the national grid.

These schemes will help target areas of high emissions and improve efficiency and sustainability

How can EIC help?

Understanding your emissions levels is the first step towards reducing them. But calculating your carbon footprint can often seem difficult and confusing.

At EIC, we can deliver a comprehensive plan that is geared around implementation and action. You will have a dedicated project manager, who will see the project through to completion.

We’ll assess your organisational and operational boundaries, working with you to decide which parts of your organisation and emissions will be included in the carbon footprint calculation. We’ll then collect data on relevant variables such as gas, electricity and transport and we will review this information.

Get in touch today to find out how EIC can help you to calculate your carbon footprint. And download our new carbon footprint guide to read about the benefits.

We're waiting to help you on your route to net zero

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