The 2 main reasons for calculating an organisational carbon footprint are that it will help you to:
- Manage and reduce emissions
Reducing your business carbon footprint often results in cost savings. Analysing your organisation’s carbon footprint will help you to identify and prioritise areas for potential reduction.
More and more organisations want to be able to demonstrate their carbon footprint for reasons of:
If you are going to disclose your business carbon footprint publicly, then you need to make sure that it has been calculated properly. Most organisations follow the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative and some even get the calculation independently verified.
Get started – use our carbon footprint calculator to calculate your organisational carbon footprint.
How to calculate - organisational carbon footprints
Calculating a basic carbon footprint including your organisation’s main emissions sources is fairly easy. A good place to start is with our carbon footprint calculator
The 6 key steps in calculating an organisational carbon footprint are:
- Method definition
You need to have a consistent method to get accurate results – especially if you are going to rely on lots of different people to collect and interpret data.
Good sources of standards include:
You will need to define:
- Organisational boundaries
What parts of the organisation are included? This can be complex for large organisations with many subsidiaries, joint ventures or leased assets.
- Operational boundaries
All scope 1 and scope 2 emissions should be included, but the organisation can choose which scope 3 emissions to include.
When choosing a boundary try to take account of how your organisation works, other reporting periods, legislative requirements, and the practicalities of data collection.
It is important to collect data as thoroughly and accurately as possible. The main sources of data are usually:
- Gas and electricity – meter readings or bills (kWh)
- Other fuels – usage in litres, kWh, MJ, litres
- Transport – usage by fuel type (if this is not possible estimate it based on the mileage of the vehicles and fuel economy assumptions)
Convert usage into CO2 equivalent
The carbon footprint is measured in tonnes CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). This is calculated by converting the data you have collected. You should always use conversions from credible sources, see our conversion factor tables. It is important that you identify any data gaps and list the assumptions you have made in calculating the footprint.
Verifying the results (optional)
To add credibility, it makes sense for a third party to verify your carbon footprint. The Carbon Trust Standard is one such company that can do this – as well as helping you to measure, reduce, and communicate your carbon footprint.
Reporting the carbon footprint
Make sure you carbon footprint is presented clearly and honestly. This means providing complete information about each of the steps above, including methods, footprint boundaries, data quality and assumptions. Also - try to keep a consistent approach over different years, explaining any changes in reporting or business structure that might impact the footprint.