carbon management standards for carbon footprint
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What Standards are used for a Carbon Footprint Assessment?

Posted by: Leon Youngs Date: 27 Oct 2023

In a world increasingly concerned about environmental impact, businesses are under pressure to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. One of the key tools for achieving this is by calculating and reducing their carbon footprint. But what standards are followed to measure this carbon footprint? In this article, we look at what standards are used for carbon footprint calculation

Understanding the Need for Carbon Footprint Standards

Carbon footprint measurement is not a one-size-fits-all task. The diversity of industries, business sizes, and operational complexities requires a structured approach. Standards provide a common language and methodology, allowing businesses to quantify their greenhouse gas emissions consistently. These standards are the building blocks for transparent reporting, setting targets, and eventually, reducing carbon emissions.

GHG Protocol: A Global Benchmark

One of the most widely recognised standards in the field of carbon footprinting is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol). Developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in the 1990s, the GHG Protocol provides a comprehensive framework for measuring and managing greenhouse gas emissions.

The GHG Protocol is divided into three scopes:

Scope 1: Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the organisation, like fuel combustion.

Scope 2: Indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat, or steam.

Scope 3: Indirect emissions from activities that are not owned or controlled by the organisation, such as business travel and supply chain activities.

This three-scope approach allows businesses to have a holistic understanding of their carbon footprint, capturing emissions both within their control and those arising from their value chain.

ISO 14064: A Globally Recognised Standard

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has also established a benchmark for carbon footprint assessment through the ISO 14064 standard. ISO 14064 provides guidelines for organisations to quantify, report, and verify their greenhouse gas emissions and removals. This standard not only assists in measuring carbon footprints but also provides guidance on how to report the results transparently.

Choosing the Right Carbon Footprint Standard

Selecting the appropriate carbon footprint standard depends on your business' goals, industry, and stakeholders' expectations. Consulting with sustainability experts can help you navigate this decision and ensure accurate measurement, reporting, and reduction strategies.

Understanding the standards used for calculating a carbon footprint is crucial for businesses striving for sustainability. Standards like the GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 provide a structured framework for accurate measurement and reporting. Customised industry-specific standards further enhance transparency and help businesses align with sector-specific goals. By embracing the right standard, businesses can effectively measure their environmental impact, set meaningful targets, and pave the way for a greener future.

Following ISO 14064 and ISO 14067 Standards and the GHG Protocol, our team will calculate the carbon footprint of the agreed project scope. We will require data such as energy consumption, company vehicle mileage, corporate travel records, and information on the activities you undertake. We will produce a report and an action plan recommending improvements you can make to reduce your carbon footprint.

Contact us today to talk to one of our carbon footprint experts or explore how our business carbon footprint calculation service and carbon management services can support your business in reducing your carbon emissions.

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