More and more customers are interested in the green credentials of businesses and use this to make informed buying decisions. High amongst the factors that influence these purchasing decisions are the impact of the products and services provided. Having a low carbon strategy clearly demonstrates commitment to reducing environmental impact as well as having a knock-on effect in reducing business costs.
Key to developing a low carbon strategy is being able to evaluate the Carbon Footprint of your organisation. Carbon Footprint is a calculation that shows the equivalent carbon generation (in Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) of all the activities an organisation undertakes.
Every organisation generates carbon dioxide through its activities either directly (from burning wood, paper, gas or fuel) or indirectly through consumption of electricity, transport (air or land) or in the purchase of goods and services. The carbon footprint essentially calculates this carbon dioxide equivalent taking into account the direct and indirect activities conducted.
There are three areas taken into account in calculating a carbon footprint:-
Fuels burnt for heating, manufacturing & transport (oil, gas, coal, road fuel)
Emissions from electricity that you consume but that is generated elsewhere
Other indirect emissions that you cause but that are not from emission sources that you own, e.g. emissions from your supply chain or from business travel on commercial airline also to be taken into consideration are subcontractors, buildings, customer use of transport, employees commuting, waste and water
There are many reasons why an organisation would need to calculate its carbon footprint. Among these are:
Many organisations are finding it beneficial to calculate the carbon footprint for off-setting purposes demonstrating their commitment to the environment. In addition carbon footprint can point to areas of potential cost saving where energy consumption may be reduced.
Carbon Footprint is relevant to any organisation of any size especially those where energy consumption is greatest. It is particularly relevant to those organisations who wish to make a statement regarding their environmental principles.
Benefits accruing through low carbon strategies include: