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Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

The concept of carbon footprints is a familiar one to most: the more you travel, the bigger house you have, the more you consume, the more the footprint grows. Today, there are a plethora of tools to help us dig deeper into the nature of our impact on the climate. Carbon footprint calculators have been developed by everyone from conservation.org to the BBC and are growing more complex in our increasingly data-driven world. Calculating a personal carbon footprint and one for an organisation, while certainly different, are based on the same concept — measuring impact. But obviously with a goods or service-producing organisation, those ripples of impact are much larger.

In Australia, impact is broken down with the company at the centre and out to the radiating influence of what they’re producing, the effect of that, and so on. An organisation’s carbon footprint is measured by the Clean Energy Regular (CER) and is broken down into 3 scopes.

An organisation can measure its footprint by examining its processes and activities like this:

Scope 1 emissions

Scope 1 is direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources. This includes manufacturing processes, emissions from office energy consumption, and company vehicles. It is essentially all the emissions the company itself creates to make its product or deliver its services.

Scope 2 emissions

Scope 2 are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. That means, taking into account emissions that are created to generate the energy that an organisation purchases from a utility provider. The actual use of the energy is counted in scope 1, so scope 2 is about taking accountability for the ripple effect of generating the energy in the first place.

Scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 emissions is everything else. It includes all the upstream and downstream emissions related to the company’s activities. For example, if the company sells a product, scope 3 takes into account the emissions generated from the use of that product by the customer. It also takes into account the emissions generated to produce the things that go into making the product. For example, materials, components, parts or ingredients. It even takes into account things like office furniture, IT support, employee travel, transportation and distribution, and end of life – which means looking at how packaging or waste generated are disposed of.

In calculating emissions, some companies find they can lower their impact by introducing or changing current operating systems to reduce their emissions and their impact on the climate and the health of the environment. However, there are also emissions that are unavoidable  or can’t yet be reduced due to current technological limitations.

Increasingly, companies are electing to resolve these unavoidable emissions through offsetting.  Carbon Offsets work by giving these entities a certificate of emissions reduction as a means to both give back to the environment and invest in its future. In Australia, Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) are accrued by carbon abatement projects, which companies can purchase to offset their unavoidable emissions.

In partnering with carbon project managers, GreenCollar’s technical team calculates the project’s potential carbon abatement potential and commercial viability. Using an array of data collection, monitoring and reporting techniques, GreenCollar is able to accurately calculate and enhance the carbon abatement potential of ACCU-generating carbon projects. GreenCollar also works with businesses to develop high-quality, high-integrity offset portfolios, based on extensive due diligence, that enable businesses to move towards net zero goals and develop new carbon neutral products or services, fuelled by projects that deliver significant environmental, social and economic benefits in addition to the measured offset.

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