Carbon Footprints – 5 things you need to know

The analysis of carbon footprints is becoming increasingly common across many industries and sectors. Carbon footprints are essentially a way of communicating how much your product or organisation contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global climate change.   Customers now often use carbon footprint data as a way of evaluating the environmental impact of a product or company. Calculating your carbon footprint can be complex due to the amount of data needed, however, the results could help save you money and provide multiple benefits to your business. If you are thinking about doing a carbon footprint, here are 5 things you need to know:

1. Consumers value carbon footprint data

Figures from a Carbon Trust survey of over 5,000 consumers show that two thirds of consumers across the UK, France and Germany want to see a carbon footprint label on products.  Carrying out carbon footprint studies on your products can therefore help you to become more competitive, enhance your brand value, and make yourself more attractive to potential new customers.  Having carbon footprint data can show that you are taking responsibility for the environmental impacts of making your product.

2. There are different types of carbon footprint

Depending on what you want your carbon footprint to show, you can either choose to do a product carbon footprint, or an organisational carbon footprint.  Product carbon footprints look at the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole life of one specific product, or group of products.  On the other hand, an organisational carbon footprint looks at the greenhouse gas emissions from all of the organisation’s activities. This looks at a much broader range of issues than just the manufacture of specific products.

3. Carbon emissions fall into different categories

The carbon emissions of an organisation can be either direct, or indirect.  Direct, or ‘scope 1’ emissions, are those emissions associated with your operations.  So for example, emissions that result from your production processes.  Indirect emissions are divided into ‘scope 2’ emissions, from purchased electricity, heat and steam that you buy, and ‘scope 3’, from other indirect emissions such as the transport of your products and waste disposal.

4. Carbon footprints can help you save money

A completed carbon footprint study shows the extent of your emissions in particular activities or operations.  This can then help you focus on those areas where emissions are highest.  By cutting carbon emissions in certain areas, you will also cut cost, as reduced emissions often relate to reduced energy consumption.

5. Data is key

Many organisations are already carrying out carbon footprint studies and benefit from doing so.  However, the key to a good carbon footprint is data.  You need to have good, robust data available and the processes to collect these.  Emissions factors are available for a range of different fuels which can help you turn your litres of diesel used into a CO2e figure, but the collection of primary data from your  operations is needed to ensure that any footprint figures you work out are accurate.

If you would like support around carbon footprinting or environmental data analysis, contact us:


Phone: 01509 320 100