Carbon footprint guide

Do you want to take control of your carbon footprint but don’t know where to begin? Our ‘Act On 7’ top tips will help you get started

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Climate change is a global problem and business has a big role to play in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its threat.

More than 190 heads of state agreed in Paris in December to keep the global temperature increase “well below” 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C. The impact of that historic agreement has not yet filtered down to businesses and individuals, but it won’t be too long before it does.

Those businesses that are taking action are already reaping the benefits of doing so, including saving money, winning business, enhancing brand reputation and motivating staff.

So what’s the first step to reducing your carbon footprint?

1. Measure

The first step to reduce your carbon footprint is to measure it. To do this you’ll need to collect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-related data on the relevant parts of your organisation. The most widely accepted approach is to categorise these activities into three groups (known as scopes):

•  Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions from owned or leased assets.

• Scope 2: Electricity Indirect GHG emissions.

• Scope 3: Other Indirect GHG Emissions from non-owned or controlled sources (optional).

Once you know which scopes apply to your business, you can start collecting the relevant data from your electricity and fuel bills, or vehicle mileage, and receipts, for example.

2. Report

Once you’ve collected your data, the next step is to report it.

There are a number of ways to report your carbon footprint. Some companies do so as part of their annual report, but you can also do so via a
separate corporate responsibility / sustainability report, or simply by publishing it on your website, for example.

It is good practice to have your emissions data externally verified in order to ensure accuracy and confidence in your measuring and reporting.

3. Reduce

Once you’ve reported your emissions data for the first time, the next step is to start reducing. There are many ways to do this, but a good idea is to start with simple changes that can reap the biggest returns in the quickest time. Where these are will depend on the what sector you operate in, but tackling your waste, heating and electricity usage are obvious areas to look at first.

Setting targets are good idea. These don’t need to be ambitious, but you should set targets that are going to stretch you beyond the business as usual and it’s a good idea to set new ones on a regular basis.

To find out more about how to measure and report on your carbon footprint download our ‘Beginners Guide To Carbon Footprinting by clicking on the banner below.

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