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Perspectives on Corporate Carbon Footprints

3 Precise Perspectives on Corporate Carbon Footprints

As business consultant in the field of sustainability, I would like to share with you three findings that I made in Central and South America, working with companies willing to reduce their carbon emissions. Since the awareness of global warming becomes omnipresent, more and more companies try to evaluate their share. In my opinion, the best measure to know the flow of carbon emissions, is the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF). Why? Because the CCF is the ideal instrument not only to measure carbon emissions, but also to define goals and strategies for reducing the company’s impact on climate change. Some companies also participate in voluntary programs at a global level, as a public compromise to reduce carbon emissions.

Professionally assessing carbon emissions requires a certain differentiation. Hence, the quantification of carbon flows is made in three scopes of analysis: Scope 1 measures the direct emissions related to the production process. Scope 2 focuses on indirect emissions, used for the energy and electricity purchased by the company. Finally, Scope 3 considers the indirect emissions for other services purchased by the company, like transport of raw materials, transport of products, indirect impacts of the material products, etc.

All around the world, companies are working on reducing their Corporate Carbon Footprint. Here in Colombia, they can especially be found in the sectors food, transportation and plastics industry. The software of their choice is Umberto for Carbon Footprint, as a tool to assess their carbon footprints and to define strategies for improving them. Currently, they are working on measuring the flows for Scope 1 and 2 with the following results:

  • In the food sector, the largest share of carbon emissions is provided by direct emissions from the use of fuels in numerous processes inside the company, such as steam production, heating of blends, etc.
  • For transportation, the main flow of the carbon emissions results from the direct emissions caused by burning fossil fuels to transport the products. To tackle these emissions, companies and the public sector are defining new strategies for route planning, mechanical maintenance, more efficient driving, new purchase policies and the use of alternative fuels like natural gas.
  • For the plastics converters, the perspective has to go beyond the direct emissions as the main impact comes from the raw material, whereas the impact of the packaging production process is minimal. They focus on the Scope 3 analysis.

These results prove the need for different perspectives on the topic of carbon footprinting. According to my experience at Gaia environmental assistance, companies from all these sectors use Umberto for Carbon Footprint, because this makes it possible to quickly identify the main flows of carbon emissions. Furthermore, it allows them to model changes, in order to take the right decisions and to formulate a consistent strategy for improving their carbon balance.

Further information:

Scope 3 guidance, published by GHG Protocol on October 4th: Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard (PDF)

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