Carbon calculation: All that you need to know

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Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the planet today. The rapidly rising temperatures are causing changes in weather patterns, increasing the intensity of extreme weather events, damaging habitats, and increasing droughts. These are only a few of the long list of challenges, and the bigger issue is that it is impacting the entire globe. To address these challenges, every party, especially corporations, has to be involved in reducing carbon footprint, but where do you start?

Carbon emission

The primary cause of global warming is the rise in Greenhouse Gasses (GHG), which are released into the atmosphere at a rate faster than the globe’s natural sinks can comfortably clear. The impact is the greenhouse effect, which means temperatures on the earth’s surface get trapped, resulting in global warming. To address this problem by cutting down GHG, the first step is carbon calculation. Keep reading to learn more about carbon calculation and reduction tips.

Why is carbon calculation important?

The primary goal of carbon calculation is to help you identify your emission rates and where they are coming from. Then, you can craft a strategy to reach carbon neutral status, a situation where your overall carbon footprint is zero. This can be achieved through cutting down Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) and, if necessary, carbon offsetting.

The primary reason for carbon calculation and reduction is to help pull down the overall GHG in the atmosphere and being part of the noble course of addressing climate change. Other reasons include:

  • Compliance with local laws on emissions and waste management standards.
  • Cutting down the cost of production by adopting more energy-friendly sources of energy.
  • Building a stronger brand with your carbon reduction efforts.
  • It is a part of ESG reporting.
Carbon calculation

How do you go about carbon calculation?

Carbon calculation, also referred to as carbon footprint calculation or carbon accounting, is like preparing a standard balance sheet but in this case, dealing with greenhouse gasses. So, there are rules that you should follow as outlined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which splits greenhouse gasses into three groups: scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3 emissions. Here are the steps to follow for carbon calculation:

Gather data on scope one emissions.

These are the direct emissions from activities that your company is in full control of, such as burning fossil fuels to run machines or air conditioning. Emissions from industrial processes also fall into this category. Once you identify the sources, make sure the emissions are accurately determined and documented.

Determine scope two emissions.

These are indirect emissions that result from your company buying and using energy. This means that although you do not have direct control over the production of electricity or steam, your company is still responsible for driving the demand.

Calculating scope 1 and scope 2 emissions should be pretty straightforward because all you need to factor in is the utility bills for the period under consideration. Usually, this is one year.

Determine scope three emissions.

These are indirect emissions that happen because of your business activities.

For example, waste and commuting to work can result in emissions, but they are indirect. Although calculating scope 3 emissions are never easy, it is important to factor it in the report to demonstrate your company’s focus on cutting down its carbon footprint.

Once you have gathered data on the three emission categories, it is time to calculate your carbon footprint. At this point, you should apply the following equation:

Business Operations × Operation Specific Emission Factor = Carbon Footprint

Note that the carbon footprint is given in metric tons.

To make the process of carbon calculation more straightforward, consider using an appropriate carbon footprint calculator. Good examples include the UN Carbon Footprint Calculator, EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator, and WWF Footprint Calculator.

After carbon calculation, the actual journey of cutting it down begins. The best way to cut down carbon emissions is to ingrain the plan into your ESG sustainability reporting efforts. This implies that you make it part of the disclosure goals for your company to win stakeholders’ support and compliance purposes. Make sure to work with the right tools, such as sustainability reporting software from, and seek expert assistance.

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