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Guide to carbon footprinting

Why calculate your carbon footprint?

Calculating your carbon footprint has become an essential requirement for many businesses. Many public sector buyers are increasingly asking for evidence of carbon emission reduction processes and more businesses are developing carbon reduction strategies to secure contracts. Knowing your carbon footprint and developing strategies can also help improve your brand and reputation, reduce operating costs and attract potential investors.


Measuring your carbon footprint offers numerous practical advantages. Without measurement, it is impossible to effectively manage your carbon emissions. By gathering the necessary data for calculating your carbon footprint, you can pinpoint and prioritize areas where you can make significant enhancements in your energy, fuel, and resource consumption.


Carbon footprint defined

In basic terms, it quantifies your influence on climate change. There are typically two types: organizational carbon footprints and product carbon footprints.

Your company's carbon footprint is the sum of all the greenhouse gas emissions it produces within a 12-month period and is quantified in metric tons of carbon, referred to as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). 


To measure the different greenhouse gas emissions emitted from a business three scopes are often used.

  • Scope 1: These are the emissions from sources you own and control and are therefore directly responsible for. For most businesses, this will be any gas heating or fuel oil you burn on-site, and the fuel you use in your company vehicles. If you use industrial refrigeration or air conditioning, refrigerant losses would also be included here, along with any emissions that may be released directly during a manufacturing process.


  • Scope 2: These are the emissions you indirectly produce through the energy you purchase, which for most businesses is solely electricity. By using electricity, you are indirectly responsible for the greenhouse gases generated at source by the energy producer.


  • Scope 3: These are any other emissions you’re indirectly responsible for from sources outside your direct control, e.g. the goods and services you purchase, the distribution and use of your own goods and services by customers, the disposal of your waste, employee commuting or business travel, and so on.


There are a range of tools on the market allowing businesses to cacualte their carbon footprint. Innovation Net Zero provides access to Wales first bilingual Carbon Calculator for SMEs. The innovative carbon engine, collects data and automates the analysis to help understand your carbon footprint and receive strategies to help reduce your carbon footprint. For more information on how the carbon calculator can help you read about the benefits here.

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