Carbon handprint – what it is and why it should be calculated

Carbon handprint is a tool developed for companies to communicate the positive climate impacts of their products and services. It can also serve as an organizational development tool. In cases where achieving a carbon handprint is not feasible with current operations, calculating a carbon footprint can help identify major emission sources, reduce emissions, and ultimately, generate a carbon handprint.

According to the methodology developed by VTT and LUT, a carbon handprint can be achieved through various means (Pajula et al., 2018):

  1. Utilizing raw materials with low carbon footprints.
  2. Employing energy sources with low carbon footprints.
  3. Extending the lifetime and enhancing the use-phase performance of products.
  4. Reducing material loss and waste.
  5. Increasing carbon sequestration and storage.

A carbon handprint can also occur if a product or service manages to reduce the carbon footprint of the end-user. This happens when a product or service has a smaller carbon footprint than the market baseline solution.

Picture 1. How a carbon handprint occurs in two different scenarios. Adapted from Pajula et al. (2018).

What is the use of calculating a carbon handprint?

  • The tool serves as a growing and widely accepted means of communicating the positive climate impact of a product or service.
  • It drives products and services towards being the best in the market from a climate perspective.
  • The tool also helps companies and their products or services stand out in the market and reinforces a positive brand image.
  • Continuous monitoring of the climate impacts and market trends ensures that any achieved leadership position is maintained.

Interested? Contact us, we would love to tell you more!

Sources: Pajula, T., Vatanen, S., Pihkola, H., Grönman, K., Kasurinen, H., & Soukka, R. (2018). Carbon Handprint Guide. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

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