Five reasons for calculating a carbon footprint

Carbon footprint calculation is an effective tool for allocating valuable resources to drive change toward a more sustainable business. Below are five reasons why you should calculate a carbon footprint, either for your organization or a product or service.

1. Reducing your carbon footprint is easier once the emissions are identified and quantified.

Planning accurate and executable emission reduction targets is difficult without up-to-date and reliable knowledge of the current state of emissions. Measuring the current climate impact will enable the setting of cost-effective emission reduction actions and operating a genuinely climate-conscious business.

2. More and more consumers are interested in the climate impacts of products and services.

The threat of climate change has lead individuals to wonder how they could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions related to their own personal choices. Consumer activity has generated a constantly growing demand for more detailed and comprehensive information on the climate impacts of products and services.

3. Business decisions are increasingly made based on environmental responsibility. 

Carbon footprint has taken its place as one of the main criteria in organizations’ procurement decisions. Disregard for climate change is a reputational and business risk.

4. Legislation drives organizations to identify and measure their climate impact.

The European Union’s Corporate Social Responsibility Directive (CSRD), which entered into effect at the beginning of 2024, gradually obligates large and stock-listed companies to report their climate impacts. However, the directive may also affect smaller companies through supply chains. On a product level, many industries already have product-specific obligations for reporting environmental impacts, and more are coming.

5. Carbon footprint calculation helps estimate the need for voluntary climate actions.

Reducing emissions to zero or near-zero may not always be feasible, especially in the short term, due to the nature of a company’s core business or industry. However, making credible climate actions require 1) assessing the carbon footprint and 2) initiating the planning and implementation of emission reduction measures. Carbon sequestration measures can complement these efforts to support the organization’s climate goals for emissions that cannot yet be fully or partially reduced. Without understanding the climate impacts of operations, even well-intentioned actions cannot be verified as sufficient.

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