Sustainability has become more important today than at any other time in the past. It all started in 1992 during the first-ever United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Despite major efforts through varying green protocols and parties, global challenges, especially global warming, have persisted. The latest data indicates that 2019 was 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than that of the pre-industrial period. At this rate, the world is headed towards a major climate-related disaster, but we cannot wait to get there. The time to act is now!
After the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, stakeholders such as investors and customers have taken over the role by demanding responsible operations from businesses. Supported by major conventions, non-governmental bodies, and researchers, stakeholders are emphasizing responsible and green actions by governments. For example, stock markets, such as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), demand that companies adopt environmental, social, and governance sustainability and correctly report their impacts to get listed.
One of the most important parameters for sustainability reporting in a company or organization is carbon footprint. So, how is it related to greenhouse gasses emissions, and how does it work? Check out the carbon footprint meaning and key activities that you can use to keep it as low as possible.
Carbon footprint is the new norm for assessing environmental impact, especially greenhouse gasses emissions and environmental impacts compared to other activities. It is the quantity of carbon dioxide that a company or an organization releases into the atmosphere for performing an activity.
Let’s take the example of a company that processes mineral water. In such a case, the company’s carbon footprint includes all greenhouse gasses emitted in the entire production cycle. This includes activities in:
The carbon footprint of your company is the total carbon emissions for all its activities. When planning to reduce your company’s carbon footprint, start by understanding these sources. Remember that you also require an appropriate framework for guiding emission reduction, waste minimization, and energy shift to green sources depending on the design of your company. The framework can also help to capture data on carbon footprint and calculating targeted impact on climate change.
Then, use the methods we have highlighted below.
When experts talk about the idea of carbon footprint and climate change, it might appear big and complicated. However, it does not have to be if you follow the right HGH protocol, and work with professionals. Here are some of the best strategies to consider:
Every time that people talk about environmentally friendly practices, one of the common principles is the 3R's. You can think of how this principle can be applied in every area of your enterprise, including the main operations like energy use, food production, and other products released in the supply chain.
So, what can be reduced, recycled, or reused? When you take a closer look, the chances are that there are different methods that can be applied to reduce, recycle or reuse materials. Put more focus on things such as carbon dioxide emission reduction from the fuel you use in production, and recycling water use. Also, can you reduce electricity use in different areas?
Take the example of a manufacturer dealing with beer production. Instead of making new bottles all the time, which come with a whole range of carbon-producing activities, reusing them can help to cut the company’s footprint.
The company can also reduce GHG gasses, especially carbon dioxide from fuel and electricity consumed in the production line.
Remember to be as specific as possible about the quantities of reduced carbon emissions. Your stakeholders will want to see numbers on greenhouse gas reduction per year and also verify the details. So, make it easy for the waste reduction, GHG/ carbon footprint reduction, and other information easy to follow back for confirmation. You can also link the info to company average reductions, previous reports, and production changes.
Today, fossil fuels are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses. Therefore, if your company relies on fossil fuels for energy, which have high levels of carbon emissions, shifting to a more sustainable type would come in handy in cutting down the carbon footprint. Some good examples of renewable energy options include:
When you shift to some of these forms of renewable energy, there might be some tax rebates for your facility. So, make sure to document the strategy for shifting to the new type of energy and also list the exact levels of emission reduction achieved. These numbers might be all you need to convince investors to channel more funds for product development, marketing, or expansion to new regions.
Have you ever thought about the amount of waste and emissions that are released into the environment when moving raw supplies from abroad? After acquiring the materials you need for food, electrical or pharmaceutical products, among others, it is moved with lories, then ships and finally to your warehouse.
All of these release carbon emissions, and you can make a significant reduction of your carbon footprint by changing the source of raw materials. If possible, local supplies or those closest to your facility would be an excellent idea.
If shifting to local suppliers is challenging, you should not give up. Instead, you should work with dealers in the entire supply chain to ensure they focus on sustainability, especially cutting down their emissions. You might insist that they change their energy sources for production, water use, and even product redesign.
Make sure that the agreement is captured in the contract so that commitments and progressive emission reductions are accurate and verifiable. You might also want to work with different parties in the supply chain to determine the average annual targets for carbon footprint reduction.
Every day, a lot of movements related to your company are made and can be a source of high emission levels. Here, you need to ask, “How do your staff employees move to and from work?” and “how are products from your company transported to the targeted market/clients?”
Then, look for a method of transport with reduced emissions. For example, you might want to consider cars with lower emission rates or use company vans to move staff instead of having each of them drive their own cars.
Well, it will be cheaper and more convenient for staff and company.
Another smart way of transporting staff and finished products is using fully electric or hybrid cars. These cars are designed to reduce the reliance on internal combustion engines that use fossil fuels. Notably, transport is now shifting towards electric vehicles, and you can help pioneer this transformation.
Now that we know the right carbon footprint meaning and the activities that can help push emissions down, there is one more thing: climate reporting. As you focus on carbon footprint reduction, the efforts should be captured and reported correctly to your company’s stakeholders.
This disclosure is important because it tells customers and investors about the efforts, making them want to be associated with the company.
Other benefits of reporting carbon footprint reduction include:
We must indicate that reporting your company’s carbon footprint manually can be pretty complex because of the long list of involved metrics. Often, companies include carbon footprint disclosures as part of ESG sustainability reporting, which can make the process even more complex. This is why you should work with appropriate reporting sustainability management software. Diginex.com is a respected leader in sustainability reporting, and you can trust our programs to simplify the process of data gathering, analysis, and reporting in line with the selected protocol.
Diginex.com also works with experts in greenhouse gas protocol and can help you optimize carbon footprint reduction-associated benefits. We hold your hands to ensure you follow the right reporting procedure to create accurate and verifiable reports. You can also count on our experts to train your staff on matters of sustainability reporting.
The world is moving towards a new model where companies are expected by the law and stakeholders to always follow the best practices in their operations. Well, do not wait for the mandatory phase because your competitors might have already marched ahead. So, start with carbon footprint reduction by working with Diginex.
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