As a climate-conscious business owner, you may feel:
- Unsure about how to collect the data you need to calculate your carbon footprint.
- Confused over the various formulas available for calculating business carbon footprint.
- Undecided over the best tools for carbon accounting and how to integrate these into your stack.
From bolstering your brand's eco-credentials to identifying opportunities for cost savings and emissions reductions, understanding and quantifying the environmental impact of your company's activities can have far-reaching benefits. In this article, we will delve into everything you need to know about business carbon footprints, exploring what they are, why they matter, and how to calculate them effectively.
According to research published by the British Chambers of Commerce, only 1 in 10 small businesses actively measure their carbon footprint. And yet, half of the small businesses that participated in this survey said their customers were worried about the environment.
The UK government’s ’Planet Business Climate Leaders’ campaign is encouraging UK entrepreneurs to cut their emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. This is further pushing small business owners to consider and measure their environmental impact.
This article will cover:
- What is included in a business carbon footprint
- How to calculate a company's carbon footprint
- Best practices for reducing your carbon footprint
- Using EcoHedge for intelligent carbon accounting
Why Listen To Us?
EcoHedge is a UK-based, climate-tech start-up, helping SMEs to get to grips with their carbon accounting and reach net-zero, faster.
Do you know how to calculate your business carbon footprint?
Let’s dive straight in.
Understanding Business Carbon Footprint
What is a Business Carbon Footprint?
The term "carbon footprint" refers to the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) and other equivalents, directly or indirectly associated with a business.
A business's carbon footprint reflects the environmental impact of a company's operations, including various factors such as energy consumption, transportation, and waste generation.
Why Calculate Business Carbon Footprint?
Calculating your business's carbon footprint serves multiple purposes, all of which contribute to a more sustainable and responsible operation. Once you know how to calculate your carbon footprint, you can start taking steps to actively reduce your footprint and get things moving in the right direction.
1 - Reputation & Branding
Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their choices. By showcasing your commitment to sustainability through carbon footprint measurement and reduction, you can attract eco-conscious customers and differentiate yourself from competitors. Consumers care about the environment and this is backed up by their wallets and how they spend their money.
A joint study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ examined sales growth for products from businesses that claim to be environmentally and socially responsible. They found that products making ESG-related claims averaged 28% cumulative growth over the past five-year period, versus 20% for businesses that made no such claims about their products.
2 - Risk Management
As environmental regulations tighten in the UK and reporting requirements increase, failing to address your carbon footprint can lead to legal and reputational risks. If you can proactively measure and manage emissions, you position your business to navigate potential challenges effectively.
3 - Cost Savings
A thorough understanding of your carbon footprint can reveal areas of inefficiency that, when addressed, can lead to significant cost savings. For example, reducing energy consumption not only decreases emissions but also lowers utility bills. In some cases, you can take full advantage of UK schemes and programs that incentivise businesses to embrace greener technology through subsidies.
Nearly £5 billion of funding is available to help UK businesses become greener as part of the government's commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
4 - Innovation Opportunities
Assessing your carbon footprint often uncovers opportunities for innovation. Businesses are finding ways to develop eco-friendly products and services that cater to environmentally conscious consumers. There is no shortage of opportunities for UK businesses in the net-zero transition.
How To Calculate Business Carbon Footprint
To calculate your business's carbon footprint accurately, a structured approach is necessary.
Here's a step-by-step breakdown:
1 - Collect Data On Business Activities
Start by gathering comprehensive data on all aspects of your business operations that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. This should include:
Collect data on electricity, heating, and cooling usage. Identify the sources of energy you consume and their associated emissions.
Consider company vehicles, employee commuting, and transportation of goods. Track fuel consumption and mileage.
Quantify the amount of waste your business generates and its disposal methods. Different waste types produce varying emissions.
If applicable, assess the emissions associated with your supply chain. This should include the production and transportation of any raw materials and finished products.
2 - Use A Business Carbon Footprint Calculator
Calculating your carbon footprint manually is complex and time-consuming. Fortunately, with the right tools at your disposal, you can simplify the process. When it comes to finding the best solution, EcoHedge stands out from the crowd, offering carbon accounting software designed specifically for SMEs.
EcoHedge's approach is built on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This is a widely recognised standard for greenhouse gas accounting. This ensures that their calculations are accurate, consistent, and reliable. By automating the measurement and tracking of emissions, EcoHedge's software empowers small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take a proactive stance in the fight against climate change.
3 - Interpret & Analyse Results
Once you have gathered the necessary data and used a carbon footprint calculator, you will receive a comprehensive report detailing your business's emissions profile. This report will help you identify areas where emissions are particularly high and where potential reductions can be made. The insights gained from this analysis will guide your sustainability strategy, starting with actionable steps forward.
Reducing Business Carbon Footprint: Best Practices
When you have all the insights to calculate your business carbon footprint accurately, it's time to implement changes that will reduce your emissions and improve your sustainability performance.
Here are some best practices to consider:
Invest in energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting, smart HVAC systems, and energy-efficient appliances. Conduct an energy audit to identify areas where energy consumption can be minimized.
Promote alternative transportation options for employees, such as carpooling, biking, or using public transportation. Consider transitioning to hybrid or electric vehicles for your company fleet.
Waste Reduction & Recycling
Implement waste reduction strategies and encourage recycling within your organization. Reduce single-use plastics and explore composting options.
Calculate Business Carbon Footprint: Getting Started
Calculating and reducing your business's carbon footprint is not just a commendable effort but a necessity, especially with the introduction of new regulations and incentives. Embracing sustainability can enhance your brand, save costs, and position your business as responsible. With solutions like EcoHedge's carbon accounting software, SMEs now have the means to measure and track their emissions effectively.
Are you ready to take the first step towards sustainability by calculating your business's carbon footprint?
Book a demo of EcoHedge today and uncover how easy it is to measure your carbon footprint and report your annual emissions.