What is a carbon footprint?
The technical definition of your business’s carbon footprint is: the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of your business and its activities. More colloquially, the term ‘carbon footprint’ is used to refer generally to an individual’s or organisation’s overall impact on the environment.
There are a large number of elements that contribute to a business’s carbon footprint. Some of these elements – such as energy consumption and waste production – are relatively easy to measure, as demonstrated in the above tool. However other elements – for example the eco-friendliness of organisations in your supply chain, and the indirect environmental effects of any products your business may send out into the world – are not always as tangible, and are therefore more difficult to calculate.
Calculating carbon footprints for business
Because of the aforementioned difficulty with accurately measuring every element that comprises a business’s carbon footprint, the above tool takes into consideration only the most tangible elements, in the name of simplicity.
If you wanted to more comprehensively measure your business’s carbon emissions, then it’s likely that you would need to do this over a period of time – at least six months – and measure the footprint not only of your business’s immediate activities, but also its secondary activities. Secondary activities result in carbon emissions created indirectly by your business – for instance this could be a product that you sell to customers that has a lot of packaging.