In Part 1 of our blog we discussed the drivers and benefits of determining your carbon footprint and what organisations in Australia are making carbon emission commitments. So, as an Australian business that has decided to calculate your own carbon emissions and look at reducing them, where do you start?
The internationally recognised Greenhouse Gas Protocol sets out guidelines for calculating carbon emissions including what should be included in your carbon footprint and the types of information or data you will need to collect such as energy bills, equipment purchases and travel details. Carbon emissions are then calculated by then using a specific methodology and emission factor. They are split into three categories:
- Scope 1 emissions are those generated by the direct use of fuel by a company e.g. gas used in a boiler or petrol used in a company car, fugitive refrigerants and wastewater emissions.
- Scope 2 emissions are those generated as a result of using grid electricity that is generated by fossil fuels e.g. coal or gas fired power stations
- Scope 3 emissions are those which your business can influence but does not have direct responsibility for e.g. treatment of solid or liquid waste, freight, staff commuting and purchased goods and services
Once the emissions are calculated there are various ways to reduce the emissions in each category such as through reduced energy use and improved efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources and by selecting products and services that are less carbon intensive. Putting an action plan in place will help you to strategically reduce your carbon emissions. This can include short, medium and long-term carbon reduction goals.
Being carbon neutral
For companies that would like to be ‘carbon neutral’ the remaining emissions can be offset through investing in a recognised carbon offset project. You will need to speak with a carbon offset provider about this. Some offset projects are more robust and reputable than others. In choosing an offset provider you need to consider carbon offset price and long-term supply, project risk, reputation and how the project fits with your company brand.
If you want to work towards being a certified carbon neutral company then third-party validation of your work is necessary and important for transparency and credibility. You will need to register with a certification body, such as the Australian Government Climate Active program. The Ecoefficiency Group has the knowledge and tools to help you with this entire process from calculating your carbon footprint, to developing a carbon reduction plan through to facilitating an offset provider and the carbon neutral process. Contact us for more information.