Calculating a carbon footprint is an essential starting point to understand the impact of your business. Footprinting, also known as ‘carbon accounting’, provides the baseline you need to implement an effective sustainability and carbon reduction strategy. It allows you to identify real opportunities to reduce your product and/or Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and take steps to reach your climate ambition.
There are different types of carbon footprints that relate to businesses, institutions, public sector bodies, and cities. These include organisational, value chain, and product carbon footprints.
Carbon footprinting allows you to delve into your carbon data and measure your impact. By measuring, assessing and reporting your emissions, you have an opportunity to:
- Understand the dimensions of your footprint and inform decision making across key influences such as procurement, product design, logistics.
- Gain detailed insights into your supply chain and prioritise actions across different purchased goods and vendors.
- Inspire product innovation and differentiate yourself from competitors.
- Set clear carbon reduction targets and pathways for your organisation.
- Take climate action to create genuine, quantifiable, and visible change for your stakeholders, including investors, customers, and employees.
- Capture a clear picture of your carbon reduction achievements to date with reliable data.
- Strengthen your brand reputation as a credible and robust climate leader.
The growing importance of Scope 3 emissions
For most organisations, Scope 3 emissions will represent the largest proportion of emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 3 Standard identifies 15 categories of emissions, including purchased goods and services, transport and logistics, product use and product disposal, among others. While measuring Scope 3 emissions can be challenging, addressing them is critical to developing a credible climate change strategy and supporting more informed decision making.
How we can help
Our experts are on hand at every stage of your footprinting journey to help engage your stakeholders, collect and analyse the data you need, calculate your footprint and report the findings. We help you use your calculated footprint as the baseline to launch your decarbonisation journey and measure and communicate progress.
Areas where we can share real expertise include:
The Carbon Trust provides independent verification, recognising real achievements in sustainability.
Our organisational footprinting analysis can be tailored to support the needs of your specific organisation, or align with the ISO or GHG Protocol Organisational Footprint Standard.
Value chain footprinting
We can help you develop value chain Scope 3 carbon footprints constructed in line with the GHG Protocol Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard.
Our experts guide you through the process, helping you to improve the accuracy of your carbon data and collaborate with suppliers and value chain partners. By progressing towards supplier-specific and activity-based emissions data, you can make an informed decarbonisation strategy, prioritise business decisions and ensure robust reporting for external communications.
We develop footprinting models and product footprints that can be aligned to internationally recognised standards. We also offer carbon footprint labelling services, so that your customers can clearly identify that your products have had their carbon footprints verified by the Carbon Trust. Robust product footprinting also enables better decision-making for sustainable product design, and meeting your customers' growing requirements for impact disclosure.
Cities and regions
Public bodies partner with us to measure their carbon emissions from organisational Scope 1, 2 and 3 sources, using the GHG Protocol Footprint Standards to determine a robust boundary of emissions. This can include direct emissions caused by the energy consumption of your buildings and vehicles, as well as indirect emissions from waste, water, leased assets, investments, business travel, employee commuting and supply chains.
We also help cities, local governments and their partners to measure and set baseline footprints that will inform concrete area-wide climate action. Through territorial and consumption-based emissions accounting, using frameworks such as the the GHG Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Inventories (GPC), we assess regional emissions energy consumption in domestic and non-domestic buildings, industry, transport and waste, as well as non-energy emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry (LULUCF).
Impact reporting and assessment
We develop tailored approaches to impact assessment and reporting for financial institutions and financial products, including thematic bonds and loans. We work with clients to produce high quality, easy-to-understand impact assessments for relevant stakeholders that communicate genuinely green and sustainable outcomes.
We work across financial institutions to help them understand the carbon footprints of their portfolios. We apply our leading understanding of international standards and methodologies to create tailored approaches and solutions for financial institutions looking to deepen their climate understanding and accelerate their transitions. We also work with financial institutions to communicate the results to stakeholders in a credible way.
Alignment with sustainability taxonomies
Sustainable taxonomies are classification systems for economic activities considered as sustainable, based on specific criteria and performance thresholds. Their aim is to increase transparency and comparability of investments. To date, disclosures are only mandatory in respect to the European Union Taxonomy. However, other green taxonomies are being developed in other parts of the world, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Colombia, South Africa and the UK. With access to green finance experts and climate experts in the relevant sectors of the economy, we can provide advice to financial institutions and companies on sustainable taxonomies.
Real estate is responsible for around 37% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. While approximately 10% of these emissions are attributed to the construction industry, most are related to the day-to-day operation of buildings.
- Accurate footprinting is essential for compliance and best practice, as well as baselining and benchmarking, target setting and monitoring of targets for real estate portfolios. We work with you to calculate the most accurate carbon footprint for your portfolio, based on the available data, and advise you on how this can be improved over time, and align to best practice. Ultimately, an accurate footprint will enable you to strategise and implement the most cost and resource-effective transition towards Net Zero for your portfolios.
- With our knowledge of the construction industry and commercial real estate, we can address the most common issues in footprinting; those related to leased assets and other Scope 3 emissions associated with the construction, operation and transaction of buildings.
- Our services cover all aspects of building life cycles – operational carbon, embodied carbon and whole-life carbon.
Why the Carbon Trust
For more than 20 years, we have been mobilising decarbonisation for businesses, governments, and public bodies around the world. Our experts co-authored the PAS 2050 Standard for footprinting and contributed to the development of ISO 14067 and GHG Protocol Product Standards, empowering organisations to report their emissions with confidence.
We have a detailed understanding of best practice reporting and value chain footprint accuracy given our advisory role in drafting the GHG Protocol's Scope 3 measurement guidance.