Have you ever stopped to think about the impact our everyday actions have on the world around us? How every product, from the toothpaste you use in the morning to the car you drive to work, has a cumulative effect on the environment? It can be daunting to even start noticing it. Over the past 20 years, Americans have become more and more aware of their carbon footprint (the total amount of greenhouse gasses that are generated by our actions) and carbon offsets.
We all know the mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. As more people realize the risks of climate change, we as consumers need to think not only about how we as individuals can lower our carbon footprint, but how the companies we rely on for goods and services can lower their environmental impact.
At Clearloop, we understand that companies want to take action. We have seen companies clean up their supply chains, make products more efficient, and use recycled materials in their manufacturing. But after a company has done all it can to reduce its internal carbon footprint, there is still a baseline amount of greenhouse gasses generated by their business. That’s why we’re walking through how companies can measure their carbon footprint.
After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
How Do You Measure Your Carbon Footprint?
Greenhouse Gas Protocols
Also known as the GHG Protocol, this protocol is used by businesses, governments, and other entities in order to measure greenhouse gas emissions. There are various standards the GHGP sets, some of which are best for cities, others for companies, and even for countrywide use.
When it comes to measuring the carbon footprint of a corporation, the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three “scopes.”
Scope 1, 2, 3
Designed by the GHGP, Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions were designed to understand the source of emissions:
Scope 1: All direct emissions from the activities of a certain organization and all organizations under their control. That means the fuel used, company vehicles, and even air conditioning leaks.
Scope 2: These are all your indirect emissions. This refers to any electricity purchased and used by the organization.
Scope 3: This is where most of an organization’s carbon footprint comes from. This scope refers to all other indirect emissions which are sources the organization does not own or control. These activities fall upstream or downstream in a supply chain. This refers to business travel, employee commuting, waste management, and purchased goods and services.
These scopes allow organizations to break down their emissions to find areas where they can improve.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
The Life Cycle Assessment is an analytical method used to report the environmental loads and resources used during each step of a supply chain or product creation. The LCA measures the environmental impact for every step of a manufactured product’s creation. Organizations can choose to whether they measure from either cradle-to-gate or cradle-to-grave:
Start at the cradle:
- Gathering of raw materials
- Manufacturing stage
Either stop gate:
- Product distribution
Or keep going through the grave:
- End of the cycle (recycling or disposal)
The more companies know about the impact of every step in their supply chain, the easier it is to improve. With a complete analysis they can find spots in the supply chain that could be more efficient and make meaningful reductions in their carbon footprint.
What Does This Have To Do With Carbon Offsets?
Whether a company wants to measure the packaging on a product, the number of miles a company’s employees travel each year, or the emissions from a company’s manufacturing facilities, there are plenty of ways to measure your corporate carbon footprint.
At Clearloop, we’re offering a new way for companies of all sizes to take responsibility for their carbon footprint and offset it permanently by building new utility-scale solar projects. Once a company has reduced its carbon footprint as much as possible, we help companies offset the remaining impact their business has on our planet with new solar projects across American communities that need them the most.
Together, we can turn everyday purchases into clean energy.
Want to learn more about how to offset your carbon footprint and expand access to clean energy with Clearloop? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.