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How is "Carbon Footprint" measured?

18 February 2021
How is "Carbon Footprint" measured?

It is simply a METHODOLOGY FOR MEASURING the emission of all those greenhouse gases (GHG) derived directly or indirectly from all processes and activities associated with the manufacture, use and end-of-life management of a product or service.

The GHG gases according to the Kyoto Protocol are: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perflourocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Due to the variety of gases emitted and the differences in the global warming potential of each one, they are unified as CO2 equivalent emissions, since this gas has experienced the greatest growth in the earth's atmosphere and is the most abundant in percentage of all of them.

There is another more basic measurement approach for accounting GHG emissions of an activity, which is Emissions inventory: It generally includes direct emissions. In some cases, some indirect emissions such as those associated with electricity consumption are often included to broaden the initial approach.

To understand these measurement scopes it is necessary to know that GHG emissions are classified as direct and indirect, and are differentiated as Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions:

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions and, in an organization, would correspond to emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company.
  • Scope 2 emissions refer to indirect emissions from the generation of electricity purchased and consumed by the company.
  • Scope 3 emissions correspond to the remaining indirect emissions that are a consequence of the company's activities but occur in sources that are not owned or controlled by the company. THIS WOULD INCLUDE TRANSPORTATION USED FOR THE SALE OF ITS PRODUCTS.

As we can deduce, carbon footprint is based on a more exhaustive approach in which all the processes (both inside and outside the organization) associated with the creation of a product or provision of a service by the organization are considered.

It is important to note that in the case of using carbon footprint it is necessary to define whether the calculation is focused on the total of the organization, a product or a service of the same.

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