Many concepts related to climate change are gaining momentum and prominence, but there is still little clarity for the general public. 

Since the industrial revolution, day-to-day human activity in all its diversity involves the consumption of fossil fuels to a greater or lesser degree. As a result, greenhouse gases (GHGs) are emitted into the atmosphere, leading to an increase in the total radiative forcing of the earth, increasing the temperature (global warming) and leading to climate change.

In other words, GHGs, whose concentration has increased significantly in recent decades, absorb part of the heat reaching the earth from the sun, which, in turn, increases the temperature of the planet.

The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide, water vapour and ozone, but it is CO2 that contributes the most to the increase in radiative forcing, and it also derives to a large extent from human activity.

The carbon footprint

The carbon footprint is the set of GHG emissions generated directly and indirectly by a person, a group, an organisation, a company, a region and even a product, a service, or an event. The tonnes of carbon equivalent -t CO2e- measure the carbon footprint because CO2 is the most abundant gas produced. 

In other words, carbon footprint is a fundamental environmental metric that provides information on the sources and sinks of GHG emissions. It serves as a management tool to identify the actions that contribute to the increase or decrease of the volume of GHG emissions of our activity related to our impact on climate change.

Today, climate urgency has highlighted the need for a global transformation that begins with the individual, influences the business practices and produces changes at the governmental level. Intending to establish an economic model that values the needs of people and the environment, and that is sustainable over time and neutral in GHG emissions.

The carbon footprint and the individual

At the individual level, the carbon footprint would be the set of GHG emissions that a person generates in their daily activities, for example: by using energy in the form of electricity or heat, or by consuming fuels for transportation, or with the use of products or services, among other sources of emissions. Therefore, HC helps to identify those everyday actions that can reduce GHG emissions and fight climate change.

Hence, the importance of bringing the issue of global warming into the spotlight and launching awareness programmes, so people can make daily choices that are less harmful to the environment and society as a whole.

Carbon footprint and businesses

When we turn our attention to the business sector, many companies have been reprimanded for the effects of their activity on climate change due to the large amounts of GHG emissions that they release into the atmosphere. Nowadays, companies of all sizes have the opportunity to lead the change towards a carbon-neutral society.

For these reasons, the carbon footprint is present in the sustainability strategies of many companies that want to manage the GHG sources and sinks, and their carbon footprint consequences for their business and stakeholders.

The calculation of an organisation’s carbon footprint involves the inventory of GHG sources and sinks derived from the activity carried out by that organisation. The quantity of the data will influence the complexity and scope of the study. Therefore, a company’s carbon footprint provides a numerical value of the total GHG emissions resulting from its activity.

This is only the first step in managing GHG emissions and moving towards neutrality. The second step would be to draw up an emission reduction strategy or plan (with actions aimed at reducing GHG emissions and a system for monitoring the reduction results). Finally, after implementing the reduction plan, remaining GHG emissions should be compensated through GHG reduction or removal projects outside the company.

Offset your carbon footprint with ClimateTrade

ClimateTrade‘s Marketplace offers more than 50 certified sustainable projects that meet the Sustainable Development Goals stipulated by the United Nations. Through our state-of-the-art technology, we ensure that the financing of these projects is transparent and traceable, guaranteeing, at the same time, direct and positive impacts on the environment and society.

If you would like to know more about carbon footprinting or how to calculate it, you can contact our team of specialists.