What Is A Carbon Footprint?

10 May 2012

By Noel McCarbon FootprintArdle

A carbon footprint can be applied to an organisation, one of its products, or an event.  Carbon Footprint is a shorthand way of referring to the total amount of GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions which are produced by a business in the course of delivering its product or service to market.  Typically the CO2 emissions derive from such items as manufacturing activities; office premises; electricity usage; business travel; company fleet vehicles; taxis and couriers and waste to landfill.  The carbon footprint concept is expressed in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.

A carbon footprint also applies to carbon emissions caused by an individual or residential household in the course of day-to-day living, such as the electricity used in heating hot water through to the petrol used in driving the kids to school.

For instance, a typical family car produces approximately 3 to 4 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – over twice its own weight in emissions.  A company fleet vehicle can be even higher.

The footprint concept can also be applied to a specific product manufactured by an organisation or to an individual event, such as a concert.

How Do We go About It & What is the Next Step?

There are two types of emissions which impact upon a business.

  • Recurring Emissions from day-to-day operations
  • Embodied Energy Emissions (the energy taken to manufacture general products which are in turn purchased used by the business – such as the energy required to construct its desks or computers)

Most businesses start of by measuring the recurrent emissions from their day-to-day operations and put ‘embodied energy’ into the ‘next stage’ file.

The first step in the process of establishing an organisations carbon footprint is to measure the recurring or operational carbon emissions produced by the organisation.   This requires an assessment of the organisations on-site or internal carbon emissions, e.g. their electrical usage, as well as a measurement of external or off-site emissions, such as air travel or paper supplies.  The latter group are often called “externalities”.

A further consideration is “Boundary Issues’.   Every organisation also has to make a determination on where it should quarantine its emission obligations – this is commonly known as “boundary issues”.  For instance, should a business take into account the transport used by the company to deliver its product to the nearest port?

How Do ECO go about it?

ECO is a Management Carbon Consultancy.

ECO’s policy is to follow the three M’s: Measure, Manage & Mitigate your CO2 emissions.

  • MEASURE: we work with you to measure your organisation’s GHG emissions – this is your CARBON FOOTPRINT.
  • MANAGE: we help you manage and reduce these emissions and so reduce the size of your footprint. ECO do not believe in simply purchasing carbon offsetting emissions. We believe in first managing and reducing those emissions before your company should even consider purchasing carbon abatement offsets. Not only is this economically cheaper – it is good environmental practice.  The management of emissions involves the following tasks:






 Refuse – or avoid buying-into other people’s carbon emission footprint (We will be happy to show you how)

  • MITIGATE: You mitigate your emissions by purchasing Carbon Offsets or Carbon Abatement Credits.  As part of ECO’S operating philosophy, we think it is important that Carbon Offsets should only be purchased in order to offset those emissions that are unavoidable in the course of delivery of the firm’s services, after all other methods of reducing those emissions have been implemented.  In other words – Carbon Offset Certificates should only be purchased as the final step to balance the emissions remaining.
    • This is the decision-making point at which you need to determine whether it is the policy of your organisation to become carbon neutral immediately or whether it is your policy to work towards that goal over a period of time.  For instance, you could aim to offset half of all of your emissions in the first year and work towards a 100% offset in years 2 or 3.
    • If your policies, or that of your customers, require you to be ‘Carbon Neutral’ we can offset your emissions using biosequestration offsets from Australian native vegetation (trees) – or indeed from using other certified sources.
    • ECO Provides REAL Carbon Sequestration Offsets.
      Not just Paper Offsets.  This may be of value to your customers.

In particular, we would like to show you how “Becoming CARBON NEUTRAL can be COST NEUTRAL!”Carbon Footprint

Community Service:  In purchasing tree-based carbon offsets to mitigate your carbon footprint, you are supporting rural communities and transferring wealth from the city to the rural regions.

Please contact us at email@ecocarbonoffsets.com.au to discuss your requirements further, or click the CONTACT US button on this page.


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