What Is a Carbon Footprint and Why Is It Important?

It is important that you are equipped with the knowledge to figure out the impact your business has on the environment. While it can be a challenging task, there are things that you can do to calculate the carbon footprint of your business and understand the benefits it has on your company.

Carbon Footprint Defined

Are you asking, “What is a business carbon footprint?” Carbon footprint is defined as the best estimate of the total amount of greenhouse gases created to indirectly and directly build and run a business, product or household.

When calculating your carbon footprint, there are various gases that are measured that make the planet warmer by keeping heat within the atmosphere, such as:

  • Carbon dioxide occurs when fossil fuels are burned and consists of the majority of U.S. emissions.
  • Methane mostly comes from livestock and agriculture in addition to landfills.
  • Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide but is released in smaller quantities from refrigerants and farming.
  • Fluorinated gases include hydrofluorocarbons that are found in air conditioners. These are extremely potent. They also have a high potential for global warming.

Your Business & Carbon Footprint

There are various reasons why your business should care about its carbon footprint. Are you asking, “How can I reduce my business carbon footprint?” Carbon footprinting will help put plans in place to help reduce it over time. Reducing your business’s carbon footprint will in turn save your business money since it does things like lower the cost of your utility bills.

In offices where a lot of paper is used, the consumption can be greatly reduced. Paper is the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter. Cloud storage systems and mobile devices allow documentation to be accessed anywhere at any time as long as you have an internet connection and without the use of printing a ton of paper.

Another way you can reduce the carbon footprinting in your company is by changing your lighting and switching to eco-friendly bulbs. These bulbs have the ability to save two-thirds of the amount of energy being used.  

Carbon footprinting can help you determine problems. For example, when you make your calculations while looking at your electricity bills, you will notice that the consumption of electricity used may have increased tremendously and never returned to normal levels. Now you can use this information to investigate the issue and correct it, thus saving you money.

Did you know that understanding your company’s carbon footprint will enable you to estimate your reduction measures, making your reporting more powerful? If your company has a CSR Report or market in which you are green, this will benefit you tremendously.

Finally, more customers are requesting carbon footprint numbers from the companies that they work with. They can use these numbers to help calculate their own Scope 3 emissions and help you in many ways with the goals you’ve set for your company.