Why is the calculation of emissions so important?
To be sure, today there are very few companies that calculate theirCO2eq or greenhouse gas emissions in a complete and verifiable manner. In other words, they do not apply standardized protocols such as ISO 14064 or ISO 14067, or other internationally validated references such as the GHG Protocol.
A recent CEOE study shows that only 1,604 organizations have registered their emissions in the Carbon Footprint Registry in Spain (source: 2021 MITERD). This contrasts with the mandatory reporting that is expected in the next two years for companies with more than 250 employees. Moreover, taking into account that many of these companies will also request emissions data from their respective suppliers, it is clear that the coverage of the calculation in our country is still in its initial phase.
The specialists of the consulting firms Ecomundis and RightSupply, technicians who deal on a daily basis with the calculation of the carbon footprint for different companies, point out that the deficits in the analysis or calculation of the Carbon Footprint are very clear:
- There are very few organizations that have and report their product carbon footprints.
- There is currently no public, free and verifiable registry that, in a harmonized and global, or at least European, way, compiles and provides access to direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from energy supply (Scope 2). On the contrary, there is an increasing number of competing private or non-governmental registries, including regional registries within the same country, which do not always apply the same criteria, calculation rules or emission factors.
- The complexity of calculating a carbon footprint for an organization or product implies defining very well the limits of the emissions inventory to be considered. Most of the reported footprints do not take into account the so-called scope 3, corresponding to the life cycle of products or services (which includes, among others, indirect emissions associated with raw materials).
- Not all reports presented express in detail the estimates and simplifications that have been made in order to arrive at a final Carbon Footprint value. Uncertainty parameters are not usually reported.
- On the other hand, not all consulting firms or technicians that perform the calculations do it in the same way and following the same method and sources of emission factors . For this reason, standardization, verification and third party supervision are very important.
How is this impacting the consumer or user in a real way?
The consumer mainly accesses information on the climate impact of organizations through the communication campaigns programmed by marketing teams in relation to their products.
The end consumer has enough to do to understand the countless eco-labels that exist for the products he/she purchases. For example, for the same category of products offered by different brands, it would be very difficult to establish comparisons of their respective carbon footprints if they have not taken into account in their calculation the complete map of emissions or have done so in a partial and unequal way. This is the reason why nowadays product packaging is practically not labeled including its carbon footprint (gr CO2/product).
On the other hand, consumers do not have time or easy access to any source to know in detail the emissions generated by an organization. In other words, we cannot ask them to consult and analyze the reports, websites and sustainability reports of organizations to assess or learn about their climate impact or the carbon footprint of a specific product; which, on the other hand, they are unlikely to find.
What approach should companies take?
- Recognize unified calculation methods based on international standards.
- Understand that the calculation of the Carbon Footprint is a process of detailed analysis to be carried out by technical specialists using up-to-date applications and databases.
- To bet on a future free public registry ofCO2 emissions information (for organizational and product carbon footprints) that should be international, at least at the European level. This will help them to improve their calculations.
- Raise awareness and involve the entire structure of the organization in providing information for the calculation and reduction of emissions.
- Draw up a roadmap for the reduction of direct and indirectCO2eqemissions, based on reliable, comparable and verifiable data.
- Require Product Carbon Footprint information from your suppliers.
- Provide detailed Carbon Footprint reports to its customers.
- Rely only on verified carbon footprint offset systems.
Pablo Chamorro, director of Ecomundis, concludes that we are facing a very specialized field that aims to be more transparent in the evaluation and declared reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of companies, events, products and services. Responding to new regulatory requirements, following methodologies and official registries is of vital importance in order to communicate rigorously.
The technical team of environmental analysis of Ecomundis is at your disposal to calculate the Carbon Footprint of your Organization and Products. Request more information in the attached form or consult more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.