VERY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY YOU'RE GOING TO TRACK MY EMISSIONS OR MY "CARBON FOOTPRINT"
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that you personally emit or your company does during a given period. Your carbon footprint in a year is made up of all carbon emitting activities such as driving to work or producing the products or delivering the services you sell, whether it's selling chopping boards at the Salamanca markets or hosting guests in a hotel. Basically, your carbon footprint takes all climate-relevant gases which are associated with global warming and they're converted into tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (in short: t-CO2e). So in one year, you want to know how many tonnes of C02e are you emitting by doing what you do.
WHAT ARE SCOPE 1, 2 AND 3 EMISSIONS?
When tracking your emissions, we follow the Greenhouse Gas Standards (these are like standards your accountant complies with when doing your tax, except instead of telling you how to calculate the laundry bill you can claim, it tells our accountants how to calculate your emissions). Those standards divide emissions into categories called scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Direct Scope 1 GHG emissions occur from sources that are owned or controlled by your company.
transport from the combustion of fuel in your company vehicles that your organisation owns
the combustion of fuels in fixed sources like boilers, furnaces and incinerators
manufacturing or processing of materials and chemicals, for example, cement manufacturing, aluminium smelting and petrochemical processing
fugitive emissions, including methane emissions from coal mines
production of electricity from burning coal
Scope 2: Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of the energy you buy from a utility provider. In other words, all GHG emissions released in the atmosphere, from the consumption of your electricity, steam, heat and cooling.
For most organisations, electricity will be the main source of your scope 2 emissions.
Scope 3: Now we're getting tricky. Scope 3 includes all the emissions your company is responsible for outside of its own walls—from the goods it purchases to the disposal of the products it sells. For example, every time you arrange freight, the emissions involved in driving that diesel truck or flying that plane are included in your scope 3 emissions. Now most major organisations still aren't focusing on recording all of their scope 3 emissions, which is understandable in one way, imagine how complicated this can get. However, this is where a huge amount of the companies overall emissions come from! We make it easy for you to do your very best in identifying and tracking your scope 3 emissions.
WHY WOULD I START TRACKING MY EMISSIONS NOW?
It has never been more important to reduce our emissions and the first step is tracking them so the organisation knows where it stands. Once you have a baseline of your emissions, and you start making decisions that reduce them, you'll be able to demonstrate your progress to customers, clients and the community. These stakeholders want to know you are focusing on your impact.
There are a number of reasons to do this, including:
Customers are now demanding eco- friendly or carbon neutral products and services in a way they never have before - whether that's carbon neutral steak or green tin or steel.
Investors are increasingly focused on lending to those who meet strict environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria or standards. Better finance options are also often available to those meeting the highest ESG standards.
Policy makers and governments are constantly exploring the potential regulation of carbon emissions which has the potential for significant financial impact if an organisation has made no effort to reduce its emissions.
Reducing emissions often makes good business sense in general, the price of fuel has never been higher (well not in a while anyway) - can you convert some of that consumption to electricity? Implementing systems and processes to then reduce electricity will also likely save money.
You get to communicate your progress to stakeholders with the confidence that you know where you stand and where you're going - and people care about that more than an overall statement to say a business is carbon neutral simply because they have purchased offsets.
SPEAKING OF CARBON OFFSETS, WHAT ARE WE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT?
You know how you go to book a flight and there's a little tick box, would you like to offset this flight for $2 something? The short highly summarised story is, they take those funds and use it to buy carbon 'offsets'. Many companies buy carbon offsets.
A carbon offset is like a credit that represents one metric tonne of greenhouse gas emissions reduced or removed from the atmosphere. So if farmer A stops carbon going into the atmosphere by using a special method, farmer A can register that project and method and they will get so many credits equal to the emissions reduced or removed from the atmosphere. Then, farmer A can sell those credits to a company who wants to offset their own emissions. People are incentivised by the government to reduce emissions so they can earn credits which can be sold.
WHAT IF I WANT TO BECOME CERTIFIED CARBON NEUTRAL?
There are a number of ways to do this. Following the Climate Active pathway is one of them and we can provide support to you in this. Like most processes for authentication, you can see that tracking your emissions, identifying a reduction strategy and procuring offsets is part of the process. You can do this with Sumday and our accountants will then provide you with an audit ready file for the approved external auditors to review as part of your official certification process.