Carbon Footprinting for Business 101
with Heather Schrock, Environmental Products Representative, Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Thanks to all who joined us yesterday at Hopworks for another great B Learning Lunch, and thanks to our presenter, Heather Schrock from Bonneville Environmental Foundation! In her talk, Heather demystified some questions we've all been faced with on the B Impact Assessment around measuring your greenhouse gas emissions and figuring out carbon footprint.
Highlights from Heather's presentation:
First, knowing your terms is key! Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is different from 'Greenhouse Gases,' or CO2e. Carbon Dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas emitted in human activities, mainly through the combustion of fossil fuels. GHG, however, includes other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. CO2e is shorthand for these greenhouse gases. When calculating carbon footprint for a business, you are typically calculating your CO2e.
Application to B Corp Assessment
Do these questions on B Corp's B Impact Assessment look familiar?! Have they stumped you and your team?
- Total GHG Emission (Metric tonnes of CO2e) in scope 3?
- Total GHG Emission (Metric tonnes of CO2e) in scope 2?
- What percentage of your Scopes 1 and 2 GHG emissions have been saved due to efficiency improvements implemented by your company?
Scopes 1, 2, and 3 Emissions
Heather walked us through the difference between Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions, and how Corporate Carbon Accounting works to help organizations understand their carbon footprint and take steps for both reductions AND offsets.
- Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions from direct sources owned and operated by the company. Typically, natural gas used, vehicles owned by the company, and any emissions from manufacturing processes.
- Scope 2: Basically, it's electricity. Emissions from energy purchased by a company. The easiest scope to calculate from your electricity bills.
- Scope 3: Emissions from sources related to operation. Employee commuting and travel, shipping, supplies, processing, input materials, etc. This is the hardest to calculate, and Heather suggests starting with company travel and what is most material to your business.
Heather’s 6 steps for all businesses to consider when looking at their carbon emissions impact:
- Measure: Scopes 1, 2, 3 (material to your business)
- Establish a baseline year
- Set reduction goals over a period of time
- Manage inventory and reductions compared to baseline
- Use offsets to address unavoidable impacts
- Public reporting (GRI G4, CDP, B-CORP)
Calculating Emissions & Using Carbon Offsets
Carbon Offsets are a financial tool designed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and incentivize lower emissions activities. Offsets are measured in metric tons of CO2e. Heather walked us through an exercise to calculate your scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions using standardized coefficients. These calculations can help a business figure out how many carbon offsets they should purchase to offset their emitting activities. For examples, the natural gas coefficient is .0053 metric tons of CO2e per therm, so it would take 530 offsets to balance 100,000 therms of natural gas.
Check out Heather’s slide deck for more resources and contact her if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank You, Canvas Host!
We also want to offer a big thanks to Canvas Host for sponsoring our lunches and supporting collaboration and learning to increase our social and environmental impact.
Photos from the April B Learning Lunch