Environmentally-friendly people, their decisions, and their initiatives change the world. More and more companies are beginning to report their greenhouse gas emissions and disclosing data on the carbon footprint of their products along the entire supply chain. It gives people the choice to reduce their carbon footprint and care about the world they live in.
Any human activity brings a carbon footprint. Clothes, food, travel, home heating, and accumulated debris leave a carbon footprint in the planet's atmosphere. For example, clothing is produced in a factory powered by fossil fuel combustion. Food production and delivery to stores is also associated with emissions - most of the transport uses diesel and gasoline. Oil products, gas, or coal are used for heating and lighting, and garbage is sent to landfills where it is burned, releasing CO2, or forms methane.
The priority is to minimize its impact on the climate. When people or organizations count their carbon footprint, they can make up for it. Conservation organizations provide online calculators
for personal calculations. For humans, the calculation of the carbon footprint is usually based on averages. Calculations for companies require more accuracy. Therefore, organizations that strive for sustainability usually attract specialists to the carbon footprint calculations.
There are three general types of carbon footprint.
The first type includes emissions from organizational processes
. Emissions from any of the organization's activities, including the use of energy in buildings, manufacturing processes, and transportation. This type is called emissions with coverage of the first (direct emissions, for example, by burning fuel) and the second level (indirect emissions, for example, through the purchase of electricity, heat, steam, or cold for their own needs).
The second is a supply chain type
with third-level coverage. It includes emissions from suppliers and consumers. It even considers employee trips to and from work, business trips, rented capacity, franchise actions, and more. World Resources Institute has developed the guide
to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol on this type of carbon footprint.
And the last type of carbon footprint relates to a final product
, including emissions from goods and services over their lifetime. This covers the path from the extraction of raw materials and production to its use, reuse, recycling, or disposal.
The information collected on all three types helps companies connect to the fight against climate change. Organizations seek to set science-based targets for reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency.
It is not just government policy that influences companies. Now investors are increasingly demanding that firms monitor even the indirect impact on the environment. The business must be sustainable and able to cope with the climate challenge. The Global Institutional Investor Opinion Survey for 2020, conducted by the British audit and consulting company EY (Ernst and Young), confirmed the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria
. As it turned out, 98 %of the interviewed began to assess non-financial factors more strictly. At the same time, they are increasingly dissatisfied with information on environmental, social, and management risks.
Awareness of the carbon footprint helps reduce it in the future. Every contribution counts. Even without calculations, it is possible reducing the personal or organizational footprint now.
Local products and local suppliers mean less CO2 emissions
. Both personal products and raw materials for production can leave a much larger carbon footprint when they are brought from afar. The border carbon levy
is one of several mechanisms being considered by the European Commission as part of the European Green Deal. This initiative aims to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over the next 10 years (compared to the current target of 40%) and turn Europe into the world's first carbon-neutral continent. However, it takes more understanding than laws to start supporting local producers.
The use of transport can be more environmentally friendly
. In most European countries, transport emits 20 to 25%
of all carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the overall reduction in CO2 emissions, emissions from transport have long remained significant
. People find a way out to buy electric cars. Thus, in 2020, sales of cars without internal combustion engines soared. When choosing a car, people prefer the one that does not consume a lot of fuel. It is more environmentally friendly to ride together, so people organize joint trips. More and more companies prefer remote work and interaction, avoiding redundant trips.
Products and companies with an open green policy need support
. People striving to reduce their carbon footprint buy durable products that can be repaired and used for a long time. Every year Europeans produce more than 16 kilograms of electrical waste per person. About half of this garbage comes from broken household appliances, and the EU processes only about 40%
, leaving behind a huge amount of potentially hazardous materials. On March 1, 2021
, a new law came into force throughout the EU, which guarantees buyers of household appliances the so-called "right to repair."
The risks of the partial or total loss of ecosystems and species due to climate change are now increasing. It is confirmed both by the increase in the number and strength of dangerous hydrometeorological phenomena and scientific work on the physics of the atmosphere and ocean, linking this effect with greenhouse gas (GHG), primarily CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.
Awareness and care for the environment are appreciated more and more and are extended with new ideas, programs, and technologies. Companies that have reduced their CO2 emissions receive a carbon certificate
as a reward. These certifications are valuable and can be sold to companies with CO2 emissions over the norm. To track certification and secure the exchange of certificates, many projects use blockchain technology.
The distributed ledger is also essential for internal process tracking and CO2 calculation. Combined with sensors that are linked to a blockchain database via the Internet, the automatic tracking of CO2 and other environmental pathways reveals the real big picture.
Human-made climate change must be halted by stopping global temperature growth. The idea is supported by the dozens of people, organizations, and relevant ministries. However, with the strong resistance of carbon-intensive businesses, achieving the result requires active assistance and cooperation.