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Carbon Footprint Factsheet 2024: A Comprehensive Guide to Reducing Emissions

May 14, 2024

Table of Contents

Every action we take has an environmental impact, and understanding our carbon footprint is key to mitigating climate change. In 2022, 35 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions were released worldwide. Managing carbon footprints is critical for meeting global emission targets and combating global warming.

A carbon footprint factsheet provides essential insights into this concept, explaining its significance and calculation methods. Identifying emissions sources and understanding their effects helps you make informed decisions to reduce environmental impact.

This guide aims to give your practical tips on how to measure, manage, and reduce your carbon footprint effectively, both at home and in the workplace.

What is a carbon footprint?

Generation of greenhouse gases from factories.

A carbon footprint measures the greenhouse gases released by people, businesses, events, or products. This includes emissions from all stages of a product's life, from gathering raw materials to production, use, and disposal.

The United Nations highlights the urgent need to reduce these emissions. Without actions like shifting to a low carbon economy and protecting our natural resources, the negative effects of climate change will be increasingly felt around the world.

How do you calculate a carbon footprint?

To calculate a carbon footprint, you must add all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors generated at each stage of a product or service's life. Different greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide(CO₂), methane (CH₄), and nitrous oxide (N₂O), are emitted during these stages. Each gas has a different global warming potential (GWP), which measures how much heat it can trap in the atmosphere compared to CO₂. The results are standardized into a CO2 equivalent figure, allowing an equal comparison of activities.

Why do you need to lower your carbon footprint?

Cutting down your carbon footprint is essential for fighting climate change. High carbon footprints contribute to global warming, leading to rising sea levels, extreme weather, and loss of wildlife. Reducing your carbon footprint helps address these issues and helps protect the planet.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Lowering your carbon footprint helps meet this global goal and supports international efforts to combat climate change.

Small changes can make a significant impact. Using energy-efficient devices, opting for sustainable transport, and making other eco-friendly choices reduce the greenhouse gases we emit. This helps stabilize the climate and protect our natural environment.

Reducing your carbon footprint also has economic advantages. By improving your energy efficiency you can also lower your energy costs. Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability can boost your organization’s reputation.

Sources of emissions

Emission sources range from various daily life activities to business operations. This section will explore the primary sources of emissions:

Personal and household emissions

Personal and household examples include:

Food

Food production and transportation account for a large portion of these emissions. Agricultural practices release CO₂, CH₄, and N₂O, with the production of meat and dairy products contributing the largest amount of emissions. Choosing plant-based foods or reducing meat consumption can lower your carbon footprint.

Household emissions

Household energy use is another primary source of emissions. Heating, cooling, and appliance usage, such as refrigerators and air conditioning, consume significant energy. In Singapore, for example, air conditioning is a major contributor to household emissions due to the tropical climate.

Transportation

Transportation also plays a critical role in personal emissions. Emissions from cars, motorcycles, public transport, and air travel can add up very quickly. The prevalence of  personal vehicles exacerbates this issue. Opting for public transportation, cycling, or carpooling can reduce your transportation-related emissions.

Business and organizational emissions

Business and organizational emissions are categorized into three scopes.

●     Scope 1 includes direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the organization, like fuel combustion on-site.

●     Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, or heat.

●     Scope 3 involves other indirect emissions from activities related to the organization that are not directly controlled, e.g from supply chain activities.

Recycling Frame

Manufacturing

Manufacturing processes, such as factories in industrial zones release significant greenhouse gases (GHGs). These emissions stem from energy use and on-site fuel combustion and are a part of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

Implementing energy-efficient technologies and cleaner production methods can help reduce these emissions.

Transport and Logistics

Transporting goods and services adds to business emissions across all three scopes. Direct emissions from company-owned vehicles fall under Scope 1.

Emissions from the electricity used by logistics operations are Scope 2, while indirect emissions from third-party transportation providers are Scope 3. Optimizing routes and using fuel-efficient vehicles can reduce transport emissions.

Supply chain and waste management

Supply chain emissions, categorized under Scope 3, often constitute the largest portion of a business's carbon footprint. These include emissions from raw material extraction, manufacturing processes, and logistics.

Waste management, another critical area, involves emissions from waste disposal and recycling processes. Adopting sustainable supply chain management practices and reducing waste can lower overall emissions.

How to reduce carbon footprint?

To reduce your carbon footprint, you need to understand the key sources of your emissions. Simple changes in daily habits and adopting business operational efficiencies can also reduce your carbon footprint.

Practical tips at an individual level

To begin with, you need to start making practical changes at an individual level.

1.   Enhancing energy efficiency

Insulate your home to maintain temperature and reduce heating and cooling needs. Use energy-efficient lighting to save electricity. In tropical climates, rely more on fans and natural ventilation instead of air conditioning.

2.   Sustainable transport

Use public transport, cycle, or carpool to reduce reliance on personal vehicles. These alternatives lower fuel consumption and reduce pollution.

3.   Dietary changes

Dietary changes can also make a big difference. Reducing meat consumption, especially beef, lowers methane emissions. Minimizing food waste by planning meals and storing food properly helps, too. Composting food scraps instead of throwing them away reduces methane emissions from landfills.

4.   Waste reduction

Recycle paper, plastic, and glass. Composting organic waste keeps it out of landfills. Use reusable bags, bottles, and containers to minimize single-use plastics.

Strategies for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint

Regulatory pressures, consumer demand for environmentally responsible practices, and the need to mitigate climate change make it imperative for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

1.   Improving operational efficiency

Organizations can adapt energy-saving equipment to reduce power use and enhance operational efficiency. Also, make it a habit to switch off the air conditioning and other devices when they are not in use. These easy steps lower your energy bills and help the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

2.   Encouraging eco-friendly commuting

Promoting green commuting options for your team can lower your company's carbon emissions. Encourage your employees to use public transport, bike, or carpool. Providing perks for these eco-friendly choices helps reduce emissions and fosters a culture of sustainability in your workplace.

3. Creating a sustainability roadmap

A sustainability roadmap involves defining specific goals and practical actions to lower emissions. For this, set targets for reducing emissions and focus on renewable energy investments. This method decreases greenhouse gas emissions, boosts your company's environmental impact, and ensures sustainable growth.

4.   Carbon measurement and reporting

Accurately measuring and reporting your carbon footprint will enhance accountability and transparency in carbon management. Third-party software can track emissions and ensure reliable data. Implementing a carbon accounting system will help monitor progress and identify areas for improvement.

Woman cycling.

Zuno Carbon: your one-stop solution for carbon footprint management

Using an end-to-end ESG solution, such as Zuno Carbon, to manage your carbon emissions provides organizations with a single source of truth. By understanding the sources of emissions and implementing practical changes, you can reduce your carbon footprint and steer your business towards sustainable growth.

 Zuno Carbon provides the tools and insights to manage your carbon footprint effectively. Our platform makes measuring emissions accurate and straightforward. It lets you easily track and report your carbon footprint to meet global ESG standards.

 We help you set and achieve your emission reduction targets by providing insights and strategies tailored to your needs. Plus, our platform integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and provides real-time data to keep you on track.

Book a call with Zuno Carbon to see how you can streamline you carbon accounting with Zuno Carbon.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the four main carbon footprint categories?

The four main carbon footprint categories are:

  • Energy use: Emissions from electricity, heating, and cooling.
  • Transportation: Emissions from personal and public transport
  • Food: Emissions from food production, transportation, and waste.
  • Waste: Emissions from waste management and landfill methane.

2. What are the key facts about carbon footprint?

 A carbon footprint measures total greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, transportation, and food production. Key facts include:

  • Major gases: CO₂, CH₄, N₂O.
  • Measured in CO₂ equivalents (CO₂e)
  • High footprints contribute to global warming
  • Reducing footprints mitigates climate change impacts.
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