A carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person. A carbon footprint directly reflects the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change by measuring the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, transportation etc.
For simplicity of reporting, it is expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted by it and is measured in units of tonnes (or kilograms) of carbon dioxide equivalent.
An organization’s carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG Emissions Assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, multi-pronged strategies can be devised to reduce it.
The carbon footprint of an organization can be reduced by,
- reducing consumption of products that cause GHG emissions such as electricity, fuel, water, paper and efficiently recycling waste
- improve procurement processes by purchasing environmentally-sustainable products such as energy efficient electrical appliances and lighting fixtures, recycled printing paper,
- technological developments and innovations such as thin computing
- better product management by the manufacturing industries
- carbon capture initiatives such as undertaking vast tree plantation and re-afforestation drives
- carbon offsetting by investing in renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind energy.