With a view to achieving the Paris targets and enabling the long-term transition to a CO2-neutral economy, companies, investors, politicians and the public need transparency about their CO2 emissions. A carbon footprint is the appropriate instrument for this purpose, because it provides information about the greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by companies to manufacture products or provide services. A carbon footprint covers not only CO2 emissions, but all greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane or nitrous oxide, which can be compared by converting them to CO2 equivalents.
Once a carbon footprint has been drawn up and is regularly updated, it can make progress in reducing emissions measurable and transparent and also provide important information on reduction potential and reduction measures. In sustainability reporting and also in the context of forthcoming regulation, the preparation of carbon footprints is considered standard practice.
The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard is one of the oldest and most established standards for CO2 reporting and has become the most widely used standard for CO2 reporting. The GHG Protocol distinguishes between three scopes.
Scope 1 covers a company's direct emissions from its own buildings (e.g. heating boilers, turbines) or facilities (e.g. machinery or vehicles). In addition, Scope 1 emissions can also occur during processing, e.g. cement production or waste recycling.
Scope 2 captures indirect emissions that result from the use of purchased energy. These include, for example, emissions from electricity, district heating or district cooling.
Scope 3 covers those indirect emissions that are essential as part of the value chain. A distinction is made between upstream and downstream emissions. Examples may include business travel, but also upstream products, recycling/recovery or even investments.
Identification and determination of relevant emission sources for Scopes 1-3
Data collection and determination of emission factors
Calculation and preparation of carbon footprints