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Footprints are an excellent tool to assess the overall intensity of a defined activity, product or organisation. The following section provides some guidance and explanations of the variety of footprints that can be undertaken, but please do pick up the phone and speak to one of our experts for more information.
Any type of footprint is fundamentally an audit that provides a quantitative assessment of substances such as greenhouse gases (carbon equivalents), water and even a full ecological assessment for a specific time frame. So a footprint could show the carbon emissions that a mobile phone manufacturer is responsible for in a 6-month period across its total organisation, or the carbon impact from the manufacture of a single handset.
We would classify a broad suite of footprints as follows:
Building Carbon Footprint
To an extent this 'does what it says on the tin'. It assesses the carbon emissions emitted from either a single building or all of an organisation's properties. Buildings are responsible for a vast proportion of the world's CO2 emissions and it is an obvious focus point for many. As part of a building carbon footprint we look at the direct and indirect energy use, which is essentially how the building performs and links to our services for building design, energy audits and Energy Performance Certificates.
Organisational "End to End" Carbon Footprint
Defining the boundaries of an organisation is sometimes complex, especially if you have subsidiaries or are operating a franchise. However, once the scope of the organisation is defined we assess all of the direct and indirect emissions for which that organisation is responsible. This typically includes energy consumed both by buildings, manufacturing, travel, the supply chain. In short, we cover everything.
Product and Services Carbon Footprint
A company's products and services will usually have the greatest impact. We assess individual products or an entire suite or brand of products, or a company's entire product range. This will include looking at the complete bill of materials required to manufacture a product, the energy used to process the product and how the product is used. We work with the Publically Available Standard, PAS2050, and utilise our knowledge of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) process to provide a verifiable carbon footprint. This can be used by a company to obtain a verifiable carbon label for their product.
An eco-footprint can present a broader view than a carbon footprint. Ecological footprinting looks at the use of renewable resource required to deliver the activity of an organisation, region or country. It measures the impact in terms of land area measured in global hectares and looks at the bioproductivity in relation to energy, water, land and biodiversity.