Virtually every business activity, from powering a fleet of vehicles to manufacturing products to flying employees to meetings, emits greenhouse gases (GHG), including CO2 which are negatively impacting the environment. The environmental impact of an organization is referred to as its carbon footprint, which measures the total GHG emitted directly and indirectly by that organization. Direct emissions result from activities that the organization controls, like operating a facility and producing a product, and from using electricity for things like lighting, heating, and powering equipment. Indirect emissions are those that the organization is responsible for but does not control, like the carbon emitted by suppliers who deliver raw materials for the manufacturing operations.
Using Sinopa for energy sustainability consulting can help you calculate your organization’s carbon footprint and develop ways to reduce and/or offset it. Once you know the impact of your activities, there are two things you can do. First, you can reduce direct emissions by improving efficiency of lighting and equipment; opting for videoconferencing over flying to meetings, or switching your vehicle fleet to hybrid models. You can also reduce indirect emissions by selecting partners and suppliers who have committed to reducing their own carbon footprints. These changes help, but it’s nearly impossible to reduce your emissions to zero. Another option is to purchase carbon offsets to reduce the remainder of your organization’s environmental footprint.
Offsets, or credits, are created when a project or an organization emits less carbon relative to a baseline, with that baseline established using a standardized methodology. The offset creator may then sell to someone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint but may not have cost effective options in-house. Typically, offset sales are used to finance carbon-reduction initiatives like methane capture, renewable energy and reforestation projects.