Why Conduct a Carbon Footprint?
Completing a carbon footprint is the first step to understanding the emissions from an organisation’s operations. By measuring the emissions from each source, organisations acquire the knowledge of what aspects of their business are most damaging to the Earth’s climate, as well as set a benchmark against which future emission reductions can be measured. This process of monitoring and reducing emissions in a proactive way is usually referred to as carbon management.
Knowing which are the major sources of emissions for an organisation is key. Changing lighting installations can help to reduce emissions but if the same emission reduction can be achieved through changes in travel policy or cutting paper use, then these will be more profitable for the organisation. Furthermore, these low or no cost changes can reduce expenditure, which might mean more emission reduction projects can be undertaken sooner. Understanding the emissions profile of the organisation allows these decisions to be made and programs put in place to achieve greater overall emission reductions, not just a few quick wins or, worse still, band-aid solutions.
With a price on carbon once again proposed for Australia, the other advantage of measuring an organisation’s carbon footprint is to determine the impacts of various carbon prices on the organisation’s cost of goods sold and overheads. Armed with this information, organisation’s can anticipate likely changes in their cost structure, competitiveness or even their viability. By understanding the likely impact of a carbon price and taking proactive measures, firms can ensure their continued success.