Carbon footprint

DEFINITION: 

The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere that is produced directly or indirectly by human activities. It can be calculated to measure the emissions emitted by products, services, individuals, companies or nations. The standard unit of measurement for carbon footprints is carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

See also: Carbon budget

See also: Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

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The Net-Zero Carbon Playbook

We know the net-zero carbon future we want to achieve. But how are we going to achieve it? Inspired by edie’s award-winning Mission Possible campaign, this Net-Zero Carbon Playbook inspires and empowers businesses to ramp up efforts across all areas of sustainable development to achieve net-zero.

The first priority of the body is to finalise the creation of the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs)

New governing body formed to oversee voluntary carbon markets

The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets has announced the formation of an independent governance body for carbon markets and credits that will aim to set a global benchmark in proving the social value and carbon reduction potential of carbon credits and offsetting.

Since 2010, Parker has reduced its energy intensity by 42% and greenhouse gas intensity by 50%

US firm Parker aims for carbon-neutral operations by 2040

US motions and controls firm Parker has unveiled plans to reach carbon neutrality across its operations by 2040, with fresh new carbon reduction targets set to be submitted to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The 2027 target for UK operations will assist with a global net-zero target for 2040

Vodafone to reach net-zero carbon emissions in UK by 2027

Vodafone plans to eliminate carbon emissions from its entire UK operations by 2027, as part of a sweeping set of commitments that will see the technology giant invest in electric vehicles (EVs) and update supplier contracts based on environmental credentials.

All three companies are aligning targets with the Paris Agreement pathways

Kingfisher, DS Smith and Turner & Townsend unveil science-based targets

Screwfix and B&Q's parent firm Kingfisher has had carbon reduction targets consistent with the required pace to limit global warming to the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), while both packaging firm DS Smith and consultants Turner & Townsend have unveiled net-zero commitments.

McCormick has partnered with Natural Capital Partners to offset any remaining emissions

Manufacturer McCormick's first net-zero building set for Peterborough

Multinational food ingredients manufacturer McCormick has confirmed that a new facility in Peterborough looks set to become its first net-zero carbon building.

Currently, Shell is aiming to reduce the carbon intensity of its products by 20% by 2030

Dutch court orders Shell to strengthen carbon reduction targets

A Dutch court has ordered a groundbreaking ruling for Royal Dutch Shell to raise its commitments to carbon reduction, in what could mark the first of many legal cases against energy firms on climate grounds.

Over a four-year period, BT also reduced the carbon intensity of its supply chain by 19%

BT cuts emissions by 14% over 12-month period

Over the last 12 months, BT Group has reduced the carbon intensity of its operations by 14%, putting the company on course to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, while broadcaster Sky has had carbon reduction targets for its net-zero ambition approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Compass Group has become a signatory of Business Ambition for 1.5°C

Food services firm Compass targets net-zero emissions by 2030

The UK's largest food services company, Compass Group UK & Ireland, will switch to 100% electric vehicles (EVs), move 40% of its food offerings to plant-based proteins and will launch a £1m carbon reduction fund in a bid to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

Mars is currently engaging its largest 200 suppliers to decarbonise

Mars and PepsiCo launch new supply chain climate programme

Food and beverage giants Mars, PepsiCo and McCormick have teamed up to launch a new coalition aimed at encouraging suppliers to reduce carbon emissions in alignment with climate science.

Charlotte led Vivobarefoot through the B Corp certification process

Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Charlotte Pumford, Vivobarefoot

This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Up next: Charlotte Pumford, Vivobarefoot's sustainability manager.

Horizon Organic is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality before going beyond that milestone by removing or preventing additional carbon emissions

Danone-owned dairy giant unveils lifetime carbon emissions for its products

Horizon Organic, the largest USDA certified organic dairy brand in the world, has publicly disclosed the summary of life cycle assessments (LCA) for its whole milk half gallons, in a bid to outline areas of improvement as it strives to become "carbon positive" by 2025.

ShareAction’s research states that car manufacturers can align with new vehicle standards by setting a carbon reduction target of 25% by 2025 and 65% by 2030

'Asleep at the wheel': European carmakers risking fines over vehicle emissions

Europe's five largest carmakers are at risk of being "displaced by competitors" by failing to align phase-outs of traditional petrol and diesel vehicles with accelerating regulation emerging on the continent.

The so-called moonshot has been supported by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents 80% of the global shipping industry

Shipping industry backs $5bn decarbonisation moonshot

The global shipping industry has given "full and unequivocal" support to a "moonshot" submitted by various national governments that would create a $5bn fund to reduce the carbon impact of the sector.

The Colne Valley Western Slopes project will consist of 127 hectares of new chalk grassland, woodland, wood pasture and wetland habitats

HS2 to create 127-hectare biodiversity hotspot to assist carbon reduction efforts

The HS2 project team has announced plans to create more than 120 hectares of new carbon-sequestering grassland, woodland and wetland habitats that will reuse soil and chalk from tunnel excavations.

In 2016, the firm agreed to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity, a target that has been met

Etsy commits to net-zero emissions by 2030

Online retailer Etsy has pledged to "deepening its commitment to a sustainable future" by setting science-based targets and pledging to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

The B Corp standard is one of the most popular as a marker of a purpose-led brand

BrewDog announces B Corp certification

Scottish craft brewer BrewDog is the latest company to achieve B Corp certification, highlighting the company's dedication to becoming a force for good and focusing on carbon offsetting and reduction.

Mission Possible: Achieving a green recovery for the public sector

edie's Mission Possible campaign has evolved to focus on the green recovery, with a new series of reports outlining the challenges that businesses in key sectors face in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, and the opportunities that the green recovery will bring. Up next, the public sector.

FDF members have also delivered strong progress on water stewardship

Food and drink businesses meet carbon reduction goals five years early

The UK's food and drinks sector has collectively slashed carbon emissions by 55% since 1990, surpassing a target set for 2025.

The company recorded a 12% reduction in relative carbon emissions from its breweries in 2019

Carlsberg closes in on carbon reduction goals

Brewing giant Carlsberg's latest sustainability report has revealed that the company has reduced carbon emissions by 39% since 2015, as it closes in on a goal to halve brewery emissions by 50% by 2022.

edie has highlighted 21 aspirational new goals that professionals can work towards to help drive business prosperity while alleviating some key environmental and planetary concerns

21 New Year's resolutions for sustainability professionals in 2021 and beyond

At last, 2020 has drawn to a close and while the first parts of a new year might not create a respite from a global pandemic and an economic crash, it does create the ideal opportunity to look at the climate crisis with a reinvigorated approach.

The company has also committed to becoming carbon negative across its operations and business travel by 2030

Jacobs reaches 100% renewables and net-zero emissions for business operations

Engineering firm Jacobs has revealed it is now powered by 100% renewable energy and has reached net-zero emissions for its operations and business travel, pledging to become carbon negative by 2030.

Green groups have welcomed the commitment, but want more detailed outlines of how decarbonisation will be delivered

A 'vital step': Green economy reacts to the UK's new climate commitment

Green groups and business leaders have welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that the UK has created an updated domestic emissions target for 2030 as its contribution to the Paris Agreement, but with progress lacking against upcoming carbon budgets, many want to see more detailed action plans.

The new target meets the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee 

UK to slash emissions by 68% by 2030, as part of Paris Agreement NDC

The UK Government will aim to reduce emissions by 68% by 2030, as part of a domestic action plan that will deliver the nation's contribution towards the Paris Agreement and limiting global temperature increases to well below 2C and build towards net-zero by 2050.

The targets will set up the required decarbonisation rate to allow Vodafone to eliminate Scope 3 emissions completely by 2040

Vodafone sets net-zero target for 2040

Vodafone has committed to reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2040 and will eliminate emissions from its activities and energy and halve scope 3 emissions by 2030.

With the US accounting for 14% of global emissions, the world’s largest economy will be a key driver in striving to reach required levels of global decarbonisation

US Election 2020: What does Joe Biden's win mean for the global climate emergency?

US President-elect Joe Biden is outlining that first steps of his transition plan after beating Donald Trump in the US election. While the latter is yet to concede the results, leadership under the Democrats will deliver a very different outlook on global efforts to combat the climate crisis.

Khoo outlined how Interface was aiming to have zero impact through its products and operations, and how that has changed the mindset of the business

Can business models act as carbon sinks to reach net-zero?

To kickstart edie's Net-Zero November, carpet manufacturer Interface's head of sustainability Jon Khoo reflects on the company's own ambitious Climate Take Back strategy, as well as discussing how business mindsets and models can "act like carbon sinks" to transform corporates into zero-impact organisations.

Mike Townsend, founder and chief executive of Earthshine Group, summarises the net-zero journey

Towards net-zero: Are we really the smartest of monkeys?

Setting the scene for edie's upcoming Net-Zero November month of themed content and events, sustainable business expert and commentator Mike Townsend takes a thought-provoking look at the various drivers, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for businesses on our pathway towards a net-zero carbon, circular economy.

The strategy will also aim for the company’s supply chain partners to be net-zero carbon in operation by 2040

Willmott Dixon to become zero-carbon business by 2030

Construction firm Willmott Dixon has committed that all new build and refurbishment projects it delivers from 2030 onwards will be net-zero carbon in operation, as part of a new sustainability strategy that will see the company become zero-carbon in its own operations over the next decade.

More case studies can be found in edie's green manufacturing report

How are manufacturers approaching net-zero and the green recovery?

The manufacturing sector has a rich history of innovating to overcome persistent challenges. But the twin disruptions of the net-zero transition and the Covid-19 pandemic have made the sector's green efforts paramount to business prosperity. Here, edie explores how manufacturers are navigating these challenges.