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How to calculate company CO₂ emissions

At Klimate, we help companies physically remove their unavoidable emissions from the atmosphere. There are two important steps before doing that: measuring your current emissions, and making a plan for how to reduce these as much as possible. You may have heard of this referred to as measure, reduce, remove.
On this page, we will introduce you to everything you need to know in order to start this journey.

How to calculate company CO₂ emissions

At Klimate, we help companies physically remove their unavoidable emissions from the atmosphere. There are two important steps before doing that: measuring your current emissions, and making a plan for how to reduce these as much as possible. You may have heard of this referred to as measure, reduce, remove.
On this page, we will introduce you to everything you need to know in order to start this journey.

Quick access

Why we don’t calculate emissions for you

What type of calculation do you need?

How to calculate company emissions

What is the cost of calculating company emissions?

Our calculation partners

Why we don’t calculate emissions for you

What type of calculation do you need?

How to calculate company emissions

What is the cost of calculating company emissions?

Our calculation partners

Background

Why we don’t calculate emissions for you

A lot of companies out there are offering to both calculate your emissions and help you offset them. At Klimate, we are going about this differently. Essentially, there are two reasons for this:

01

We want to ensure trust and integrity

It seems logical to have one partner to take care of everything when it comes to going carbon neutral. However, there is a good reason why your accountant and auditor is not the same person.

Most companies that sell offsets, including ours, charge a commission for each credit. This means that the larger the emissions, the larger the commission. This creates a conflict of interest when making the calculation.

02

We believe everyone should do one thing and do it well

Sourcing and analysing the best carbon removal solutions is a big undertaking, and we want to focus all our efforts on this.

At the same time, calculating emissions is equally complex, and we see a growing number of companies specialising in industry-specific calculations like real estate, food, e-commerce, and even furniture!

We are under no illusion that we can be as good as them, therefore we choose to collaborate instead.

At the end of this page, you can find all of our expert calculation partners. But first, let’s dig into what you need to know before starting your own calculations or engaging with a partner.

Calculation basics

What type of calculation do you need?

In these times of regulatory uncertainty, it makes good business sense for your company to keep updated with the latest developments. Here we outline some of the main approaches for calculating your climate impact: carbon footprint analysis and life cycle assessment (LCA).

Carbon Footprint Analysis: Emissions of your entire company

Nothing in life is free, and similarly, everything has a carbon footprint. A carbon footprint analysis evaluates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by a product, a manufacturing plant or an entire company. A range of GHG emissions are assessed and then converted into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) to allow for comparisons.

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol provides the most widely used standard (the Corporate Value Chain Standard and the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard) for measuring and reporting emissions. These are divided into Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, ensuring a true and fair representation of your company’s climate impact. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also offers a standard (ISO 14064) to quantify, monitor, report, and verify your direct and indirect GHG emissions.

Scope 1

Scope 1 emissions relate to emissions that come directly from your company’s owned or controlled operations, e.g., fuel consumed in company vehicles. These are the emissions you have the most control over, and can quickly target to start your journey to net zero.

Scope 2

Scope 2 emissions represent indirect emissions from sources purchased or acquired for use in your company, e.g., electricity, heating, cooling. Hotspots caused by Scope 2 emissions are most efficiently targeted by switching to renewable energy sources.

Scope 3

Scope 3 emissions are the trickiest. They are all other indirect emissions occurring in the value chain of your company, both upstream and downstream, e.g., employee commuting, waste, business travel, investments, and the list goes on! There are two main methods for calculating Scope 3 emissions: spend-based and activity-based.

Carbon Footprint Analysis: Emissions of your entire company

Spend-based data is obtained by multiplying the financial value of a purchased good or service by an emission factor. Emission factors are derived from an industry average of emissions levels, and so spend-based data only represents a rough estimate of actual emissions.

A more precise by time, labor, and cost intensive approach is to use activity-based data. This involves collecting detailed data, both internally and externally from all suppliers, and multiplying that data by activity-specific emission factors. A more granular overview of supply chain emissions is provided from this approach which allows for targeted GHG reductions.

Life Cycle Analysis: Understanding a specific product or service

Alternatively, a LCA can be carried out on a specific product, process or service within a defined set of boundaries (cradle-to-gate, cradle-to-grave). Notably, it encompasses multiple environmental and economic impacts beyond just GHG emissions, such as:

- Natural resource depletion
- Ecosystem degradation
- Human health
- Social fairness
- Pollution
- Water quality

Obtaining and processing raw materials, manufacturing, dissemination, usage, maintenance, repairs, selling/reusing, and disposal can all be encompassed within this as well.

Cradle-to-Gate vs. Cradle-to-Grave vs. Cradle-to-Cradle

Cradle-to-gate refers to the environmental and economic impact of a product, process, or service from the point of raw material extraction through the manufacturing process, up until the point of use. Alternatively, the impacts of the entire process (from raw material extraction to disposal) can be accounted for in an LCA. This is often referred to as cradle-to-grave.

Some companies or organizations may opt for a cradle-to-gate approach if they have designed a product or service that is easily reusable. However, a lot of products and services amass most of their carbon footprint after purchase, which is when the cradle-to-grave approach will be most insightful.

Another more holistic school of thought is cradle-to-cradle. This design philosophy was inspired by nature, where the waste products of one process serve as the food for another process. In short, no materials are simply discarded at the end of their useful life, but they are reused indefinitely in other products of greater or equal value.

Performing calculation