A number of conferences and workshops have been convened in the UK to discuss how organisations can determine the carbon footprint of their operations. Examples include those arranged by the Carbon Counting Group and London Business Conferences.
To date, many organisations have restricted such determinations to their Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect purchased power) emissions in line with definitions developed by the GHG Protocol Initiative. They have also been willing to purchase offsets in order to claim carbon neutrality. This approach is now recognised as simplistic and to determine true carbon footprints, organisations need to consider the full life cycle of the emissions associated with the products or services they supply. This includes Scope 3 (other indirect) emissions as illustrated below.
Setting the Boundaries for GHG Neutrality
Adapted from a presentation "The Rights and Wrongs of Carbon Accounting"
by Dr Tommy Wiedmann, CenSA, Carbon Accounting Conference, March 2009
See a previous blog for details of a methodology that can be used to determine life cycle emissions - PAS 2050: 2008. It is worth noting that many of the organisations interested in determining their carbon footprints are active in the service sector (both public and private). Industry and the engineering sector has still to demonstrate a greater involvement in this initiative.