Properly understanding your emissions and environmental impact is a first crucial step to reducing them. An audit is a review process of identifying the environmental impact of your organisational operations. The results will give you a benchmark to not only compare yourself with others but also help you identify those areas of your operations that are most carbon intensive. This information can then be used to draw up a decarbonisation plan. Numerical results of an audit can also be shared with stakeholders, staff or members and you can engage them more easily in the process of planning your next steps. A complete audit should not only include greenhouse gas emissions, but also other environmental impacts like pollution, waste or water.
Getting your head around your organisation’s carbon emissions might be a challenge at first, but there are standard principles that you can follow. Smaller businesses and organisations that don’t want to pay for help with this, can follow the available guidance and use free online tools to calculate their carbon emissions themselves.
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) identifies the following steps organisations should take to calculate their carbon footprint:
- Identify which parts of your business you need to include
- Identify which activities in your business release greenhouse gas emissions
- Collect data
- Convert the data
- Identify ways to reduce your emissions
- Continue to monitor your emissions
- Report your emissions
UK Government guidance:
DEFRA – SMALL BUSINESS USER GUIDE: Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions
They also provide more details and examples for creating your report here: “Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions”
DEFRA Conversion factors help convert your data into carbon emissions.
Calculators and accredited methods to help you calculate your emissions
The Carbon Trust SME Carbon Footprint Calculator
Greenhouse Gas Protocol Emissions Calculator
Carbon Footprint – Business Calculator
Carbon Trust – Scope 3 emissions
Understand your Scope 3 emissions with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol evaluator
Carbon 360 Carbon calculator for churches, charities and small businesses
Links & Relevant Documents