Cutting your carbon emissions

Calculate and communicate your organisational carbon footprint


Calculating a basic carbon footprint that includes the main emission sources is straightforward.

How to calculate your organisational carbon footprint

There are five key steps to follow to calculate your organisational footprint. These are:

  1. Decide on the method to follow - a consistent method will help to ensure an accurate result.
  2. Define the organisational and operational boundaries - the operational boundary determines which emission sources you will quantify, so it's important to be realistic when choosing it.
  3. Collate the data - you'll need to collate consumption data for all the emission sources within your chosen boundary.
  4. Apply emissions factors - you'll find the latest emissions factors on the DEFRA website.
  5. Verify the results - this is optional, but it adds credibility to your calculation.

If you have taken action to reduce your carbon footprint you may want to verify this. This is optional, but independent certification will add credibility to your reduction claims.

Communicate your carbon footprint internally and externally

Communicating your carbon footprint externally demonstrates that you are concerned about the impact that your business has on the environment. This is important to customers, investors and trading partners and can give your business a competitive edge.

You might want to have your footprint verified by a third party if you're going to publish it externally. This gives stakeholders confidence in your data. You'll need to provide full details of the steps you followed to calculate your footprint and be open about the impact any business changes might have had.

Telling your employees about the business's carbon footprint helps to involve them in carbon reduction and management. It also encourages them to make further savings if you explain the difference their energy-saving efforts make.

If you make year-on-year reductions in your footprint you can certify your reductions on the Carbon Trust Standard website.