February 28, 2023

Carbon Accounting 101: From Zero to Net-Zero-Hero

Claudia Larsen
Head Of Customer Experience
Before you begin

What’s Carbon Accounting?

Carbon accounting is the process of calculating the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with a company's operations. These emissions include carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases that contribute to rising temperatures and climate change. By quantifying these emissions, businesses can identify opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint and develop strategies for mitigating the environmental impact of their operations.

Carbon accounting helps identify areas where companies can reduce their environmental impact, save money, and improve their reputation. By setting CO2 reduction targets and taking action towards carbon reduction, businesses can do good for the planet while demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and appeal to environmentally conscious customers - doing good for their profit.

When starting with carbon accounting, there are several key terms to know:

  • Scope 1 emissions: Direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company, such as fuel burned in boilers or company-owned vehicles.
  • Scope 2 emissions: Indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heating, or cooling.
  • Scope 3 emissions: Indirect emissions from activities that are not owned or controlled by the company, such as emissions from the production of purchased goods or transportation of employees.
  • Carbon footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by a company, usually measured in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
  • GHG Protocol: A widely recognised standard for carbon accounting developed by the World ResourcesInstitute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Source: Visual Capitalist (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/)

  • Related content: See more need-to-know terms within the sustainability landscape in our glossary.
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Getting started

Starting your journey from Zero (scratch)

As more businesses recognise the importance of sustainability, carbon accounting is becoming an essential part of managing operations. Companies have an important role to play in reducing their environmental impact, and carbon accounting is a key tool for achieving this goal.

When you’re ready embark on a journey to have a positive impact on the environment, the following is an outline of the steps to become a net zerohero and achieve sustainability success.

Step 1: Data Collection

The first step to becoming a net zero hero is to get to know yourself, or in thiscase, your company. You need to understand your current situation and gather data about your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is essential to establish your baseline and create a roadmap for your net zero journey.

Step 2: Set science-based targets

One of the most effective ways for companies to set emission reduction targets is to adopt science-based targets.These are targets that are aligned with the level of emissions reductions necessary to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The Science Based Targets initiative provides guidance on how to set targets that are consistent with the latest climate science.

Step 3: Identification of opportunities

Once you have your baseline and your emission reduction target, it’s time to identify areas where you can make improvements and reduce your GHG emissions. You should develop a roadmap for your strategy to archive the targets. This involves identifying the specifications that need to be taken to reduce emissions, as well as the timeline for implementing these actions. The roadmap should also include metrics for tracking progress and identifying any areas where additional action may beneeded. This step is crucial as it will help you find the low-hanging fruit – opportunities that are easy to implement and have a big impact on your emissions, and helps prepare you to stay on track with your target.

From Zero to Net-Zero-Hero

Once you understand your current situations, it’s time to not only show commitment, but most importantly to take action and create impact!

Step 4: Footprint reduction

The next step is to reduce your GHG emissions by implementing the opportunities identified in Step 2. This could include energy efficiency measures, renewable energy sourcing, and carbon removals.

Step 5: Engage with suppliers and partners

Engaging with your suppliers and partner to reduce emissions in throughout your supply chain.This can involve working with suppliers to identify ways to reduce emissions in the production and transportation of goods and services, as well as encouraging the use of low-carbon materials and technologies.

Step 6: Economic gain - the icing on the cake!

Developing carbon reduction strategies and setting emission reduction targets is essential for companies to meet stakeholder requirements and to support the global efforts towards. But now you're there, it’s time to reap the rewards of your hard work. By reducing your GHG emissions, you can save money on energy costs, improve your reputation, and enhance your brand image. Not to mention, you’ll also be making a positive impact on the planet!

In conclusion, by following these steps of understanding your carbon footprint, setting science-based targets, developing a roadmap for emissions reduction, taking actions and engaging with suppliers and partners, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and play a role in mitigating the impact of climate change.

You can become a net zero hero and make a lasting impact on the world. Get started today and join the net zero movement!