Business activities have a wide range of impacts on the environment. Over the last decade, the climate impact of a company’s activities, products and services, or carbon footprints, has become a key issue, but the impact on biodiversity is also part of the debate. There are several different methods for calculating climate impacts.
The carbon footprint measures the climate impact of a company’s activities, products or services. It helps to focus attention on the relevant issues and target actions. The carbon footprint shows how much global warming emissions are generated during the life cycle of a product or service. The calculation converts all climate emissions into the amount of carbon dioxide corresponding to their greenhouse gas impact and expresses the result in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq). This is a commonly used measure of total greenhouse gas emissions. The calculation provides information on how much and in which activities a company emits. There are calculators and standards for calculating the carbon footprint. The most commonly used in Finland are the GHG protocol and the ISO standard.
ISO 14001 defines the principles, requirements and guidelines for calculating the carbon footprint. The calculation takes into account the entire life cycle of the product. The standard is based on two life cycle accounting standards (SFS-EN ISO 14040 and SFS-EN ISO 14044). When performed and verified using the ISO standards, climate impact calculations are credible, consistent and transparent. The calculation does not take into account the social or economic impacts of the product.
With the GHG Protocol, the carbon footprint calculation can be performed at three different levels or scopes: Scope 1: Only direct, self-generated emissions from the company are included in the calculation. Scope 2: The calculation also includes indirect emissions, such as emissions related to the production of purchased energy. Scope 3: The calculation also includes indirect emissions such as commuting by employees and logistics services used by the company.
Companies should make a long-term emission reduction plan and monitor its implementation. Companies that have committed to a science-based emission reduction plan have reported improved profitability, investor confidence, innovation and branding, and reduced regulatory uncertainty.
The Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry have published a guide to clarify the rules of the carbon market between different actors and reduce misleading marketing, or greenwashing. The guide emphasises the clarity, unambiguity and verifiability of climate claims.
Paikallisvoima ry, an advocacy organisation for district heat producers, has developed an emissions calculator for energy production that companies can link to their websites. The calculator includes the main emissions from your own production, calculated according to the commonly used GHG protocol. The calculator is already used by many energy producing installations in Finland. The calculator provides comparable and informative data on emissions from energy production in Finland.
A circular economy measurement tool developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation helps companies make the transition to a circular economy. The tool helps companies to identify the nature of their own operations in relation to the circular economy and to identify the business potential of a circular economy transition. The tool produces a calculated value that describes the level of circularity of the company. Circulytics, which requires registration, is suitable for both materials and service companies.
The carbon handprint describes the positive climate impact on the user of a product or service. The carbon handprint does not indicate the amount of emissions, but how much emissions can be saved compared to a baseline. The customer can choose a product or service based on its declared carbon handprint. To calculate the carbon handprint, the baseline against which the product or service is compared must be transparently defined and a carbon footprint calculation and/or life cycle assessment must be carried out. For example, the carbon handprint can be expressed in terms of emissions saved by choosing a product made from recycled materials compared to one made from virgin materials.
The Circular Transition Indicators tool (CTI) can be used to assess the implementation of the circular economy at the level of a company, a specific business or a product group. Activities are examined in terms of processes or materials. The tool helps a company to understand its material consumption and to identify the circular economy potential of materials. The tool focuses on material flows and does not support a company's wider climate or sustainability work.
Carbon footprint calculator maintained by the Finnish Environment Institute. To use the tool, data on the energy consumption of the company for the whole year must be collected. The calculation is based on a standardised GHG emissions calculation according to the GHG Protocol. Y-HIILARI is mechanically simple and can be used without external assistance. The format of the tool is an Excel spreadsheet into which the user enters his company's data.
Climpactor is a climate and social impact assessment tool developed by the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries. The tool is not suitable for sustainability reporting as such, but it can be used to assess not only the carbon footprint, but also a range of different handprint impacts, such as carbon handprint, circular economy, employment, well-being and equality, health and safety, knowledge and innovation.