Calculate your organisation’s carbon footprint

The carbon footprint of your organisation is a measure of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the activities of your organisation. 

A detailed guide to carbon footprinting can be downloaded from the Carbon Trust. 

For a simple approach, include emissions from gas, oil or other fuel used in buildings, vehicles or other equipment owned or under your control, (known as Scope 1); and emissions from the production of electricity purchased by your organisation, (known as Scope 2), and don’t include emissions from the production of goods and services you purchase, for example those not under your direct control (known as Scope 3). 

There are 6 greenhouse gases, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is easily the most significant, (accounting for 81% of the impact from greenhouse gases in the UK) and so greenhouse gas emissions are measured in kg or tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). 

These can be calculated using meter readings for gas and electricity and records of fuel consumed and business mileage, multiplied by conversion factors.  Conversion factors are updated annually by the government to reflect changes such as the lowering carbon intensity of electricity resulting from switching from coal fired power stations to renewable energy. 

Example

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Activity

Activity data (A)

Activity data units

Carbon conversion factors* (B)

Carbon footprint in kg CO2e

(A x B)

Electricity

2,900

kWh

  0.2556 

741

Gas

12,565

kWh

  0.18385

2,310

Business travel (assuming medium sized conventional car)

562

miles

  0.27459

 

154

Total

-

-

-

3,205 kg CO2e

=3.205 tonnes CO2e

* Source: Gov.uk

 

For comparison, the estimated per person carbon footprint for the South Cambridgeshire district (2019) is 7,800 kg CO2e, (7.8 tonnes).

Calculating your carbon footprint will help you see where you can make the most difference to the emissions your organisation is responsible for.  Calculate and report your carbon footprint annually to show the improvements you are making.

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