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Why Should I Calculate My Carbon Footprint Every Year?

In this article, we’ll explain why you should aim to calculate your carbon footprint on an annual basis, the benefits of doing so for your business, and how you can get started calculating your carbon footprint today.

In recent years, companies are beginning to realise the importance of sustainability in business – such as by following upcoming trends, environmental regulations, and seeking information on how to calculate their company’s carbon footprint. 

Similar to many regulations and standardization's, striving towards your climate goals should be a continuous effort. In other words, calculating your carbon footprint shouldn’t be a one and done event – but something that your company commits to doing every single year.

Many businesses may view it as a burden to calculate their carbon footprint every year, thinking, “If I calculate my carbon footprint, how is it really going to help my business?”

In this article, we’ll explain why you should aim to calculate your carbon footprint on an annual basis, the benefits of doing so for your business, and how you can get started calculating your carbon footprint today.

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What is a carbon footprint and how is it calculated?

A carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are created by an individual or company. accounts for GHGs (greenhouse gasses) emitted by human activity. Typically, a carbon footprint is expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) and serves as a quantitative measure for companies to understand how they are currently impacting the environment. 

👉 A company’s carbon footprint is often measured through the help of a third-party carbon accounting company like Greenly, which seek to use carbon accounting – or various methods to calculate the carbon emissions created by a company. 

If your company decides to calculate their carbon footprint, it will often be done using one of two main methods: the spend based method or the activity based method. 

The spend based method is a more general calculation, as it works by multiplying the economic value of a product or service purchased by the estimated amount of carbon emissions. The activity based method, on the other hand, is more specific and time consuming – as it makes use of data to determine how many units of a component a company has purchased. Ultimately, the spend based method is faster – but the activity based method is more exact and reliable.

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Why is it important to calculate my carbon footprint on an annual basis? 

More and more companies are beginning to commit to calculating their carbon footprint, but the problem is – not enough companies are recognizing the importance of calculating their carbon footprint on a consistent basis.

Think about it like this: if I decide I want to train for a marathon – I have to start timing my miles to ensure I am making steady progress to eventually meet my goal to run a marathon. If I decide to stop tracking my progress a few weeks later, I will stop being aware if I need to improve my mile time. The same goes for if I were to stop calculating my carbon footprint. I would eventually be in the dark on the areas I need to improve on, but if I continuously calculate my carbon footprint year after year – I will acquire more knowledge on the areas my company and I need to improve on.

Here are a few other reasons why it’s important to calculate your carbon footprint on an annual basis:

  • Promotes Environmental Awareness: If you decide, “yes” to calculating your carbon footprint every year, it can help not only the employees within your own company become more aware of their environmental impact – but it can encourage customers, investors, and stakeholders to take a second look at their habits, too. 
  • Monitor Your Progress: It’s hard to accomplish a goal if you don’t know how far you’ve come. Calculating your carbon footprint every year can allow your company to recognise their current achievements and to set more ambitious emission reduction and sustainability goals for the future. 
  • Transparency: Ever tried to find information on a company’s current efforts to protect the environment, only to find a probably irrelevant, outdated document? Committing to calculating your carbon footprint on an annual basis can help show future customers and investors just how determined your company is to play a part in the fight against climate change, create happier employees, and make your search for future employees easier.
  • Spread the Word: Calculating your carbon footprint isn’t only a tool for your company, but can become an enlightening part of your personal life. Next time you're sitting at the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table, start a conversation – “I decided to calculate my carbon footprint for my company, but now – I realise how I can make small changes in my day-to-day life, too.” You might be surprised how great of a conversation starter this could be!
  • Help the Planet: Calculating your carbon footprint every year is a lot like renewing your wedding vows – it’ll help to reestablish your company’s commitment to reducing emissions and demonstrate your efforts to build a brighter future for the planet.
  • Ability to Advocate for Environmental Policy: Seeking to calculate and understand either your own or your company’s carbon footprint and learning more about the impact of our day-to-day activities can help to educate yourself on the importance of current and upcoming environmental legislation. This can help to spread the word on the importance of sustainability and putting your best foot forward to go green. 
  • Save Money: Inflation has made everyone more cognizant of their spending, and the good news is that calculating and subsequently reducing your carbon footprint can help you cut back on your bills. This is because seeking to implement more sustainable practices can result in less consumption and making use of energy efficient appliances – both of which could lead to lower utility bills and more cash burning a hole in your pocket. 
  • Improve Your Health: Odds are if you’re trying to go green, one of the many things you may take up will be walking or biking to get to where you need to go. All that extra exercise isn’t just good for the planet – but for your own personal health and well-being. 
  • Long-Term Business Standing: A business that is more resilient against the effects of climate change is a business that is bound to stand the test of time. Calculating your carbon footprint each year means continuous improvement. Working to implement more energy efficient and sustainable measures could help your business to bounce back quicker in the event of a natural disaster, accusation of greenwashing, or other financial crisis. 

👉 Ultimately, there are numerous benefits for those who opt to calculate their carbon footprint every year – and those advantages are most effective when an individual or company gets consistent updates to monitor their progress and make continuous adjustments according to their current carbon footprint.

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What happens if I don’t decide to calculate my carbon footprint every year?

Just as there are advantages for those who decide to calculate their carbon footprint, there are potential consequences for those who decide to not calculate their carbon footprint.

Here just a few reasons why it isn’t a good idea to skip calculating your carbon footprint after more than a year:

  • Not Playing Your Part: Choosing to not calculate your carbon footprint on an annual basis means choosing to be unaware of your current environmental impact, and can lead to a loss of customers, investors, and even government support later on. Evidently, your company will continue to emit a mass amount of emissions on an annual basis – meaning choosing to not calculate your carbon footprint is a lost opportunity to fight against climate change.
  • Lack of Accountability & Transparency: Measuring your carbon footprint is becoming an essential part for any business, seeing as customers, investors, and even government bodies are beginning to place awareness on a company’s commitment to the environment. Therefore, choosing to not calculate your carbon footprint can demonstrate to the rest of the world that your business is unwilling to accommodate itself to the current environmental circumstances – and ultimately, push away potential income. 
  • Potential Fines: Environmental legislation is becoming the new norm, meaning your business could be subject to potential fines for failure to comply with the current regulations. Calculating your carbon footprint every year can help to mitigate this from happening. Also, it’s smart to keep up-to-date with all of the climate legislation to come – click here to use our regulation checker.
  • Missed Financial Benefits: Similar to how Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has incentivised Americans to pick the most energy efficient option in exchange for a tax refund – businesses could miss out on potential savings if they don’t measure or reduce their carbon footprint. Calculating your carbon footprint every year can keep you up-to-date and ensure you qualify for all the potential benefits.
Choosing to not calculate your carbon footprint on an annual basis could result in your business missing out on exclusive opportunities. The near sure-fire benefits of calculating your carbon footprint are likely to outweigh the subsequent consequences for companies who opt to skip calculating their carbon footprint.
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How can I get started with calculating my carbon footprint?

It may seem overwhelming when you make the choice to, “calculate my carbon footprint” – but when you break it down, it’s more intuitive and incremental than you might think.

First off, it’s important to determine the kind of carbon footprint you plan on calculating – are you going to calculate your own carbon footprint or a large company’s carbon footprint? This can help you determine if using something as simple as a carbon footprint calculator is right for you, or if you’re better off recruiting the help of a third-party carbon accounting company like Greenly.

After this, it’s essential to gather the relevant information and data – whether you choose to do this step on your own or with the help of a company like Greenly. This will often include a questionnaire on your individual or collective lifestyle choices – such as your daily energy consumption, method of transportation, food consumption, use of central air or heating, and travel.

Once the data has been collected, your carbon footprint calculator or your chosen carbon accounting company will estimate your carbon footprint in carbon dioxide equivalents. This data can help you to develop appropriate reduction goals and make relevant adjustments to help reduce your carbon footprint. This can be done alone, but is evidently more effective when you seek the personalised expertise of a carbon accounting company.

From here on out, it is important to monitor and adjust your goals accordingly to ensure continuous progress. Remaining educated about sustainability and advocating for everyone to make the same positive changes are all an essential part of the fight against climate change.

Ultimately, making the choice to calculate your carbon footprint is always a good idea to ensure your company works towards building greater sustainability, transparency, and environmental awareness – but it’s an even better decision to calculate your carbon footprint every year to ensure utmost accuracy and continuous progress. 

Still wondering, “Should I calculate my carbon footprint?” – or have you made up your mind? If so, Greenly can help you get started today – with our personalised plans and experts waiting for you.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about why your company should calculate its carbon footprint every year has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Trying to figure out how to calculate your carbon footprint all alone is a daunting task, but don’t worry –  Greenly’s got you covered. Click here to book a demo and learn more about how we can help you to measure and reduce your various scope emissions. 

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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