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ISSUES Arrow link to issues intro

Each 'Issue' leads to further information, learning and links.

Global Warming

Climate Change

Finite Fossil Fuels

Alternative Energy



Carbon Ownershsip

CO2 Contamination

CO2 Contamination

Carbon Culture

link to countenders

How do we count carbon?

The overall approach we develop here in the Carbon Counter Toolkit (top nav) is based on DEFRA  Guidelines for Company Reporting on Greenhouse Gas Emissions plus Annexes. These help businesses to follow the steps:

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Measure and Aggregate
"convert electricity and gas or other fuels used into their equivalents in carbon dioxide, and convert transport fuel usage or distances travelled into carbon dioxide equivalents".
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Set Targets
"establish the environmental impact of your activities, look at benchmarks and check the scope for improvements"
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Achieve Savings
"better management can cut energy and transport costs and reduce environmental risks. Markets for emissions trading will allow businesses to benefit directly from their carbon dioxide savings"
Translating fuel into carbon dioxide is relatively straightfoward, if a bit mathematical. The trickier counting job is deciding what to include.
individual counters available tend to count those aspects of your life where you have a certain individual degree of control - eg transport and home heating.
They do not include the apparatus of civil government and private entreprise that we take for granted and have little control over - eg policing, food production, manufacturing, waste disposal & services.
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Report According to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
"publish information on GHG plans to stakeholders that yours is a well-run, environmentally responsible business."
Indirect impacts. The hardest is how to consider not only "direct impacts" - those directly coming in or going out of your organisation, but also "indirect effects". When you flick a switch, you have to track back to the origins - the carbon dioxide coming out of the power station. Setting boundaries. This can be tricky-Where do you draw the line of a carbon footprint?
Most definitions talk only about carbon dioxide emissions to draw up the footprint. Yet a more 'ecological' footprint would take into account the carbon consumed too.
Double counting. How many times do you count the lorry going up the motorway with a load of both transport and food production? How far down the supply chain do you count your organisation's footprint? And the journey to work - who should factor that in?

Counting is not easy. We have looked at international guidelines from World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and have developed our Toolkit to put in people's hands to help achieve the requirments of this Protocol.. See how our Toolkit fits the Protocol

Work out who does

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Produced by Environmental Practice at Work Publishing Company Ltd. Copyright 2007