What is carbon accounting?

The process of measuring the amount of greenhouse gas that is emitted by an entity – whether it be a country, corporation or individual – is referred to as carbon accounting. The practice of carbon accounting involves translating greenhouse gas emission into an internationally recognized measurement of CO2 equivalents.

Carbon accounting allows for consistency, comparability, and transparency when measuring the impact of emissions across a variety of sources.  Like all accounting methods, it will not be perfect but the aim is to be as complete and accurate as possible.

A carbon footprint is the measure of greenhouse gas emissions for a company, activity or product

A carbon footprint measures the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all the activities across an organisation or for a specific product or service. There are two main types of carbon footprint:

  • Organisational carbon footprint - An organisational carbon footprint measures GHG emissions from all activities across a company. This includes energy used in buildings and industrial processes, company owned vehicles and may measure indirect emissions associated with activities outside an organisation’s own operations - the value chain. Value chain analysis looks at every step a business goes through, from raw materials to the eventual end-user.
  • Product/service carbon footprint - A product carbon footprint measures the GHG emissions over the life of a product or service. This involves calculating emissions from the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing, through to emissions associated with the use and disposal of a particular product.

Carbon footprints enable you to identify and quantify your key emissions sources. This helps pinpoint the opportunities to reduce carbon emissions within your organisation, allowing you to monitor and manage carbon emissions by setting emissions reduction targets and measuring your progress.