Carbon footprints are nothing new - but many businesses are still unsure about the size of their impact on the environment. As part of our efforts to become a more sustainable business, we worked with ClimatePartner to calculate our own footprint!

Want to learn more? We asked ClimatePartner to share their work and processes with us to show the importance of calculating your own impact on our planet.

Who is ClimatePartner?

ClimatePartner is a leading solution provider for corporate climate action: we combine individual consulting with a cloud-based software that is unique on the market. We help our customers calculate and reduce carbon emissions and offset unabated emissions. This renders products and companies carbon neutral, confirmed by our label. We offer carbon offset projects in different regions and with different technologies and standards. The additional social benefits of the projects are particularly important to us.

Our efforts are geared towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of the United Nations. ClimatePartner was founded in Munich in 2006. Today, our more than 500+ employees are spread across offices in Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Essen, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Munich (HQ), Paris, Stockholm, The Hague, Vienna and Zurich. We work with more than 6.000 companies in 60+ countries.

What makes ClimatePartner different from other companies offering this service?

Our service has six unique features:

  • One Stop Solution: We support your organisation throughout its entire climate action journey including all services to become carbon neutral today and net zero tomorrow.
  • Scalable Technology: Our ClimatePartner Hub encompasses state of the art technology leveraging automation and efficiency to streamline your entire climate action journey.
  • Reduction Solutions: We support you with scalable reduction solutions to engage your whole supply chain, implement a global green energy strategy, and train your employees on sustainability.
  • Certified Carbon Impact Projects: We support your organisation with the selection or development of certified high-quality projects to offset your unabated emissions.
  • Transparent Label: We verify your company, product or service as carbon neutral with our label warranting full transparency and traceability of your climate initiatives with ID tracking technology.
  • Experts Worldwide: We have a global team of climate action experts who are pragmatic and action focused to ensure you have impactful results for your region quickly and efficiently.

What is a corporate carbon footprint?

A CCF is the carbon footprint of your company. Based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, corporate carbon footprint comprises emissions in Scopes 1 to 3 depending on whether they occur directly within the company (Scope 1), from purchased energy (Scope 2) or are indirect emissions from upstream and downstream processes such as raw materials, logistics and disposal (Scope 3).

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Why is it important to calculate a corporate carbon footprint?

A corporate carbon footprint is an important and useful insight for a company to understand its impact on the climate and its responsibility to act accordingly. The carbon footprint is an important tool for a company defining its climate action strategy. It enables a company to set feasible reduction targets, to monitor and to evaluate each year to see the progress the company makes in reducing its carbon footprint and achieving its target.

What is ClimatePartner’s process for calculating a corporate carbon footprint?

  1. Define the goal of the carbon footprint calculation
    The first step involves defining what the company aims to achieve by calculating the carbon footprint in order to factor in all relevant aspects. This can be for analysing the status quo, setting reduction targets, identifying room for improvement, monitoring and reporting and acting as a base for carbon neutrality.

  2. Define the system boundaries
    The system boundaries determine which activities and processes are taken into account in a carbon footprint calculation. The system boundaries for the carbon footprint of a company comprise the organisational and operational boundaries. They show which organisational unit(s) and activities are included in the carbon footprint.
  1. Collect consumption data and emission factors
    Carbon footprint calculations require data relating to energy and material consumption and emission factors for converting the consumption data into CO2 equivalents. ClimatePartner strives for the highest possible data quality when it collects data. We advise our partners to choose primary data over secondary data to achieve the highest possible standard of data quality.

    All data input options are aligned with the requirements and recommendations of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. With regards to emission factors, ClimatePartner only uses and accepts emission factors from recognised scientific sources in order to calculate a carbon footprint. For example, these sources include Ecoinvent, agribalyse, DEFRA, and GEMIS.

  2. Calculate the carbon footprint
    CO2 emissions are calculated on the basis of the collected consumption and activity data and the relevant emission factors. In most cases, the calculation is based on the following formula.

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  3. Document the results
    Transparently documenting underlying data, assumptions, methods and results is an important part of transparent communication with all stakeholders of the company. For more details in the process of calculating corporate carbon footprints, please refer to our ClimatePartner Protocol

What were the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenges for calculating the corporate carbon footprint for Beerwulf was the collection of data. Especially because Beerwulf sells unique products and services. However, thanks to Beerwulf’s cooperation with its suppliers, we managed to collect as many primary data as possible to ensure that the estimation is representative of Beerwulf’s operation.

What should the next steps be?

Once Beerwulf is already aware of its corporate carbon footprint, the next step is to revisit its climate action strategy, adapt and act accordingly.

For example, as a first step, Beerwulf should identify emission hotspots and room for improvement. Beerwulf can adapt its strategy to target these hotspots and other possible elements to reduce its corporate carbon footprint. The target can be based on Science Based Target initiatives (SBTi) or its own target in achieving net-zero emissions.

Whilst companies should always prioritize investments in reductions first, Beerwulf can already take responsibility today, by offsetting its current emissions with credible carbon offset projects. Setting reduction targets often involves long-term strategies, supply chain or stakeholder engagement, consumer behaviour change and systemic change -- none of which often can be implemented quickly, and few which are directly in a company’s direct influence.

Offsetting can sometimes be the only immediate and aggressive action companies can take today. Our ‘carbon budget’ is likely to be exhausted in less than 7 years, upon which the consequences of global warming may be irreversible. We need to act now and deploy financing across solutions today. By taking all relevant steps, Beerwulf is getting closer to its reduction target, for example, reducing emissions from transportation (Sustainability at Beerwulf) and can be part of the collective action in limiting global warming as stated in the Paris Agreement.