How to do your own Carbon Audit

2021-03-03T18:45:07+00:00

Tools for Carbon Auditing

Over the course of a few months, we have been calculating our carbon footprint. It was hard to find a tool that fitted Semble, and in the end used a variety of tools. If you want to do your own carbon audit for yourself or your organisation, we hope these tools might help you out! We want to make it easy to do your bit. 

There’s many areas to consider when looking at measuring your carbon footprint, which will vary depending on your organisation. Here’s a collection of tools that we found useful in measuring the impact of our technology use, in and out of the office. 

A great place to start is with B Corps How to get to Net Zero: A Simple Guide for SMEs and with Everything you need to know about… Calculating your carbon footprint by Mail Chimp.

Digital

One aspect that really surprised us was the carbon cost of websites! Try putting a webpage into this carbon calculator, and see just how sustainable it is. If this got you thinking too, think about green web hosting, and have read of the Sustainable Webpage Manifesto – pledge to be better! If you use Google, you can read about their renewable energy use here. For information on social media’s carbon impact we found this blog from Credit Angel and this report from Core Econ of interest.

We calculated the energy it takes to run our laptops with help from this blog by Smarter Business. However, this energy use is included in the figure for energy consumption so does not contribute to our total calculated carbon footprint. We have left it in the report as we believe it is useful information to have and gives us greater understanding of what makes up our total carbon footprint.

For more reading on digital carbon impact, see these blogs:

Blog on sustainable web design.

Blog on carbon footprint from internet use.

Infographic on carbon footprint from internet use.

Consumables

We wanted to investigate our use of paper and other consumables to see what improvements we could make. We found information from  Conservatree and Good Energy very helpful with this. 

This blog from Stop Waste (‘Recycling and Climate Protection’) has some useful information on reducing waste at work, as does this report from WRAP.

Offices

When thinking about our office energy and water usage, we directly contacted our office space hosts to get an idea of the numbers involved. 

We measured our consumption by adjusting the total consumption of the office buildings to reflect the amount of space used by Semble. We found this resource from the Carbon Trust (Energy and carbon conversions) very helpful.

Finances

When doing your audit, it will be helpful to think about finances. Try researching the sustainability of your bank – check out their carbon footprint statements, pledges and responsibilities. For example, this guide ranks banks based on their ethics. See where yours comes, and consider the changes you could make!

The following articles give great insight into banking and pensions:

Article ‘Why your current account is funding environmental destruction’.

Article ‘Reduce your environmental impact by switching accounts’.

Article ‘The eco guide to pensions’.

Blog ‘How does my pension affect the environment?’.

Setting Science Based Targets

Once you have calculated your carbon footprint, the next step is to set targets to reduce its size. We found the Science Based Targets website incredibly helpful for this, particularly this paper.

Some more useful reading on Carbon Audits

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact

Eco Act: How to calculate a carbon footprint for your business 

Mail Chimp: Everything you need to know about… Calculating your carbon footprint 

Carbon Trust: Carbon footprinting guide 

DEFRA: Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions 

Carbon Footprint: Carbon Offsetting 

About the Author:

Keir is a project officer based in Semble's Bristol office. Most of his time is spent on two of our movement campaigns, Outdoor Classroom Day and Backyard Nature. One of Keir’s main interests is food equality and outside of Semble he runs a small community food waste project.