Home Entrepreneurship How can companies measure and reduce their carbon footprint?

How can companies measure and reduce their carbon footprint?

by Sorbaioli
How can companies measure and reduce their carbon footprint?

In recent years we have all noticed that global warming is only going to increase. These last weeks of spring 2022 only support this fact by noticing or undergoing these repeated floods, these hailstones like tennis balls which destroy everything where they fall, not to mention a scorching month of May which has hottest summer since national and global temperatures have been recorded.

Of course everyone at his level bears a responsibility for this global warming. However, it is clear that small, medium and especially large companies have a greater impact on climate change.

In addition, to speak only of France, the number of business creations has increased sharply over the past two years: in 2021, 17.4% more were created than in 2020 with approximately 1 million creations!

Even if these companies are not all the same size – far from it – following the Paris climate agreement at the end of 2015, the government has put in place measures for companies to act on their carbon footprint.

We will see successively:

  • The carbon footprint of companies on the climate: definition, action
  • How companies can act on their carbon footprint and their obligations
  • Adapting marketing to act on the carbon footprint


The carbon footprint of companies and its effects on the climate

The carbon footprint is defined by the quantity of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by a country, a company, an activity, a household, etc. In Europe we can say that the carbon footprint comes from:

  • direct GHG emissions from households (cars, heating, etc.)
  • GHG emissions from the domestic production of goods and services for domestic demand
  • GHG emissions associated with imported goods and services, for intermediate consumption by companies or for final use by households.


The carbon footprint of companies

According to an OXFAM report from September 2021, the calculation of the overall carbon footprint of the largest French companies amounts to 4.1 tonnes of CO2eq3 each time they achieve 1,000 euros in turnover, i.e. approximately nearly twice what a French person should emit per year.

Still according to OXFAM, out of 35 companies analyzed, only three – EDF, Schneider Electric and Legrand – have a carbon footprint and commitments likely to keep them on a trajectory compatible with warming below +2°C. All other companies have larger carbon footprints.

If companies do not reduce their greenhouse gas emissions more quickly, global warming of more than 3°C is predicted by 2100. While the Paris climate agreement planned not to increase the temperature temperature above 1.5°C !

The following infographic targets the CO2 emission sectors in France: it is therefore necessary to act on these 5 sectors at all levels of CO2 emissions; for this, we will see that companies must lead by example.


Government action to reduce CO2 emissions

Government action is essential to act on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

As early as 2015, the government promulgated an energy transition law for green growth, thus requiring many categories of companies to carry out a carbon assessment which must be included in their annual management report, proving that they are reducing their carbon footprint.


The company’s carbon footprint must be declared

In mainland France, companies with more than 500 employees and overseas with more than 250 employees are required to report their GHG emissions (BEGES). In addition, this carbon balance must be renewed every 4 years.

The BEGES must be published on the dedicated ADEME website with the actions taken after the previous assessment as well as their new targeted action plan to reduce their carbon footprint. The transmitted data is used for statistical studies.

The administrative authority can sanction companies with a fine of up to €10,000 or €20,000 in the event of a repeat offence.

The law is changing to impose more complete balance sheets on large companies. In addition, in 2021, it made a simplified balance sheet mandatory for companies with more than 50 employees who receive assistance from the recovery plan. Soon it will be the turn of SMEs and VSEs.

ADEME represents the agency engaged by the government to fight against global warming. It collects the results but also mobilizes, provides financial aid, advice, solutions, etc. in all regions of France and overseas departments.


Establishing the company’s carbon footprint: an essential step in reducing the environmental impact

What is the carbon footprint?

To reduce your carbon footprint, do you first need to know it exactly!

It is only when the company has established its own carbon footprint that it can act by targeting the items that will reduce its CO2 emissions.

To get an overall figure for the number of tons it emits, the company must calculate how much each position emits GHGs.

In the example taken from the image below, GHG percentages have been calculated for 10 workstations. We can also see from the summary that the average individual footprint of each employee is 33 tonnes of CO2 emitted in one year.

How to calculate your carbon footprint?

The CO2 emissions that the company emits (this is its carbon footprint), are calculated using the following formula:

CO2 emissions = amount used x emission factor.

But still ? Since 2004, the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) has published a method for calculating the carbon footprint. This method takes into account all GHG emissions, direct or indirect.

The calculation of the carbon footprint includes everything that is organizational (site, facilities, skills, etc.) and operational: for this, GHG emissions are divided into 3 categories (scopes):

  • scope 1: direct emissions such as heating in the premises, emissions from vehicles owned by the company, etc.
  • scope 2: indirect emissions linked to the energy used by the company
  • scope 3: all other indirect emissions of the company

To reliably establish this carbon footprint, the company most often contacts agencies specializing in this calculation, such as Greenly. These are service providers trained in the carbon footprint method who use innovative technologies that are less costly in time and money.

It is then very simple: the company connects its account to the Greenly interface and the platform automatically analyzes the CO2 emissions produced by the company.


What is the carbon footprint used for?

The Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) indicates that carrying out its GHG assessment allows:

  • To structure its environmental policy
  • Identify actions to reduce its energy bill and its overall impact
  • Assess their vulnerability
  • To stand out by being an example
  • Comply with regulations (if you are subject to them)
  • To involve its employees or partners through this exercise

Thus, to take the example of the Greenly agency, not only do its service providers assess the company’s carbon footprint by calculating all CO2 emissions, but also implement targeted actions to reduce this footprint. Indeed, it makes all this information available to the company with the possibility of advising it on the actions to be taken to limit GHG emissions.

How the carbon footprint has favored the development of “green marketing”

Where does “green marketing” come from?

We all know that more and more consumers are aware, according to their values, to consume better. We then understand that they appreciate companies that go in this direction and make efforts to ensure that the carbon footprint of their operations has a less negative impact on the climate.

Consequence: Entrepreneurs today must all integrate the climate impact into their development model.

  • It has also been noted that 65% of younger generations prefer brands that are committed to the environment.
  • Similarly, 51% of employees today do not want to work in a company with no social and/or environmental commitment.
  • And 7 out of 10 young people who will be the employees of tomorrow say that they will preferably join a company that is committed to the planet.

Hence the birth of Green Marketing: it is the modern marketing of today and tomorrow. It‘s green marketing that uses green positioning to sell more natural products that match the company’s environmental promise.


What are the differences between conventional marketing and green marketing?

Green marketing has certain characteristics that tend to clearly reduce the company’s carbon footprint:

  • Make employees happy who, by getting more involved in their work, will achieve their goals and make the company more efficient.
  • Market a product by highlighting its benefits for the environment
  • Support your brand with certificates attesting to the attention paid to reducing GHG
  • Do not throw away or destroy unsold items but recycle them
  • Do not use plastic wrap
  • Reducing its packaging reduces the bulk for transport: the example of Apple, which has seriously reduced its carbon footprint by reducing the packaging of the iphone 12 by 50% (with 93% of the packaging made from original fibers plant-based in order to use less plastic, 100% of the paper pulp (fibres) from recycling or responsible sources and 72% of the packaging made from fibers made from recycled materials).

The table below offers a brief visual summary by giving the main points of comparison between conventional marketing and green marketing.

Consumers Social marketing for consumer lifestyle Essential marketing to respect human life
Products Created for a short time Created to be recycled / reused
Marketing & Communications Push Marketing oriented to the benefit of the company Educational marketing communicating on values
Company Reactive
Works in split departments
Short-term oriented
Maximizes profits
Takes everything into account, as a whole
Long-term oriented
Seeks positive social impact


This short video takes up the approach which, based on the carbon footprint, makes it possible to reduce the carbon footprint of your company.

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