Written by Peter-Jan Roose
As part of BrightWolves’ sustainability offering, we developed an environmental footprint assessment to support companies in their sustainable business transformation. The assessment tool measures a company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is based on well-known international standards and methodologies to make it widely usable and recognized.
Paris agreement as a global enforcement to counter climate change
In 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen global responsibility to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (above pre-industrial levels) and even to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the Agreement also pursues to increase the ability of dealing with the impact of climate change
Concretely, all Parties must put their intentions forward in nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Following this, they need to report regularly on their emissions and implementation efforts. Every 5 years, a global overview will be created to assess the collective progress and needed actions. The European Union has created an NDC for all its member states which encompasses ambitious targets for the period 2021 to 2030:
At BrightWolves, we believe we have a social responsibility as well as the capabilities to help drive this change and support companies in their sustainable business transformation. Therefore, BrightWolves developed a framework and tool to assess a company’s environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gases (GHG), focused on carbon emissions, in order to build a structured approach to strive towards carbon neutrality or even positivity.
Three scopes to evaluate environmental impact of company related activities
Guidelines for assessing and categorizing a company’s carbon emissions are widely described in norms and standards such as ISO 14000, PAS 2050, Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Bilan Carbone. One aspect that most of these methodologies have in common is the categorization of GHG in three scopes:
• Scope I – Direct GHG emissions: All direct GHG emissions on site or by vehicles owned by organization. This includes fuel consumption for heating, machinery, mobility, etc.
• Scope II – Electricity-related indirect GHG emissions: All indirect GHG emissions as a result of direct consumption of purchased electricity on site
• Scope III – Up & downstream GHG emissions: All other indirect emissions, related to the organization’s activities (upstream and downstream), including production of purchased products, commuting, transportation of goods, buildings, etc.
BrightWolves’ assessment tool provides a detailed analysis of the yearly carbon emissions per scope, resulting in the total yearly carbon emission of the company. This can then serve as the baseline for improvement initiatives. A more detailed analysis per scope permits to identify the largest emitting activities and as such prioritize improvement focus areas.
BrightWolves' own example
To show what the results of such an assessment would look like – and to also practice what we preach – BrightWolves analysed the GHG emissions of itself and its mother company (i.e. the whole Quanteus Group). As you can see on the picture, the analysis shows that 70% of carbon emissions is in scope I and almost all the rest in scope III. If we take a deeper look into the analysis, scope I is 100% represented by emissions from vehicles owned by the company. Scope II is almost neglectable as Quanteus only sources 100% green electricity. Lastly, Scope III mainly exists out of employees commuting and capital goods (buildings and cars).
As a result, when all scopes are combined, ~85% of Quanteus’ carbon emissions are accounted for by mobility. Therefore, BrightWolves is implementing initiatives, focusing on mobility, to reach carbon neutrality by 2020.
Do you want help in assessing your own company’s environmental footprint? Don’t hesitate to reach out!