Carbon Footprint

Photo by cookelma/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by cookelma/iStock / Getty Images

What is it?

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the activity of the entity being measured causes as a result of its activities.

Why measure it?

Everyday activites like driving, using electricity and flying burn fossil fuels and release carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. Measuring helps us to understand the specific impact our activities has on the environment. What is measured can be managed. A carbon footprint shows what we can do to have the biggest impact on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

What do I need?

You need to keep a record of your usage of electricity, petrol/diesel, and other trips, such as flights, taxi trips etc. You also need to track how much waste you send to the landfill.

How do I calculate my footprint?

There are plenty of calculators online. We recommend the Ace calculator produced by Catalyst, which you can download here. It uses New Zealand-specific conversion factors, and so gives a result that is relevant to local entities.

It's too complicated!

Sustained Consulting can calculate a carbon footprint for your business or organisation, including per site waste audits.

What could I do without a calculation?

While it's best to develop a carbon footprint, our partner, Ekos provides a "Carbon Light" option, which provides an easy way to offset the New Zealand annual average greenhouse gas emmissions per person. They provide offsets from rainforest protection projects both here in New Zealand, and in the Pacific. You find out about this option on their website, here.