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WORDS JONATHAN GREEN


THE BIGGER PICTURE


just another word for footprint. The proto- col explains where to start, what to do and how to do it, from reporting boundaries to emissions scopes.


Q: This doesn’t sound very simple! Your sustainability colleagues will have this covered. Ask them for the answers. As for scopes, travel emis- sions are mainly Scope 3. Again, the guidance explains everything.


Q: What else is important? Three things. The first is baselining, so per- formance can be measured on a like-for-like basis. Second, being transparent about what you have done and why. Third, choosing credible emission factors – which can vary by class of travel, load factor or aircraft


IF YOU CAN MEASURE IT, YOU CAN


MANAGE IT. WHAT’S THE SHAPE AND SIZE OF YOUR FOOTPRINT?


type. Defra has produced pages of emissions factors taking account of these variables and the GHG Protocol’s principles enable users to assess what’s important and what’s not when choosing which of these factors to apply.


Q: Where do I get travel emissions data? Ask your suppliers. Any supplier worth their salt should be able to do this, but be warned that not all of them will provide reliable data. You’ll need to audit it and hold suppliers to account.


Q: I’ve calculated my carbon footprint. What’s next?


Great. If you can measure it, you can manage it. Now, what’s the size and shape of your footprint? Cut it up by country, mode of travel and business unit. What’s driving behaviours? Could alternatives to travel


buyingbusinesstravel.com


offer any value? What policy levers could lead to lower emissions?


Q: Should my company offset? Offsetting is a corporate decision, not something for you to decide alone. There are risks, from offsetting promises that aren’t kept and imaginary products, to indigenous land rights being affected by projects you’ve paid for. Look at ICROA, the industry associ- ation of voluntary offset providers: icroa.org The challenge is reducing emissions, but I reckon you can. Government is calling for evidence on carbon offsetting. You can provide feedback here: gov.uk/government/ news/government-launches-call-for-evi- dence-on-carbon-offsetting


n Jonathan Green is a consultant, researcher and writer specialising in environmental issues


ESSENTIAL READING The World Resources Institute’s GHG


Protocol is the de facto standard for corporate carbon reporting. Written in plain English, it’s used the world over by businesses big and small. For emission factors, consult both the WRI ghgprotocol.org and Defra gov.uk/government/publications/ greenhouse-gas-reporting- conversion-factors-2019


USEFUL TERMS CARBON FOOTPRINT: A way of


measuring emissions released from an activity. CARBON ACCOUNT: The term used to describe emissions from an entity. EMISSIONS SCOPES: Recording emissions from different sources. OFFSETTING: A method of compensating for emissions produced by funding reductions elsewhere.


2019 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 35


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