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Understanding Your Company’s Carbon Footprint

Understanding your company’s carbon footprint is the first step toward an environmentally sustainable business operation. However, reducing your company’s carbon footprint is not only beneficial for the environment; it can also reduce the amount of materials and energy used for daily processes, resulting in lowered costs for overall production and operation.

What is Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint includes many factors related to operational sustainability, especially those that affect emissions and the amount of energy used for operations and processing. Specifically, your carbon footprint is calculated by estimating:

  • the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, and some fluorocarbons) produced during operation
  • waste streams from manufacturing processes themselves
  • the energy required to operate, heat, and cool buildings
  • the energy required to transport finished products from the manufacturing facility to consumers

A carbon footprint, however, does not only relate to a company’s direct operations and production. Indirect emissions, which are emissions from sources outside the direct influence of the company and its operations. This includes those from the company’s value chain and supporting companies, which also affect the overall sustainability of a company.

Moreover, product carbon footprint (PCF) can be calculated for specific products over their lifecycle, for specific applications and use paths, to determine the effect products have on emissions and the environment.

How does Carbon Footprint Affect Business?

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The reduction of your carbon footprint is essentially an optimization process, meaning that reductions in your carbon footprint will likely drive business and production operations closer to an optimal point. Because many of the factors of a carbon footprint involve energy usage, optimization of these processes usually imply cost savings.

Therefore, although the reduction of carbon footprint is usually viewed as related to environmental sustainability, it’s also related to a company’s overall profitability. In terms of indirect emissions, a switch of outsourced providers from those that don’t focus on sustainable production to those that do can ultimately reduce your company’s overall environmental impact.

Tips to Reduce Carbon Footprint

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To reduce your company’s carbon footprint, you must first understand the major components of carbon footprint. To do this, an analysis should be performed locating all areas of operations that produce carbon dioxide and their greenhouse gas emissions. There are a few standards with which to perform the calculations; however, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is the most commonly used standard used to understand, quantify, and manage emissions.

Additionally, there are online calculators available to estimate carbon emissions, but for a more accurate assessment, an industry-specific assessment should be conducted by an expert.

After your emissions have been calculated, look for areas where emissions can be reduced. Start with areas that have the highest emissions, and consider if any adjustments could be made to reduce the amount of emissions produced. This may involve complex optimizations, such as examining the transportation of finished products to reduce the length of the route from the manufacturer to the customer. These optimizations could also involve more straightforward changes, such as the regulation of in-office temperature to reduce the amount of energy used for heating and cooling or a switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.

General Kinematics is dedicated to providing energy efficient equipment for all industries. If you’re interested in improving your carbon footprint, contact us today! Our industry experts are here to help you streamline your mining, foundry, recycling, bulk processing, and industrial operations to create a better solution for you and the environment.

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