Data Collection

Calculating an organization’s carbon footprint starts with gathering as much real-world data as possible on resource consumption and waste disposal. The data are analyzed in accordance with an established framework – in our case, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – using a series of universal and/or sector-specific conversion factors that convert these values into the same unit of measurement.

In our case, the data were grouped into categories (see table below). A larger company produces emissions and waste and consumes more energy and resources, and this complexity has its inherent challenges. The challenges we faced gathering data were due to the reliance on third parties to source information and sourcing the emissions factor from the electricity provider.

What is an emissions factor?
An emissions factor is a tool used in calculating an organization’s emissions inventory. For example, the emissions factor for power generation is calculated as the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of generation measured in kilograms or metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per megawatt hour – kg CO2e/MWh or MT CO2e/MWh.

Data Period

Data covered January until December 2020. This period more closely reflected our working pattern going forward, since like many companies the depths of the pandemic in 2020 focused our attention on essential operations.

Gathering real-world data is optimal, but it is not always possible when, for example, companies share such facilities as heating, water supply and waste disposal in multi-occupant office buildings. In the absence of real values, estimates were used instead, derived from a large database of real values.

ScopeCategoryData quality
1Heat consumptionEstimated
1Fuel consumptionReal
1Gas leakages RealReal
2Electricity consumption RealReal
2District heating, cooling, steamReal
3Upstream energy-related emissionsBased on consumption data
3Business travel and accommodationReal
3CommutingEstimated
3Water and wastewaterEstimated
3Waste accumulation in operationsEstimated
3Paper consumptionEstimated