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4 steps to a CO₂ footprint for companies

As part of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), companies will be required to record theircarbon footprint from 2025. In addition to the legal obligation, the recording ofCO2 emissions is the basis for setting targets and decarbonization.

In this article, we will guide you through the most important steps for calculating a company'scarbon footprint. We also show you how software solutions can support this process.

Step 1: Understanding scope 1, 2 and 3

In order to create a company'scarbon footprint, the emissions must first be divided into Scope 1, 2 and 3 categories. These emission classes are defined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

  • Scope 1 includes direct emissions from company-owned or controlled sources, such as the combustion of fuels in company-owned plants.
  • Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from the production of purchased energy, such as electricity or heat.
  • Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that arise in a company's supply chain. These include business travel, transportation and distribution as well as the manufacture of purchased products.

Categories of CO₂ emissions according to the GHG Protocol

Step 2: Collecting and analyzing data for thecarbon footprint

The next step is to comprehensively record all relevant business activities and their energy consumption in order to calculate a company'scarbon footprint. This includes an accurate recording of operational data, transportation logistics, employee mobility and other factors that contribute to the corporate carbon footprint.

Step 3: Calculating thecarbon footprint for companies

After extensive data collection, the next critical step for companies is to calculate theircarbon footprint. This process requires a deep understanding of how various activities and consumption data are converted intoCO2 emissions. In addition to the challenge of correctly applying the emission factors, companies must also ensure that the calculation process is transparent and comprehensible.

Emission factors play a key role in calculating thecarbon footprint of companies. They show how manyCO2 emissions are caused by the consumption of, for example, one liter of gasoline, one kWh of electricity or one cubic meter of natural gas. Internationally accepted emission factors are provided by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in Germany, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among others.

Step 4: Creation and verification of theCO2 footprint in companies

Once calculated, a company'scarbon footprint should be presented in a structured report that meets the requirements of the CSRD. This report should contain detailed information on Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. The calculation methods used and any uncertainties or limitations should be clearly documented. Independent third-party verification, such as TÜV certification, can significantly strengthen the credibility and acceptance of thecarbon footprint.

Software solutions help withCO2 balancing

Software solutions such as Planted offer comprehensive help in recording, managing and optimizing thecarbon footprint of companies. Thanks to the user-friendly handling, companies of all sizes can accurately record theircarbon footprint. Automations and interfaces support fast data collection, which can be realized across teams.

The most important features of software solutions for thecarbon footprint

  • Simplification of data collection: Automated interfaces and integrations make it easier to collect data from various sources. Manual effort is minimized considerably.
  • Accuracy of the calculation: These systems enable a precise and CSRD-compliantcarbon footprint calculation thanks to stored emission factors and calculation methods.
  • Transparency and traceability: The documentation and storage of data in the software ensures a high level of transparency. It also facilitates verification by external auditors.
  • Target definition and monitoring: TheCO2 calculation reveals companies' biggestCO2 hotspots. Based on their emissions, targets for Net Zero can be set and progress reviewed annually.

Planted's simple software solution helps your company to calculate and monitor itscarbon footprint without any prior knowledge. The API interfaces make it easy to integrate data from different sources and significantly reduce manual effort. In addition to balancing, the tool also supports the setting of science-based targets and decarbonization.

Want to learn more about our AI-powered corporatecarbon footprint calculator? Arrange a no-obligation demo today.

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How-to: CSRD-compliant CO₂ balance sheet