As reported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the quantity of atmospheric Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere has elevated by an average of 1.6% annually over the last three decades, primarily contributed by carbon dioxide gas (CO2), and is currently considered to be one of the top three issues facing the world today. Climate change, as a result of increased GHG concentrations are threatening adverse impacts to the natural environment, as well as human livelihood and survival. In response, international actions, such as the Kyoto Protocol 2005 and the Paris Agreement 2015, gathered nations worldwide to set targets with the intention of mitigating climate change and reducing its impacts. One such action is the movement towards ‘net zero’ CO2 emissions to be achieved by 2050. A commitment considered necessary by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for realising the goal of global temperature stabilisation to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
Increasing environmental, consumer and regulatory pressures, have driven the need for transitions in business focus towards sustainability by reducing overall GHG emission and carbon footprint. The integration of sustainability in business strategies is vital to avoid the occurrence of potential risks by demonstrating a clear link between the commitment to the sustainability agenda and continual business development. Undertaking a carbon footprint assessment of current and future assets is critical, to understand the nature of emission sources, and the contribution levels of each source to enable organizations to plan and make decisions which provide the most benefit in executing emission reduction strategies. The use of supporting tools developed in compliance with GHG Protocol principles, can provide clarity on carbon footprint drivers and enables informed, clear, traceable, carbon conscious, rapid decision making for business operations.
This paper will discuss how the application of digital tools allows for the development of baseline understanding of an organization’s carbon footprint. Further, the subsequent steps required in utilizing the baseline information to determine feasible carbon reduction strategies in a traceable, verifiable, and systematic manner, will also be explored.