Carbon Management: your company's climate impact

Carbon Management: your company's climate impact

22 Feb, 2022

News about the eco-friendly company and the low CO2 product is now on the agenda.
Carbon management is certainly the topic of the moment and one that companies need to align themselves with in order not to be left out of the market; however, the risk of falling into misleading marketing or not exploiting the full potential of these tools is also high.

The latest reports of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) have outlined a very worrying future, with predictions supported by increasingly precise and verified scientific calculations and data.

The message is clear: if people, companies and governments do not do something now, the future of the next generation is at risk.

The European Union, individual states and various international organisations have long been moving to place limits and regulations on GHG (GreenHouse Gases) emissions.

Instruments, such as the ETS, have been introduced for those large sectors and companies responsible for the bulk of emissions, and voluntary instruments have also been introduced for others, who in their own small way can contribute to the cause and value the green goals of the market.

What is Carbon Management

One of the tools introduced to put limits and rules on GHG emissions is carbon management, i.e. that set of activities that allows the measurement, analysis, management and communication of the climate footprint of products, services and companies.

There are two main approaches that can be followed to carry out in-depth carbon management analyses:

  • Organisation Carbon Footprint (CFO): through the CFO, the direct and indirect GHG emissions attributable to an organisation can be calculated and analysed.
  • Product Carbon Footprint (CFP): with a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, all stages of a product's life are analysed, from its design to the production of the raw materials used in its manufacture, from the transportation of the finished product to its use and disposal.

In both cases, with rather specialised tools and studies, it is possible to calculate how many grams, kilos or tonnes of CO2 equivalent are released into the atmosphere for a given activity.

Reference Standards

Regulations have existed for 10-15 years now that provide guidelines on how to implement CFOs and CFPs, but in recent years revisions and updates have been published that have made them more precise and in line with climate change and market requirements.

  • ISO 14064-1:2019 standard: it updated the guidelines for quantifying and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and their removal at the organisation level. The main update was on the new boundary definition approach to increasingly include indirect emissions along the company's “value chain”. Whereas before they were completely optional, now it is necessary to carry out at least a preliminary analysis of all emissions in order to be able to justify the exclusion of some of them. A substantially equivalent standard for this type of reporting is the GHG Protocol.
  • ISO 14067:2018 standard: as far as the product approach is concerned, this is the reference standard. In this case, the update of the standard introduced a very interesting tool for companies, the Systematic Approach. In essence, through the construction of a single calculation model, CFPs of similar products can be produced without having to certify them each time.

How it works in practice

In the case of an organisation, the direct and indirect emissions associated with a company must be assessed.

The first, direct emissions, are those that occur directly within the company boundaries.

Examples include the combustion of gas in boilers, the movement of goods and people in company-owned vehicles, chemical reactions occurring in the production process or fluorinated gas leaks from air conditioning systems. So far, these are category 1 emissions (or scope 1, for the GHG Protocol).

Then we move on to indirect emissions, starting with those related to the production of electricity taken from the company or any other form of imported energy (category 2 or scope 2).

The remainder of indirect emissions is everything related to the value chain outside the company boundaries.

In ISO 14064-1 everything that falls under it is divided into 4 categories, equivalent to scope 3.
It starts with the transport of goods and people by non-owned vehicles, upstream raw materials, downstream products, employees or customers to the plant.

The emissions associated with the production of those raw materials used to make the company's products or the disposal of the waste generated must then be analysed.

Finally, we move on to the resources used by the organisation's products during their use stage and their management when they reach their respective end of life.

It is clear that the process is by no means easy and straightforward: it involves a set of data that is not always easy for the company to obtain, especially with regard to what happens to the products once they leave the company's borders.

For this very reason, carbon management often coincides with the realisation of the need to implement internal procedures that allow the future identification of those weak points along the production chain that were perhaps not even considered before.

Communication of results

Right from the beginning of the analysis, the purpose of the analysis and the end result must be known: the organisation wants to achieve a Carbon Neutrality reduction target, it wants to communicate its commitments to reduce the climate footprint of its products to the outside world, it needs to meet specific market requirements.

There are usually two approaches here too: internal and external.

In the first case, the company intends to use the carbon management tool to identify, within the value and production chain, which are the critical points in terms of GHG emissions.

It can thus implement reduction measures where it is relevant to do so.
With these approaches, it is relatively easy to identify where the cost-benefit ratio is advantageous.

If, on the other hand, carbon management results are to be communicated externally, there are international programmes that regulate and collect such communications within their portals.

This way, your assertions are further enhanced with the guarantee of these programme operators.

It is very easy to miscommunicate the results achieved: knowing how much CO2 equivalent a product emits does not mean it is carbon neutral, the climate footprint is not the environmental impact, achieving carbon neutrality by buying carbon credits, perhaps without even having considered all emission sources, is greenwashing!

Our Approach

The integrated approach used by Manni Energy in its carbon management allows it to guide the customer along a path of continuous improvement that, by identifying the most suitable strategy with respect to the business in question, enables the achievement of increasingly ambitious objectives aimed at complete decarbonisation.

Manni Energy's approach to managing climate-altering emissions is based on internationally recognised standards and regulations, takes into consideration multiple decarbonisation strategies, both offsetting and insetting, and envisages supporting the customer in a path of continuous improvement that, by identifying the most suitable strategy with respect to the reference business, allows the achievement of increasingly ambitious objectives aimed at complete decarbonisation and proper communication of commitments and results obtained.

For informations:

Written by

Diego Toti
Diego Toti

Direttore Tecnico ed Operativo di Manni Energy, Diego Toti, coordina la divisione operativa promuovendo processi virtuosi volti alla definizione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la realizzazione di impianti per la produzione energetica da fonti rinnovabili e di iterventi in ambito efficientamenteo energetico, accompagnando il cliente in tutte le fasi esecutive della transizione energetica.

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