Haarla supports its customers in calculating and reducing emissions.

Carbon footprint helps companies understand and manage their greenhouse gas emissions. Some emissions can be reduced directly by the company, while others require indirect action such as cooperating with partners that carry their environmental responsibilities. Haarla is committed to mapping out its own emissions and the emissions created in the supply chain. Haarla also helps its clients calculate and reduce the carbon footprint of their raw materials and supply chains.

With climate change accelerating, every company needs to know and manage their environmental impact. “Most companies do not have a legal obligation to calculate their carbon footprint, but the topic is on everyone’s lips. Consumers are highly aware of environmental issues. The Paris agreement, along with other international climate goals, increases the importance of the topic. It is crucial to be up to date about these issues, not least from the perspective of business success,” says Atte Borgenström, CEO of Reforest Finland, a company specialized in measuring and managing corporate carbon footprints.

Emission calculation reveals the current situation

Where does carbon footprint calculation start? The first step is to decide which emissions will be considered. “The level of carbon footprint calculations varies across companies. The most widely used framework for calculating and reporting the carbon footprint is the GHG protocol. It defines which emissions should be considered in the carbon footprint measurement, along with guidelines for calculation and reporting. The GHG protocol divides the emissions into three categories.” Borgenström explains. These categories are called Scope 1, 2 and 3.

Scope 1 stands for the direct emissions of the organization – for example emissions from company-owned vehicles or the company’s own energy production. Scope 2 refers to the indirect emissions of the organization, such as the electricity, heating or cooling the company is buying. Scope 3, in turn, is the most complicated to delimit and calculate. This scope includes the whole life cycle of the products, from raw materials all the way until disposal. Scope 3 also covers emissions like commute and waste. In other words, emissions belonging to Scope 3 are not entirely controlled by the company itself but are dependent on a number of other actors along the value chain. “On the other hand, Scope 3 has potential to have the broadest effect. Indirectly, meeting the emission reduction goals becomes important for a larger pool of other companies as well,” Borgenström points out.

Smaller carbon footprint through reduction and compensation

When the emissions have been calculated and the size of the corporate carbon footprint is defined, it is time to consider how the emissions can be reduced. “There are a lot of different ways to reduce emissions, depending on the company and its specific industry,” Borgenström says. For example, replacing the electricity of the facilities with a more sustainable alternative, or selecting the raw materials more carefully can already lead to significant emission reductions.

However, completely avoiding all emissions is usually not possible. In these cases, the company-related emissions can be compensated. “Absorbing and purifying CO2 emissions directly at the factory pipe is often impossible. Therefore, companies opt for funding projects that absorb emissions elsewhere,” Borgenström explains. Emission compensation is currently undergoing a grand transformation – new projects are constantly being developed and the regulations being defined more clearly. “The most important step is to get started with calculating and reducing emissions. The rest of the emissions, those that are impossible to avoid or reduce, can be compensated.”

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Atte Borgenström, CEO of Reforest Oy: “The majority of carbon emissions stem from the upper levels of the supply chain. By being outspoken about the company’s environmental actions and goals, the change can spread to other organizations as well.”

Spread the word to save the world

Last but not least, it is important to be open about the steps the company is taking to reduce its environmental impact. Communication about sustainability actions can have a positive effect on the business reputation. Carbon neutrality is a central goal for many businesses, so it should not be kept a secret.

Another goal of the communication is to affect the suppliers of the company: “The majority of carbon emissions stem from the upper levels of the supply chain. By being outspoken about the company’s environmental actions and goals, the change can spread to other organizations as well.”

Good choices lead to a sustainable future

Haarla is working constantly to reduce its carbon footprint. The emissions from Haarla’s own operations have been calculated. Now, the work continues together with suppliers and partners to map out the emissions from the supply chain. As a result, Haarla will gain a better understanding of sustainable alternatives for supply chain and products – an understanding that will be beneficial for the customers, as well.

Haarla is encouraging its partners and customers to map out their emissions and to consider sustainable alternatives for the supply chain and the products. Haarla can help its clients find out the exact emissions of the raw material supplier and the emissions caused during the supply chain, as well as recommend better choices for the environment.