RGA Engineering y Projects

Importance of calculating the Carbon Footprint

Emission inventories – or carbon footprint – is an indicator that allows measuring the impact that a person, organization, event or product leaves on the planet. This seeks to establish the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the use and consumption of fossil fuels (oil, gas and mineral coal), use of resources (electricity, water and paper), production of waste, use of vehicles (land and air), among others, in the daily activities of an organization. This measurement tool is based on globally accepted methodologies governed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC,

As is known, the measurement of the carbon footprint covers all the activities of the life cycle of a product (from the acquisition of raw materials to its management as waste) and seeks to calculate the amount of GHG that are emitted directly or indirectly to the atmosphere each time a certain action is carried out, and based on these values, companies can reduce pollution levels through a standardized calculation of emissions during production processes, allowing consumers to decide which products to purchase based on the pollution generated as a result of the processes through which it has passed. Once the size of the footprint is known, it is possible to implement a strategy to reduce and/or offset emissions,

Existen diversas estrategias para la reducción de la huella de carbono emitida por una organización, principalmente se busca es incrementar la eficiencia energética, acción que no sólo involucra la disminución del consumo de energía eléctrica sino también el uso adecuado de los combustibles empleados en los procesos de producción. No basta con solamente reducir los niveles de huella de carbono, sino también, la compensación de la misma con la finalidad de neutralizar las emisiones generadas, razón por la cual se busca aumentar los sumideros de CO2 a nivel mundial.

Trees are capable of absorbing a large amount of CO2 throughout their lives, but not all have the same absorption potential. The species, the size or its distribution in the forest together with other species, are factors that cause its capacity to vary. A common tree captures between 350 and 3,500 kilograms of carbon per year; However, there are studies carried out that show that pine trees have the highest absorption rate, as is the case of the Aleppo Pine, which absorbs around 48 tons of CO2 per year (1)., plus it requires specific conditions for its plantation, such as the type of land, climate, space and habitat. It should be noted that the amount of CO2 that a tree captures is directly related to its growth rate, therefore, the trees that grow the most are the ones that fix the most carbon in their wood.

However, the verification of the carbon footprint is not mandatory, but many companies are interested in having their products carry the label that confirms the CO2 values ​​and, in this way, consumers can opt for less polluting goods or services, since that the excessive concentration of these gases are the main causes of global warming.

It is important to highlight that there is a marked difference in terms of measuring the carbon footprint of an organization and carrying out the inventory in it. Because performing the measurement calculation only yields the value of the equivalent CO2 tons generated, carrying out an inventory implies the quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of GHG emissions and/or removals, which requires following the guidelines established by the ISO 14064 standard and its environmental management system (EMS) policy. This regulation details the principles and requirements for the design, development and management of GHG inventories for companies or organizations, as well as for the presentation of reports on these inventories. It also includes the requirements to determine GHG emission limits, quantify the organization’s GHG emissions and removals, and identify the company’s specific activities or actions in order to improve emissions management. In turn, it classifies the origin of the emissions according to their generation source, because they can be direct (they belong to or are controlled by the organization), indirect (they come from the generation of electricity, heat or steam of external origin consumed by the company) or optional indirect (consequence of the company’s activities,

Identifying the sources of GHG emissions of a product throughout the production process, allows for the definition of better objectives and more effective emission reduction strategies, due to better knowledge of the critical points for the reduction of emissions, also including a considerable reduction in costs. for services and inputs for production thanks to the energy efficiency implemented and the better operation of the equipment. In turn, it makes it possible to strengthen relationships between companies and suppliers, particularly if this implies opportunities for cost savings in the supply chain.

The reduction of the carbon footprint represents an environmental commitment acquired by a company that goes hand in hand with its suppliers, which seeks to generate in the community a sense of environmental belonging focused on reducing its own impact on global warming. With this effort, it seeks to create a cycle of social-environmental responsibility that includes suppliers-company-consumer, implanting an awareness motivated to change, and global responsibility with respect to the environment.

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