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Smart Biz quote:
“Companies around the world have recognized that reducing their carbon footprints is
not just good for the environment, it’s good for business.” (from carbonview pdf)
Every business makes choices about the services, products and equipment it uses.
These choices have a significant effect on their environmental impact. Making the right
choices can help build a positive, credible environmental message and reduce costs.
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and
in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in
our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation
The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce
and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.
1. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of
fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and
plane). We have direct control of these.
2. The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole
lifecycle of products we use - those associated with their manufacture and eventual
breakdown. To put it very simply – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused
on our behalf. (above from:
The average American is responsible for about 10 tons of CO2 emissions annually in
direct emissions (home, car, travel) and about 23 tons annually in total throughout the
economy, including when we buy clothes, food, and other goods and services.
In many respects, the scientific debate is irrelevant. For the business community, climate
change represents an impending market shift – one that will both alter existing markets
and create new ones. It will not be unlike shifts that have occurred in the past, when
consumer needs changed, or technology advanced, and some companies declined
while others rose to take their place. In the 1980s alone, computers eliminated the
typewriter industry, compact discs replaced phonograph records, and the Bell System’s
demise wrought structural changes in telecommunications. New competitive
environments will create new supply and demand for emission-reducing technologies,
new financial instruments for emissions trading, new mechanisms for transferring
technologies globally and new pressures to retire historic sources of greenhouse gases
(GHG). In short, as the market shift of climate change looms on the business horizon,
the argument against action is increasingly harder to make.
The debate is thus strategic (not scientific) and companies taking voluntary climate
action are not practicing philanthropy or pure social responsibility (although many couch
their activities in the language of ‘doing the right thing’). In fact, many companies are
agnostic about the science of climate change. They engage the climate-change issue as
a way to protect their strategic investments and to search for business opportunities in a
changing market landscape. From
Real-life situation/Sidebar Callout:
Example of a CEO who reduced and offset the co2 emissions from their company and
saved X/did X/resulted in X.
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