The world has been facing many problems such as climate crisis, global warming and air pollution recently. In addition to industrialization and economic activities, human beings also have a share in these problems. In these days when the devastating consequences of the damage done to the world over the centuries are experienced, every step taken to make the world livable again becomes very valuable. At this point, countries, public and private institutions and individuals have separate responsibilities. Carbon footprint is one of the concepts frequently heard in the activities carried out to prevent/reduce the damage to the environment in order to make the world more livable. Reducing the carbon footprint not only supports the fight against global warming and climate change, but also provides great benefits in increasing energy efficiency. So what is a carbon footprint? How is the carbon footprint calculated? Why is it important to reduce the carbon footprint and what measures can be taken to reduce the carbon footprint?
What is a Carbon Footprint?
The balance of the world, which has been preserved since its existence, has started to deteriorate over time due to human activities and the amount of gases called greenhouse gases such as water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere has increased. Due to this increase, the world has started to warm up more than it should.
Calculation of the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere as a result of institutional or individual activities in terms of carbon dioxide is called carbon footprint. In a way, every step we take to disrupt the natural balance of the world, that is, the damage we do to nature, is defined as a carbon footprint.
It will be beneficial for countries, institutions or individuals to be aware of how much damage they cause to nature, to produce more sensitive and sustainable solutions to nature. For this, the carbon footprint must be calculated.
How is the Carbon Footprint Calculated?
Carbon footprint is calculated in two different dimensions as personal and corporate.
Types of Carbon Footprints
1- Personal Carbon Footprint:
It expresses how much of the emissions we are personally responsible for the emissions released to the world during the annual life activities of people.
Personal carbon footprint is divided into two;
– Primary Carbon Footprint
The primary carbon footprint is the emission value resulting from the energy consumption of people in daily life to meet their needs. For example, natural gas burned for heating or vehicle fuels used for transportation are evaluated under the name of primary carbon footprint.
– Secondary Carbon Footprint
The primary footprint directly damages the earth, while the secondary footprint has an indirect effect. It refers to the amount of greenhouse gases, in terms of carbon, that are indirectly released during the life span of the products we use, from production to consumption and even to their destruction in nature. The carbon emissions caused by the energy used in all these processes, including the delivery and use of the products to the user, are included in this category.
2- Corporate Carbon Footprint:
Recently, all companies, large or small, have been working on corporate footprint calculations. Because in today's world, institutions and brands that care about sustainability and are environmentally sensitive are becoming more and more valuable. Emissions resulting from the direct or indirect activities of a business are referred to as the corporate carbon footprint.
It expresses the emissions related to the annual activities of the institutions and is divided into 3.
- Direct Carbon Footprint: It refers to the fossil fuels that institutions use to continue their activities and the emissions generated by fossil fuels.
- Indirect Carbon Footprint: It is about electrical energy. It covers emissions such as steam, cooling, keeping warm that the institution purchases from supplier institutions.
- Other Indirect Carbon Footprint: It refers to the emissions covering all the products used by the institutions in the supply chain, subcontracting activities, rental vehicles and even the transportation of the employees for business purposes.
Why Is Reducing Carbon Footprint Important?
Reducing the carbon footprint provides many benefits such as making the world a more livable place, reducing environmental pollution, and improving the awareness of responsible institutions and people. When the carbon footprint is calculated, it becomes possible to see the destruction caused by human beings on the world, and this creates the opportunity to develop strategies to reduce emissions caused by human activities.
Events that individually increase their carbon footprint:
- Private vehicle use causes a significant increase in carbon footprint. By reducing the use of personal vehicles, using public transportation or cycling in daily life is effective in reducing the carbon footprint.
- Fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas are frequently used to meet the heating need during the winter months. This causes an increase in the carbon footprint. Instead of using fossil fuels in living spaces, solar heating can be an alternative. Or, if the use of fossil fuels will continue, the house should be insulated and the use of fossil fuels should be minimized.
- Electricity consumption is used in many areas from lighting to heating, both in homes and workplaces. In order for electricity consumption to reach the point where it cannot affect the carbon footprint, it is very important to provide electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydroelectricity. At this point, the increase in carbon footprint can be prevented.
- Food consumption and clothing use are also among the factors that affect the carbon footprint. Especially during the production phase, not consuming products that are harmful to the environment, not wasting food, not shopping for unnecessary clothes and choosing second-hand products are effective methods in reducing the carbon footprint.
Events that reduce the corporate carbon footprint:
- With industrialization, the need for energy has also increased. Providing industrial energy consumption with renewable resources can greatly affect the increase in carbon footprint.
- In order to meet the nutritional needs of the increasing population, agricultural and livestock activities are expanding day by day. This means more land use and increased animal husbandry, as well as an increase in methane gas. In addition, while agricultural land is expanding, forests are decreasing.
- Although individual events are generally perceived when transportation is mentioned, intensive transportation is also seen in commerce and it affects the carbon footprint increase. If we consider all international transportation transactions, we can say that transportation has a great impact on the carbon footprint.
- The adoption of correct waste management policies by institutions, companies and governments will have very beneficial results in terms of reducing the carbon footprint. When an effective waste management process is carried out, it is possible to spend less raw materials in production. This also saves energy. While less resources are used for more production, the increase in carbon footprint can be reduced by saving time and resources.
Apart from these methods, there are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint. In order for reduction methods to be effective, carbon footprint calculations with accurate and accurate results must first be made. Thanks to the accurate results, it will be easily determined in which areas precautions should be taken.
Günceleme: 07/01/2023 18:59