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Carbon neutral glossary

What is carbon footprint?

An indicator representing the net emitted and withdrawn GHG quantity expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by products/services and organizations. In the case of products/services, the carbon footprint can be full (TKL) or partial (RKL). 


How should the carbon footprint indicator be determined?

The basis of the carbon footprint determination is the determination of CO2 emissions based on the life cycle analysis of the product/service. In the case of organizations, the definition is primarily based on the evaluation of the input material and energy sources used by the organization and their CO2 output emissions. Different standards are available for evaluation.  


Who can measure my carbon footprint?

The determination of the carbon footprint can also be carried out by companies/organizations within their own boundaries, with appropriate specialists. However, in order to preserve the neutrality of the definition, it is advisable to involve an external expert. Together with the University of Sopron, we created our corporate carbon footprint audit.


What computer programs are available for measuring the carbon footprint?

Several programs are available for applicants, such as Sima Pro, Carbonostics, GaBI. There are usually several versions of the programs available. The use of the programs does not replace the actual LCA analysis.


Is carbon footprint measurement mandatory?

No. However, more and more businesses, primarily multinational companies present on the global market, indicate the carbon footprint on their products for marketing purposes, and in reports prepared for third parties about their business (e.g. social responsibility, CSR).


Can the carbon footprint be marked with a label?

Yes. Currently, there is no uniformly accepted regulation for labeling, each country resolves it within its own jurisdiction. In the private sector, companies from several countries (Great Britain, France, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan) have also introduced product labeling.


Should the carbon footprint be indicated (marked with a label) on the product/service?

No. If the carbon footprint has already been determined with the LCA analysis, it is worth communicating it to partners/customers. One of the important goals of carrying out the analysis is to show the carbon footprint on the product, thereby making it distinguishable from similar products. Applying the carbon footprint label is an important marketing tool. 


Does the designation vary between countries?

There has not yet been a uniform labeling system for marking the carbon footprint of products/services, so the form and content of the labels vary between the countries that apply them.  The shape of the tag usually refers to a human footprint, leaf or other shape. It usually represents a number (indicator) that shows the carbon footprint of the product/service in terms of CO2e. If there are two numbers on the label, the second (bottom) number refers to the reduction commitment, for example in Great Britain. 


How are carbon footprints, water footprints and ecological footprints related?

The purpose of determining the footprint of all three indicators is to protect the environment. The carbon footprint deals with air protection and energy saving, the water footprint with the efficient utilization of water sources, while the ecological footprint shows the management and sustainability of the resources available to human activity (soil, biodiversity, water). For complex environmental analyses, the calculation of all three indicators is recommended (footprint family). Separate standards are available for their definition. Carbon footprint standards are the most developed.  


What standards are available to determine my carbon footprint?

The carbon footprint can be determined at the product/service, organizational (enterprise/company, municipality, government body) or country level. Different standards apply at each level. At the level of products/services, the GHG Protocol  Product Accounting & Reporting Standard and the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard are used, as well as PAS 2050:2008. The upcoming ISO 14067 standard provides an additional opportunity to assess the GHG emissions of products. At the organizational and national level, the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard and the Scope 1 and Scope 2 standards can be applied.


What is the Kyoto Protocol? 

An international convention aimed at reducing GHG emissions has been accepted by 37 countries. The convention introduced carbon credit trading. The countries accepting the protocol   undertook to reduce their GHG emissions by an average of 5% compared to the 1990 level in the period 2008-2012. The agreement expires in 2012. 


What is carbon offset? 

A financial instrument that enables businesses and countries to reduce GHG emissions, e.g. using renewable energy sources. 


What is carbon credit? 

A unit of carbon offset equal to one ton of CO2e. Carbon credit can be the subject of trading and the financial embodiment of carbon emissions, just like shares on the stock exchange.


What is the relationship between carbon footprint and sustainable production and consumption?

Part of sustainable production and consumption is environmental protection, including the reduction of GHG gas emissions. The environmental load can be reduced by determining the carbon footprint of products/services and organizations.


What similar concepts have appeared in recent years to refer to the reduction of CO2 emissions? 

A number of other concepts have appeared in the industry to reduce CO2 emissions and climate protection, such as zero carbon emissions, companies/products/services with low carbon emissions, low carbon economy, carbon neutral activity, carbon trade, decarbonization roadmap, green public procurement, green strategies,



Special questions


What data is needed to determine the carbon footprint?

The analysis requires primary (e.g. data from measurements found at the source) and/or secondary (e.g. from databases) data. The data must be relevant, complete, accurate and transparent. We process the data as an average for one year.


What is carbon footprint life cycle analysis?

The procedure used to assess the GHG emissions within product boundaries during the life cycles of products/services.


What is the total (TKL) and what is the partial carbon footprint (RKL)?

The entire carbon footprint analyzes the life cycle of the product from the producer to the end user (consumer) (business to consumer, B2C). The partial carbon footprint analyzes the carbon footprint of the product/service from the producer to another (non-final) user (business to business, B2B), 


For what time period can the analysis be performed?

Usually for a period of one year. If the output exceeds one year, a weighted average calculation must be used. 


Which GHG emission sources should be taken into account?

For the analysis, energy consumption, fuel consumption, coolant loss, services, change of territory, waste generation, and agricultural activities must be taken into account.  Emissions from fossil energy sources must be included in the analysis, emissions from biological sources do not have to be included, except when changing the area.  Emissions from fossil and biological sources that do not emit CO2 must be included in the analysis.


How do you define the limits of analysis? 

If a product category rule (product category rule, PCR) already exists for the product, it must be taken into account in the analysis. If there is no PCR, the limits of the analysis must be determined for each product and process, such as materials used, energy, production/service processes, transport, storage, use, final liquidation. 


What to do if the release of a product changes within a year?

Sufficient data must be collected to determine the average GHG amount during the product's life cycle.


How many years is the analysis valid for?

Max. 2 years, unless there are changes in the product life cycle. 


If a by-product is produced during the production of the product, what should be done?

The so-called an allocation procedure must be used when the product production process is divided into 2-3 smaller processes, then the input and output data of the smaller processes are summed up, or the boundary of the production system is expanded, with the aim of including the functions of the by-product. If none of the procedures can be applied, the emission is determined depending on the economic value of the main product and the by-product.


In the case of transport, how should the emissions be assessed if there are several products in the cargo hold?

It is recommended to divide by mass. The return transport must also be taken into account.


Who can check the carbon footprint calculation?

The inspection can be done according to ISO 14025 or III. according to the type of inspection, when the organization approved in the national accreditation performs the inspection. Furthermore, according to ISO 14024 or II. type according to own inspection, as well as according to third-party ISO14021 or according to type I inspection. The III used by the private sector is most common. type control.

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