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May 7, 2023

CO2e emissions

What are carbon emissions (CO2e)?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations has identified the main greenhouse gasses as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The various gases do not contribute to the greenhouse effect to the same extent and remain in the atmosphere for different periods of time. In order to compare the effects of different greenhouse gases, the IPCC has defined what it terms “Global Warming Potential”.

This index expresses the warming effect of a certain amount of a greenhouse gas over a set period of time (usually 100 years) in comparison to CO2. For example, methane’s effect on the climate is 28 times more severe than CO2, but it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long. The environmental impact of nitrous oxide also exceeds that of CO₂ by almost 300 times. By making the greenhouse gases comparable it is possible to calculate each one as CO₂ equivalents. CO2 equivalents are abbreviated as CO2e.

SMEs are estimated to contribute 272.88M tonnes CO2e to UK total emissions1. In Europe, SMEs are responsible for 60-70% of industrial pollution2.

How we audit CO2e

Some carbon calculators certify, verify or accredit a company’s CO2 emissions. Our Certified Public Accountants audit them in line with International Auditing Standards (ISAE 3000). We use a hybrid science based methodology rooted in the GHG (greenhouse gas) protocol and government sources for our emission factors and calculations.

Unlike many carbon calculators we do not ask companies to input any data. We do the calculations from source data which is tested for relevance, double materiality, completeness, consistency, transparency and accuracy.

For physical goods

We calculate emissions from materials and weights from the product specification sheets (a must have for all physical goods sold in developed counties as part of their health and safety certification), weights and distances covered, and type of haul from logistics providers normally (provided by the fulfilment partners).

For SaaS and service businesses

We calculate the cloud computing scope 3 impact of using one of the known providers like AWS, GCS, Azure using a spend based method with an emission factor for each provider. If the servers are in-house it will be covered as part of scope 1-2 emissions.

(Gov.UK, 2019); OECD, 2015; Miller, 2011

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