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3 tips to reduce your company's carbon footprint

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In a context where preserving the environment has become a global priority, the environmental impact of companies is subject to close scrutiny. By responding to the demands of modern society through reducing our carbon footprintIn this way, we safeguard our long-term competitiveness in the market while helping to protect the environment.

Assessing a company's environmental impact goes far beyond simply quantifying greenhouse gas emissions. It also testifies to a company's environmental, social and economic commitment.

What measures need to be taken to reduce a company's carbon footprint? What are the reasons for doing so? We address these questions by providing three practical tips for starting a carbon reduction strategy.

1. Understanding the carbon footprint

1.1 What is a company's carbon footprint?

1.2 Calculation methodology

2. Why is it important to reduce your company's carbon footprint?

2.1 Global warming at the heart of concerns

2.2 Increasing regulation

2.3 An essential asset in carbon competitiveness®.

3. 3 tips to reduce your company's carbon footprint

3.1 Tip #1: Create thematic action plans

3.2 Tip #2 Identify low-carbon trajectories

3.3 Tip #3 Involve your suppliers in your decarbonization strategy

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Understanding the carbon footprint

👩‍🏫Qu What is a company's carbon footprint?

The carbon footprint represents the total quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitted directly or indirectly by a company. To determine the carbon footprint of an activity, it is necessary to carry out a carbon assessment. This calculation makes it possible to assess the environmental impact of the activity and to implement actions to reduce it.

This approach requires you to draw up an inventory of the emissions from your activities, which are grouped into 3 scopes:

🔥 S cope 1:These are direct emissions from sources directly controlled or owned by the company. This includes company facilities, industrial and manufacturing processes, on-site fossil fuel combustion.

💡 Scope 2: These are indirect emissions from the consumption of electricity, heat or steam purchased by the companyfrom third parties, such as energy suppliers.

🚛 Scope 3: These are indirect emissions other than those in Scope 2 which result from the company's activities but which are not controlled or owned by it. For example, employee travel, purchasing, waste...

📚Calculation methodology

Ademe's Bilan Carbone® method, the GHG Protocol and ISO 14067 are standards used to assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of an organization, product or service. They offer companies the flexibility and adaptability they need to meet their emissions management requirements. They differ in approach, scope and application.

The GHG Protocol is an international standard developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It is the most widely used method in the world, as it establishes international uniformity for the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions. It offers great flexibility in the choice of calculation methods and emission sources.

It distinguishes three emission scopes for the GHG inventory: Scope 1, 2 and 3, as described above.

A quick reminder:

    • Scope 1: Direct emissions (combustion of fuel oil, natural gas, etc.).
    • Scope 2: Indirect emissions linked to purchased energy (electricity, steam, etc.).
    • Scope 3: Indirect emissions linked to the supply chain and downstream activities (transport, waste, etc.).

ADEME's Bilan Carbone® calculation method, very similar to the GHG Protocol, is a system for calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Incorporating tools and training programs, it is widely used in France, and takes into account all the gases defined by the IPCC. As well as emissions from scopes 1, 2 and 3. Bilan Carbone® and GHG Protocol can be considered as equivalent, but Bilan Carbone® is more exhaustive and demanding than GHG Protocol.

It comprises six stages:

    1.  Framing
    2.  Transition plan
    3.  Online publication
    4.  Identifying sources and emissions
    5.  Data collection
    6.  Balance sheet calculation and analysis

ISO 14064 is an international standard which, like the GHG Protocol, focuses on the quantification, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The standard consists of three main parts:

📋 Principles and requirements for GHG inventories: It specifies the principles and requirements for the design, development, management, reporting and verification of a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory within an organization, as well as the declarations relating to these inventories.

📊 Qualification of GHG emissions: this part provides guidelines for implementing the quantification, monitoring and reporting of direct and indirect GHG emissions by an organization.

Guidelines for verifying GHG inventories: details the requirements for the verification of an organization's GHG emissions declarations by an independent third party.

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Why is it important to reduce your company's carbon footprint?

🧊 Global warming at the heart of concerns

As we saw earlier, the global context is becoming more and more acute, and most countries are being forced to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreements, i.e. to keep "the increase in global average temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels". With this in mind, governments such as France are committing themselves to the energy transition, implementing directives such as the law on energy transition for green growth (TEPCV). Companies are now faced with a major challenge: reducing their carbon footprint to make an active contribution to the fight against climate change.

Not least because transparency on greenhouse gas emissions has become a key element in meeting the growing expectations of stakeholders, consumers and investors, who are placing ever greater emphasis on sustainable practices.

🧑‍⚖️ Increasingly stringent regulations

And above all, a carbon footprint has become a necessity in order to comply with the growing requirements in this area. Since the Grenelle II law in 2010, a carbon balance must include emissions from scopes 1 and 2. And since 2022, with the BEGES decree (Décret bilan des émissions de gaz à effet de serre), scope 3 has also become mandatory; for companies with over 500 employees in metropolitan France, and for companies with over 250 employees in overseas departments.

In addition, carbon taxes continue to evolve significantly, and are set to rise further in the years ahead. Since 2014, we have seen a steady rise in the carbon tax, from 7 euros per tonne of CO2 to a stable 46.6 euros since 2018 in France. This upward trend is set to continue. The directives of the Energy Transition Law for Green Growth indicate an increasing trajectory for the carbon component; with an increase to 100 euros per tonne of CO2 in 2030.

In addition to its environmental and regulatory importance, reducing the carbon footprint also presents economic and strategic challenges for companies.

💪 A n essential asset in carbon competitiveness®.

Indeed, decarbonization has become a market differentiator. Consumers are increasingly sensitive to environmental issues, and favor companies committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Numerous studies show that consumers are increasingly inclined to favor environmentally-friendly brands.

We can see that this initiative represents much more than a simple regulatory obligation; it offers a strategic opportunity to strengthen our competitiveness in a market where environmental sustainability is becoming an increasingly important criterion for consumers.

Carbon Competitiveness® is the ability to demonstrate, for the same quality of service or product, lower GHG emissions than competitors.

It becomes an asset for any company wishing to attract more consumers and improve its competitiveness in the marketplace.

Scope 3 can account for up to 90% of greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonizing this category of emissions (supply chain, employee travel, waste, etc.) therefore plays an important role in reducing a company's overall carbon footprint. A company's carbon competitiveness ® depends above all on its suppliers, which in turn determines that of its customers, and generates benefits for all:

A virtuous relationship that fosters the creation of lasting progress and mutual benefits between the parties involved.

The guarantee of accelerating a solid low-carbon trajectory, involving all stakeholders, beneficial to all and crucial to our common fight against climate change.

Ultimately, adopting practices and technologies that promote decarbonization can boost a company's competitiveness in the marketplace, meeting consumers' growing expectations in terms of sustainability and anticipating future environmental regulations.

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3 tips to reduce your company's carbon footprint

📋 Tip #1: Create thematic action plans

Creating a thematic action plan is an effective advantage in your strategy to reduce your footprint for several reasons. First and foremost, it is imperative to identify the main themes that are relevant to the objective being pursued.

🕵️‍♀️ Each theme needs to be analyzed in depth in order to identify the issues at stake and the solutions available.

🎯 O nce the issues have been identified, clear, measurable objectives need to be defined for each theme, taking into account available resources and any constraints.

📅 F inally, detailed action plans must be drawn up, including specific measures, deadlines, clear responsibilities, and monitoring indicators to assess progress.For each reduction action defined in the action plans, it is possible to associate one or more themes to which the action relates.

For example, an action plan might focus on :

  • reducing energy consumption
  • optimizing waste management
  • the development of more sustainable modes of transport

With the GCI platform, we can draw up targeted action plans by theme. Each reduction action can be associated with GHG assessment categories such as energy, travel, waste, materials and incoming services. Add this information manually or automatically when simulating an action. With the option of adding a customizable list of themes specific to the company's activity.


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📉 Tip #2 Identify low-carbon trajectories

A low-carbon trajectory is a set of guidelines and projections detailing how greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from various activities will be reduced over time.

To achieve a coherent, up-to-date trajectory, it is imperative to closely monitor progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions as we go along. This means setting up monitoring indicators to assess the effectiveness of the actions taken. And if the results are not satisfactory, your organization must be ready to adjust its strategy accordingly. Reassessment of objectives is therefore an important step that should not be underestimated.

For more precise data, we have the Science-based Targets SBT, a partnership between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Science-Based Targets, or SBTs, represent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets that are in line with the most recent scientific advances in the fight against climate change.
By basing itself on this scientific data, the low-carbon trajectory gains in precision, credibility and transparency, thereby strengthening the confidence of stakeholders such as investors and consumers.

The GCI platform offers you the SBTi trajectory creation tool associated with a GHG assessment, a feature designed to help you align your company with a low-carbon trajectory. Thanks to this tool, you can create a trajectory that is up to date with regulatory changes, comprising a short-term and a long-term section. You can choose the scenario to be applied to the Scope 3 part, and determine the proportion of Scope 3 to be taken into account. With GCI, set your company on the road to carbon reduction.

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🤝 Tip #3 Involve your suppliers in your decarbonization strategy

To reduce your company's carbon footprint effectively and sustainably, it is essential to involve suppliers. These business partners make a significant contribution to the company's indirect emissions. Engaging these suppliers represents a powerful strategy for achieving reduction targets.

Here are a few tips for involving your suppliers:

  • Determine the carbon footprint of your suppliers: Assessing the carbon footprint of current suppliers first, and favoring those who have already adopted sustainable practices, is an important first step.
  • Select and encourage your suppliers: Encouraging suppliers to integrate environmentally-friendly initiatives and meet emission reduction targets is also essential, as is including sustainability in the selection criteria for new suppliers.
  • Share best practices: Sharing best practices and creating an open dialogue foster continuous improvement.
  • Promote transparency and traceability: Requiring transparency from suppliers on their carbon emissions and the measures taken to reduce them is important for effective collaboration in reducing carbon footprints.


To find out more, take a look at our guide to decarbonizing purchasing, or our webinar on decarbonizing purchasing


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