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What is the Bilan Carbone (greenhouse gas emissions assessment)?

For its objective of carbon neutrality by 2050, and therefore a drastic reduction of the carbon footprint of our consumption, whether energy or materials, the French government has established a roadmap called National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC). It specifies the orientations and actions to be followed and carried out for this important and indispensable ambition of reducing the environmental footprint of our activities on the national territory. This places the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the reduction of consumption and the fight against climate change at the forefront of the organizations' new objectives.

The greenhouse gas balance sheet is the most popular tool to contribute to these objectives set by the Paris Agreement. It consists of an inventory of an organization's emissions. In order to carry it out correctly, precise data collection and calculations are imperative, and everyone wonders how to carry it out in an efficient and educational way for their organization. Beyond the traditional intervention of specialized consultants, online services such as those of Global Climate Initiatives have finally appeared, which allow you to do your own assessment. The task is quick and easy because it is entirely guided and explained online: any organization can thus take ownership of the process, really manage its environmental objectives and obtain advice on carbon strategy. A greenhouse gas assessment allows you to put all the chances on your side to reduce your emissions and fight effectively against climate change.

GHG assessment, definition, objectives and benefits

A Greenhouse Gas Emission Assessment (GHGEA) allows a complete evaluation of the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted by an organization or a territory. It is a precise and detailed inventory of GHG emissions released into the atmosphere. It accounts for CO2 emissions but also for all greenhouse gases such as nitrogen or methane.

In order to easily analyze the collected data, they are divided and ordered according to categories also called " items ". This categorization makes it possible to identify the emissions linked to the most important items. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is then the organization's priority. Decarbonization energy strategies can then be implemented as a priority on these items. 

The assessment is not limited to the quantification of emissions, but also allows to engage a plan to reduce them, and to participate concretely in the fight against climate change. The realization of an emission reduction plan is the main step of a greenhouse gas assessment because it is the final step to reach carbon neutrality.

Its objectives and benefits are multiple:

  • Structuring its environmental policy and improve its energy efficiency
  • Identify actions to reduce energy consumption and therefore your bill and overall impact
  • Assessing your vulnerability
  • Stand out from the crowd by being an example
  • Respond to regulations (if subject to them) and calls for tenders
  • Involve and motivate employees (employer brand) or partners through this exercise

Depending on the organization's objective, a GHG assessment may be approached differently.

It is generally part of a dynamic project and reduction actions. An identification of the impact of its energy consumption could potentially lead to a reduction or an evolution towards renewable energies.

When carried out on a large scope of emissions, the GHG assessment allows for the evaluation of an organization's carbon dependency and vulnerability: it can even allow for a reflection on the company's development strategy.

The actions of companies will thus have an impact. The reduction of their emissions thanks to the realization of a GHG assessment allows to fight effectively against climate change while improving the strategy of a company. If everyone acts, global emissions will be reduced and the actions will be all the more visible.

See the difference between Bilan Carbone and Bilan GES.

What data should be used? 

In order to carry out a complete GHG assessment on a large perimeter of emissions, it is necessary to gather data from the organization's activities. These data are grouped into two distinct categories, primary data and generic data

The primary data correspond to data known by the organization, such as its annual energy consumption, or the quantity of incoming materials. Generic data is collected from suppliers, customers or users. 

Emissions are then calculated by combining this data with an emission factor. Emission factors are data defined according to studies and statistical data and are available on different databases, such as Carbon, DEFRA, EcoInvent, or directly provided by the suppliers of products and services (composite emission factors and per Unit of work), which is much more accurate.

Once the calculation is done, the emissions are divided into 3 categories called scopes

Scopes 1, 2 and 3 concern respectively : 

  • Emissions directly generated by the organization
  • Indirect emissions, linked to the organization's energy consumption
  • Other indirect emissions

Emissions categorized in this way make it possible to determine the emitting items, and to go back to the initial data to be reduced in order to limit the organization's impact on the environment. The reduction of emissions is the primary goal of the carbon footprint, and the reduction actions that will be undertaken by the organizations must aim to minimize emissions as much as possible. Limiting greenhouse gas emissions will help to avoid excessive carbon offsetting later on and will make it easier to achieve the carbon neutrality required by the Paris Agreement by 2050.

Facilitating the completion of your assessment with the GCI platform

Doing your carbon footprint can seem daunting; the Global Climate Initiatives (GCI) platform has been making this process accessible to everyone since 2012.

The user is guided step by step in the collection of initial data thanks to an intelligent referencing of those generally produced for his type of activity. He can indeed carry out his carbon assessment by sector of activity.

After choosing your sector (building, events, logistics, industry, etc.), a list of initial questions divided into 7 categories allows you to enter all the data in an optimal and quick way. 

These seven categories cover all of the regulatory GHG emissions items: energy, other direct non-energy emissions, assets, travel, incoming materials and services, and waste and products sold. Organizations will therefore indicate the fossil fuels they use, as well as biomass.

Once the data has been entered, and according to the emission factors used, the tool automatically divides the greenhouse gas emissions into the 23 regulatory items of the 3 emission scopes of the GHG assessment. All emissions are thus accounted for according to regulations.

The emissions thus identified and calculated allow the platform to propose the implementation of action plans for their reduction, with the collective goal of carbon neutrality in 2050. Once the reduction of emissions has been achieved, the platform allows, as a last step, to offset its emissions through reforestation or renewable energy development projects. However, offsetting emissions should only be done as a last step. Emissions reduction is the primary objective if we want to act against global warming.

The GCI tool offers private and public organizations complete, 100% digital, regulatory-compliant, and fully guided and documented tools to identify, calculate and reduce their carbon footprint. Users can start their low-carbon strategy independently or with the help of a carbon assessment expert.

Carry out your company's carbon inventory with the CGI platform

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