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Scope 2 emissions

As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the goal of limiting the increase in average temperature to 2°C, many organizations and states are making commitments to achieve carbon neutrality, i.e. that all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed by natural carbon sinks. This target is often set for 2050, as part of France's ecological transition to reduce its impact on the environment.

Reaching this goal and complying with the Paris Agreement means reducing our carbon footprint, whether at state, individual or corporate level. To put in place an effective strategy for reducing your carbon footprint, you need to quantify it, and to quantify it, you need to draw up a greenhouse gas emissions balance sheet (BEGES).

Numerous online tools have been developed over the last few years, in contrast to the innovative Excel spreadsheet developed by ADEME and Jean-Marc Jancovici. In this article, we explore the advantages of an online GHG balance sheet. 

1. What is a greenhouse gas emissions balance?

1.1. The Bilan Carbone® method.

2. The benefits of the online Carbon Footprint®.

2.1 Updated interface

2.2 Accessible interface

2.3. New features

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☁️Qu What is a greenhouse gas emissions balance?

A BEGES is a systematic assessment of all the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the activities of an individual, a government or a company. A company emits greenhouse gases by supplying a good, service or process to its consumers, for example in the transportation of the product, its use, or the energy consumption of its premises.

There are various carbon accounting methods: the GHG Protocol, ISO 14061 and the regulatory method. The one we're particularly interested in is the one developed by France's Agence de l'environnement et de maîtrise de l'énergie (ADEME), and Jean-Marc Jancovici, in the form of an Excel spreadsheet: the famous Bilan Carbone® method.

📃The Bilan Carbone® method

In the early 2000s, Jean-Marc Jancovici, an engineer by training, developed a tool for calculating greenhouse gas emissions, and proposed it to several ministerial posts. It was finally Jean-Pierre Tabet, head of ADEME's economics department, who took an interest. At the time, ADEME had very little to do with climate issues, and was looking for a way to put them on companies' agendas.

The team in charge of the project took up the subject and proposed that companies carry out the Bilan Carbone® on a voluntary basis, so as not to encroach on the regulatory domain of the Ministry of the Environment, starting in 2004.

This Bilan Carbone® consists of an Excel spreadsheet, a database listing the conversion factors (or emissions factors), and a 300-page appendix containing the calculation assumptions. The principle adopted is that emissions are not measured, but calculated: the company's activity data is multiplied by conversion factors, which convert the data into CO2 equivalents.

To access this spreadsheet, you'll need to take a paid training course. The methodological guide is freely available, but not the spreadsheet. ADEME wanted to train quality experts who would really know how to use the tool, in order to produce accurate Bilans Carbone®.

Since then, the production of a BEGES has become compulsory, and subsidies have been introducedand the method has evolved. In 2021, the Association pour la Transition Bas Carbone (ABC), mandated by ADEME to continue the propagation and development of the method, is making the transition from the spreadsheet to Bilan Carbone® +, a software and web-based platform for carrying out an organization's carbon footprint ® (the spreadsheet remains available, and certified engineers must know how to use it).

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➕The benefits of the online Carbon Footprint® tool

For several years now, offers to carry out a BEGES on the Internet (for individuals or organizations) have been proliferating. Even ABC has made the transition from spreadsheet to software. What are the advantages?

🔄Updated interface

Unlike an Excel spreadsheet, the online platforms and tools for producing BEGES are constantly updated. No more problems transferring data from one version of a method to another, no more need to update databases yourself. Interfaces are automatically updated, making these tools easier to use. There are also no more constraints linked to the number of files that can be involved in calculating a BEGES with a spreadsheet.

🔓Accessible interface

Online BEGES tools and platforms are often intuitive, guiding novice users through data entry and analysis. It's always risky to manipulate an Excel spreadsheet, especially one as substantial as ADEME's, and a user may be afraid of causing major problems by making a mistake in data entry.

BEGES platforms enable new users to take their carbon accounting exercise to the next level. It's no longer an expert's tool, no longer a technocratic tool, but an accessible tool that democratizes the production of a BEGES.

📣New features

The advantage of carrying out a GHG assessment online is also the new functionalities it can offer. For example, you can ask your suppliers to add the PCF (product carbon footprint) of their products directly to the platform, which will then be taken into account in the GHG balance calculation.

Most of a company's emissions are in fact found in scope 3, or emissions that cannot be controlled by the company: this includes suppliers. To calculate your carbon footprint and implement an effective reduction strategy, you need to include your suppliers.

Doing your GHG assessment online makes it easy to include your suppliers in your company's low-carbon approach, and to engage them too in a low-carbon approach to reducing their climate impact. And at GCI, including suppliers is free!

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