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Reduce your impact on biodiversity by calculating your GHG footprint

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In response to the ecological and climatic imperative, France has set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This ambition is in line with the adoption of a revised national low-carbon strategy in 2020, aimed at drastically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Carbon neutrality implies that all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be offset by the capture of carbon in natural reservoirs such as the oceans, the atmosphere and forests. To achieve this goal, it is essential not only to reduce the carbon footprint of companies, but also to reduce their impact on biodiversity.


Biodiversity and carbon are closely linked. Within the same framework of ecological transition, France has adopted the National Biodiversity Strategy 2030, which sets out 4 key measures to be implemented:

  • Reduce pressures on biodiversity,
  • Restore degraded biodiversity wherever possible,
  • Mobilize all players,
  • Guarantee the means to achieve these ambitions.


France recognizes that the two crises are complementary, and that solving one requires solving the other: "carbon neutrality can only be achieved through the solutions offered by nature, and preserving biodiversity means limiting global warming". In this article, we explore the links between biodiversity and carbon, and how they relate to a company's activities.


1. The biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis: the same battle?

1.1 Explaining the greenhouse effect

1.2 Impact of climate change on biodiversity

1.3 Impact of biodiversity on climate change

2. Calculate your GHG footprint to reduce your company's biodiversity impact

2.1. The impact of business on biodiversity

2.2. The indirect effect of calculating a GHG balance sheet on a company's biodiversity impact

2.3 How do you calculate your GHG footprint?

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The biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis: the same battle?

☁️Explication of the greenhouse effect

To fully understand the link between biodiversity and climate change, we first need to understand the greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect is the phenomenon of the retention of infrared rays emitted by the sun. Among other things, the sun emits infrared radiation, which is either absorbed by the earth's surface or reflected back into space. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prevent this radiation from escaping back into space, trapping it in the atmosphere and raising the average temperature at the Earth's surface.

It's important to note that this is a natural phenomenon: without the greenhouse effect, the Earth would be at -18°C (compared with 15°C with the greenhouse effect). It is the excessive concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, emitted by human activities, that is causing climate disruption.

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🌳Impact of climate change on biodiversity

According to the Office Français de la Biodiversité, biodiversity refers to "all living beings and the ecosystems in which they live". Climate change is one of the major causes of the erosion of biodiversity we are experiencing today.

The rise in temperature caused by the greenhouse effect threatens and disrupts species, modifying their physical environment and forcing them to adapt or disappear. One million species are threatened with extinction due to climate disruption. 

Examples of changes in the physical environment include rising sea levels, which disrupt island/coastal ecosystems, more frequent and extreme weather events, or extreme heat and drought.

Species are also driven to migrate to higher latitudes or altitudes to escape the temperature. Some species, on the other hand, take advantage of rising temperatures to migrate to warmer regions where they would not previously have been able to live; these species can be vectors of diseases to which local populations (human, plant and/or animal) are not immune.

Theacidification of the oceans due to too high a concentration of CO2 leads to problems with the formation of calcareous shells by certain organisms at the base of the food chain (phytoplankton, etc.), and also modifies the absorption and propagation of sound in the water, thus altering the auditory system of marine animals.

Climate therefore has a strong influence on ecosystems and their functioning, and its disruption impacts biodiversity.

🌍Impact of biodiversity on climate change

Biodiversity also has a major impact on climate change. It has a regulating function.

More than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed by land and oceans, which act as natural carbon sinks. Wetlands (marshes, swamps), for example, despite covering just 3% of the earth's surface, store twice as much carbon as forests (which cover over 30% of the earth's surface), and ocean habitats can store up to four times as much carbon as forests.

Managing and preserving these different ecosystems is essential to combating climate change and enabling them to continue absorbing our GHG emissions. According to the UN, around a third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to achieve carbon neutrality could be achieved thanks to nature's capacity to absorb them.

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Calculate your GHG footprint to reduce your company's biodiversity impact

There is a clear link between the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis. Let's now look at the role of companies in resolving these crises, and the role of a GHG balance sheet.

🏗️L the impact of companies on biodiversity

Throughout its activity, and whatever its business, a company exerts pressure on biodiversity. This pressure can be linked to the impact of infrastructures (factories, offices, etc.), the impact of resource imports, or the impact of a product's life cycle (production, use, end-of-life: burial, incineration, landfill, etc.).

The company draws on the natural heritage for the resources it needs to run its business, and in so doing has an impact on biodiversity. The company also depends on the proper functioning of ecosystems to ensure its prosperity and the continuity of its activities, and it is therefore in its interest to reduce its impact on biodiversity.

🌱The indirect effect of calculating a GHG balance sheet on a company's biodiversity impact

Reducing this impact is possible, indirectly, by carrying out a GHG assessment.

As we saw above, greenhouse gas emissions have an impact on biodiversity by contributing to climate disruption. Quantify a company's emissions, identify its emission sources and reduce indirectly reduces its impact on biodiversity. For example, if a company identifies high greenhouse gas emissions linked to a specific replaceable material, it can replace it, and less pressure is exerted on biodiversity.

Carrying out a GHG assessment also helps to raise the company's internal awareness of environmental issues, and to integrate environmental criteria into corporate governance, making it easier for the company to consider and reduce its impact on biodiversity.

As GCI says, "reducing a company's carbon footprint is reconnecting it to life".

✖️Comment calculate your GHG footprint?

There are a number of methods for drawing up a company's GHG balance sheet.

The GHG Protocol is the first international method defined by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development between 1998 and 2001. It categorizes emissions into different scopes.

  • Scope 1: the company's direct emissions.
  • Scope 2: the company's indirect emissions, linked to final energy consumption.
  • Scope 3: the company's non-controllable indirect emissions, notably linked to energy consumption upstream and downstream of a product's production, as well as to its entire life cycle (production, use, end-of-life). Calculation and reporting of this scope is not mandatory under the GHG Protocol method.

ISO 14064 specifies the principles and requirements for quantifying and reporting GHG emissions.ISO 14064-1, the revised version of ISO 14064 from 2018, requires companies wishing to comply to account for Scope 3 emissions, unlike the GHG Protocol method.

The so-called " regulatory " method, as it applies to the BEGES balance, which has been mandatory for certain companies since the Grenelle II law. Since July 2022, all three scopes have been taken into account in the BEGES balance.

The Bilan Carbone Bilan Carbone® methodmethod, developed by the Bilan Carbone association in association with ADEME.

ISO 14061 and the regulatory method divide emissions into different categories, rather than scopes.

  • Direct emissions (Former scope 1)
  • Indirect emissions associated with energy (Former Scope 2)
  • Indirect emissions associated with transport (former scope 3)
  • Indirect emissions associated with purchased products (former scope 3)
  • Indirect emissions associated with products sold (former scope 3)
  • Other indirect emissions (former scope 3)

GCI lets you calculate your GHG footprint using the latest versions of these four methods.


By calculating its GHG footprint, a company can quantify its emissions, identify its main emission sources and put in place a relevant and effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By doing so, a company not only reduces its carbon footprint, but also its impact on biodiversity, which it is vital to preserve and restore in the fight against climate disruption. Next step: calculating your GHG footprint!

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