Glossary entry

Carbon Footprint

Definitions

Option 1

Carbon Footprint means the total annual [GHG Emissions]/ [Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions] relating to the [product] [event] [Company] [party].]

Option 2

Carbon Footprint  means the amount in tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent of Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions that will be released into the atmosphere as a result of the [manufacture/supply/use] of [the Product/Service/Business Operation/Project], determined in accordance [with international GHG Reporting practice, being the accepted practice from time to time in relation to reporting for the purposes of the protocols to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] [with an internationally recognised environmental standard] [with the [organisation’s] carbon footprint methodology and/or carbon footprint tool / standard].

Option 3 - Organisational Carbon Footprint

Organisational Carbon Footprint means total annual [worldwide] Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions originating from all the activities, including energy used in buildings, industrial processes and business travel, across the organisation, including its supply and value chains.

Option 4 - Product Carbon Footprint

Product Carbon Footprint means the total Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions over the whole life of the [product/ service], from the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing through to its use and final re-use, recycling or disposal, including Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with the raw materials and services purchased by the Supplier in order to deliver the [product/service].

Option 5 - Supply Chain Carbon Footprint

Supply Chain Carbon Footprint means total annual Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions associated with the purchase of raw materials and services by [insert organisation name] in order to deliver its service[s] [[and/or] product[s]].

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Drafting notes

Carbon footprint is often used as an umbrella term for more specific carbon emission measurements, such as organisational carbon footprint, supply chain carbon footprint, and product carbon footprint. Therefore, the common use of ‘carbon footprint’ often means these more specific terms are obscured or conflated.

An overall carbon footprint accounts for all of the greenhouse gases mentioned in the Kyoto Protocol – see the definition of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs).

Option 4 – Product Carbon Footprint

The product carbon footprint sums up the total greenhouse gas emissions generated by a product over the different stages of its life cycle, ‘from cradle to grave’ – see the definition of Embodied Carbon (Embedded Carbon).

Various standards have been developed to determine the CO2 balance of products. The best-known standards for calculating a carbon footprint are the British PAS 2050, the GHG Protocol and ISO 14067 – see TCLP’s definition of Carbon Footprint Standards.

Larger companies might favour this product-specific definition of carbon footprint when assessing the overall environmental impact of their products (goods and / or services) and meeting their corporate social responsibility ( CSR ) obligations.

Product Carbon Footprint is sometimes abbreviated to ‘PCF’.

Option 5 – Supply Chain Carbon Footprint

This definition is appropriate for definitions of carbon footprint in supply chain contracts that seek to reduce carbon emissions at each stage of a manufacturing process.

Application

Company articles, shareholder agreements, employment contracts, consumer laws, supply chain clauses, loan agreements and government guidance.

Clauses that relate to carbon footprint can drive change from the ‘bottom up’ as contracting parties will need to be proactive in meeting a reduction in their carbon footprints.