A carbon footprint is based on a life cycle assessment (LCA) but focuses on a single issue which is climate change.
A carbon footprint measures all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the life cycle of your product or service such as such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc. This helps reveal opportunities for reduction of emissions as well as prevent negative trade-offs, i.e. the shifting of environmental burdens from one stage of the life cycle to another.
In order to comply with the high requirements of an LCA or an international standard, it is impossible to rely on company specific data only. Most companies will be faced with the challenge of missing data, particularly with regards to secondary processes.
SimaPro includes several high quality transparent databases with a broad international scope, including the well known Swiss based ecoinvent database.
SimaPro allows you to model all GHG emissions of your product or service in a systematic and transparent way. Primary data specific to your product can be incorporated into you analyses and combined with secondary data on GHG emissions available from the SimaPro databases.
PAS 2050 has been developed by the British Standards (BSI) and came into effect in October 2008. The standard specifies requirements for the assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the life cycle of goods and services. PAS 2050 has already been applied by many companies worldwide.
The Greenhouse gas (GHG) Protocol is the result of a decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The GHG Protocol is a widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage GHG emissions. The GHG Protocol covers two standards that focus on life cycle GHG emissions:
- Product Accounting and Reporting Standard (expected release: 2011)
- Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard (expected release: 2011)
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is working on a standard for “Carbon Footprints of Products”. ISO 14067 will give requirements and guidelines for the quantification and communication of GHG emissions associated with goods and services. The standard builds largely on the existing ISO standards for life cycle assessments (ISO 14040/44) and environmental labels and declarations (ISO 14025) and is planned to be released in 2012.