As per academic scholars, there is no concrete definition of carbon footprint. The term has been most often used by the meteorologists or general public in debates to combat global warming or climate change threats or issues.
As per Carbon trust, 2008, carbon footprint is defined as “the total set of GHG emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product”.
The carbon footprint can be used to define the GHG emission for flights flying across the countries or the specific countries in tonnes of CO2 e. The “e” stands for “equivalent” which means the footprint is composed of several different greenhouse gases that have been converted into equivalent CO2 quantity to show emissions of all in a single number.
The carbon footprint has also been defined as a methodology to estimate the entirety of the full amount measurement of the GHG emissions from specific products running on the aforementioned life-cycle. It is the process running from an initial unprocessed material stage to the final finished product stage.
The different emission sources for Carbon footprint are electricity, gas, company-owned vehicles, business travel, waste, and refrigerant gas loss.
The need of carbon footprint is for numerous purposes:-
- Greenhouse gas emissions are being publicly reported.
- Emission reduction by setting up a target.
- The contributing activities are identified in the carbon footprint.
- Measuring the changes in emissions over time.
- The monitoring of the emission reduction effectiveness in different activities.
- Emission offsets are necessary to know the number of reduction credits in the purchase.
The carbon footprints are categorized into organization assessments, product assessments, and other types of carbon footprints assessments.