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Explanation of Terms




(or "Carbon Dioxide Equivalent")

Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent. The GHG protocol standard categorises emissions depending on where they are generated.

7 greenhouse gases are tracked; CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6, NF3; summarised as the equivalent amount of Carbon Dioxide that would give the same warming effect or “CO2e”.

Actual Emissions

The total amount of all greenhouse gases produced in the year, usually summarised in tCO2e.

Net Emissions

The total amount of greenhouse gases produced in the year once the amount saved, avoided or offset has been taken into account.

Net Emissions = Carbon Footprint – Carbon Handprint

Carbon Footprint

The Actual Emissions produced in the year.

Carbon Neutral

The organisation has compensated for its emissions by purchasing offsets so that it has no net impact on the climate. To earn one of our Carbon Neutral certificates all emissions (from scopes 1, 2 and 3) must be compensated for.

Climate Positive

The organisation has helped it's suppliers or customers or other organisation(s) to save more greenhouse gas emissions than they produced themselves so that the net impact on the climate is positive.

Scope 1 emissions

The emissions produced directly in your facilities by your own operations. See our Calculate page for a more detailed explanation.

Scope 2 emissions

The emissions produced by your own operations but where the emissions occur elsewhere (this is usually the electricity you purchase). See our Calculate page for a more detailed explanation.

Scope 3 emissions

The emissions produced by your supply chain and your customer activities, where the emissions occur from sources you do not own or control. Although you do not directly control these emissions you can still influence them. See our Calculate page for a more detailed explanation.

Offsets Purchased

Purchases of Carbon Credits made to compensate the Carbon Footprint by saving emissions elsewhere. Whilst offsetting may be used to go Carbon Neutral it does not count towards Climate Positive status.

Carbon Credit

An investment in a project that reduces emissions of greenhouse gases elsewhere in the world. Each Credit saves 1 tonne of CO2e.

Renewable Energy

Energy created from non-fossil fuel sources (e.g. solar, wind, wave, heat-pump etc.)

Avoided Emissions

Activities done in the year to reduce other’s emissions. This may be from working with suppliers or customers to reduce their emissions, from reusing or recycling waste or from selling low-carbon products.

Low-Carbon Product

A product that produces lower emissions in use than the typically available alternatives (e.g. uses less electricity or creates less waste)

Carbon Handprint

The total amount of greenhouse gases saved in the year. This is the sum of the Emissions Avoided and the Renewable Energy & Offsets Purchased.

Emissions relative to size

(AKA "Emissions Intensity")

The Actual Emissions in the year for every million pounds of sales turnover. This gives a figure that can be compared to other businesses in the same industry sector.

Industry Sector Comparison

A comparison of the Actual Emissions of this organisation with others in the same industry sector. Expressed as a percentage above or below the industry average.

Industry Benchmark

A comparison of the organisation’s emissions with the average emissions of other organisations in the same industry sector.

Carbon Footprint History

The last 5 years of Actual Emissions produced by the organisation.

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21 Naunton Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucs, UK GL53 7BJ

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