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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Carbon Footprint

Open any new publication and you are sure to find a reference to carbon footprint and the impact that this footprint has on the environment, from destroying the polar ice caps to altering the weather. There is little doubt that the evidence is irrefutable; mankind has done some real damage to the planet and its ecosystems.

What is a carbon footprint and what is a carbon neutral company?

Your carbon footprint is the amount of C02 (Carbon dioxide) that you and your business are putting into the environment. The direct causes are business activities including manufacturing, processing and service industries, also leisure activities and our own homes. We can all reduce this impact by using less electricity, gas, oil and water and by buying materials locally to cut down on transportation. Flying less, driving smaller cars, recycling and buying food that is in season all have a positive impact on your carbon footprint. However don't think that recycling has no effect on the environment because there is a carbon cost to recycling although less than manufacturing a new item.

If you are carbon neutral you are offsetting the amount of carbon dioxide you produce by providing (or getting others to provide) a positive impact on the environment. Tree planting is a good way to offset carbon dioxide production as is the use of renewable energy from wind, solar power or wave power and the use of renewable sources of fuel such as sugarbeet, oilseed and all other bio-fuels. If you can balance the amount of CO2 produced by these offset methods you are considered to be carbon neutral.

If this is part of a comprehensive environmental management system such as ISO14001 the rewards are even greater.

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