The ABCs of Carbon Accounting

What exactly is carbon accounting, why should you care, and how do you start ? Here’s everything you need to know (including a 7-step plan).

Siemon Peeters
Growth Marketer
March 30, 2024

As sustainability is claiming its space on corporate agendas, companies start embracing carbon accounting as the backbone of their corporate sustainability journey. Yet, what exactly is carbon accounting, why should you care, and how do you start? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Carbon Accounting?

Just like financial accounting helps businesses keep track of financial transactions, carbon accounting provides insight into their carbon footprint. It’s a systematic approach to measure, reduce, and report the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a business, throughout the entire value chain – from supply chain operations (upstream activities) to the disposal of produced goods or any facet related to provided services (downstream activities).

Greenhouse gas emissions: 3 scopes

  • Scope 1: direct emissions from an organization's owned operations, including company-owned vehicles and buildings.
  • Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling.
  • Scope 3: all other indirect emissions generated throughout an organization’s value chain.
GHG Protocol scopes and emissions across the value chain

Carbon accounting will become an indispensable tool as your organisation prepares to comply with regulations and frameworks, such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and EU taxonomy. More than that, it underpins your sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship.

Why you should start with carbon accounting today

1. Unveil new business opportunities

By proactively starting with carbon accounting you are sure to leapfrog many of your competitors. It signifies a steadfast commitment to sustainability, appealing to eco-conscious consumers and investors while uncovering new business opportunities.

2. Improve your brand image

Customers, employees, investors, and all other stakeholders expect businesses to be transparent about their carbon emissions. By supplying accurate environmental impact data through carbon accounting, you’ll meet their expectations. More than that, you’ll improve your brand image so you’re bound to win new fans.

3. Reduce costs

Additionally, you’ll save cost over time, as you’ll spot ways to cut energy consumption, minimize waste, enhance operational efficiency, and conserve natural resources.

4. Anticipate on risks

Organizations not engaging in carbon accounting expose themselves to diverse risks, including financial vulnerabilities and reputational harm. Identifying emission hotspots and implementing effective reduction strategies will help you reinforce your company's long-term resilience.

CSRD and EU Taxonomy

While we rather stress the opportunities of carbon accounting than zooming in on the obligations, the EU Taxonomy Regulation and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) are speeding up the need for businesses to engage in carbon accounting. Check out our dedicated CSRD blog and whitepaper to learn more about the CSRD.

How to get started, in 7 steps

Not sure how to embark on your carbon accounting journey? Careful planning and a step-by-step approach will get you there. Here's a detailed guide to kickstart your journey:

1. Gather data

Data is key to identifying your sustainability opportunities, monitoring progress, and reporting. Make sure to collect as much available emission data as possible within – and even outside – your organization, spanning all scopes (scope 1, 2, and 3) and sources.

TIP: Consider investing in a robust data management system to streamline the data collection process. Instead of relying on labor-intensive spreadsheets, a dedicated carbon management platform will streamline your data collection efforts and save you and your team precious time. Book a demo and discover Futureproofed.

2. Calculate your emissions

Once you’ve assembled the data, apply the relevant emission factors to determine your organization's greenhouse gas emissions. The formula for this calculation is straightforward:

Emissions (measured in tCO₂e) = Business Activity Data x Emission Factor.

TIP: Here too, a dedicated carbon management platform proves invaluable at this stage, as it offers connected, verified emission factor databases that save substantial time. Interested? Book a demo of our platform.

3. Assess risks and opportunities

Identify emission hotspots within your organization and explore opportunities for emission reduction or elimination. This initial assessment will serve as the foundation for your carbon reduction strategy.

4. Set clear, quantifiable goals

Determine emissions targets: clear, quantifiable carbon reduction goals that will provide direction throughout your journey and help you benchmark your progress. Make sure your objectives are aligned with the Science Based Targets initiative and the Paris Agreement so you don't have meaningless goals or face accusations of greenwashing.

5. Launch reduction strategies

Develop and execute action plans to mitigate emissions. Strategies may encompass initiatives such as energy efficiency upgrades, the transition to renewable energy sources, or supply chain optimization.

6. Engage stakeholders

Effective communication is paramount. Actively engage with key stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and suppliers to foster trust and garner support. Be transparent about successes as well as failures!

7. Keep monitoring and reporting

Regularly monitor emissions and track your progress toward your carbon reduction goals. Report consistently to underscore your commitment to transparency and accountability.

The time is now

Carbon accounting is not a trend or a hype. It’s an indispensable practice for forward-looking businesses that want to thrive and remain relevant in the future. Kickstart your  carbon accounting journey today and take proactive steps to gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You are sure to grasp a plethora of new business opportunities!

Ready to work with Futureproofed on your carbon accounting journey?

Our team at Futureproofed can assist you to develop your corporate sustainability strategy based on a systemic approach and an intensive trajectory, creating sustainable value for your organisation and the society at large.

For further information, book a demo.



Talk to an expert

Related articles

The latest news, technologies, and resources from our team.

Corporate Carbon Footprint: How to calculate and reduce your company’s carbon emissions

Your corporate carbon footprint is an important first step to understanding your company’s impact on the planet. Learn what a carbon footprint is, how to calculate it, and the steps to carbon reduction in your company.
Stef Vervaet
June 25, 2024

How carbon sequestration fits into your city’s climate plan

Explore how carbon sequestration transforms your city's climate goals. Learn its benefits for cleaner air, economy, and sustainability. Dive in now!
Ides Peeters
April 23, 2024

Climate Plan: In BW Builds a Community Around Futureproofed

To reduce CO2 emissions, François Lejeune brings together 20 municipalities in the Walloon Brabant region around the Futureproofed platform. Draw inspiration from their story!
Julie Colback
November 10, 2023

PCAF: how to kickstart your journey

Kickstart your PCAF journey in 3 steps: determine your asset class, collect the relevant data, and then measure financed emissions. Read how we help.
Stef Vervaet
March 27, 2023

Ascorium accelerates its net-zero journey with Futureproofed

Triggered by a question from a big automotive customer, Ascorium embraced Futureproofed software to accelerate its net-zero journey. Read why and how.
Stef Vervaet
March 20, 2023

PCAF standard: financial leaders against climate change

The PCAF standard to disclose financed emissions inspires more and more banks, insurers, investors and other financial institutions to take climate action.
Stephanie Van Breedam
February 9, 2023

Reducing the carbon footprint at Astra Sweets - one gummy bear at a time

Candymaker Astra Sweets chose Futureproofed to help them reduce their carbon footprint. The benefits: intuitive software and an always-available team.
Stephanie Van Breedam
January 4, 2023

Supporting Novasol Chemicals on the road to sustainability

Read why and how chemical distribution company Novasol began calculating their carbon footprint and defined their sustainability roadmap, together with Futureproofed.
Siemon Peeters
November 10, 2022

Corporate Carbon Tax: The Impact On Business

A corporate carbon tax is looming on the horizon. This is what businesses need to know to prepare.
Stef Vervaet
October 4, 2022

50 global cities join in a unique collaboration between Futureproofed and WWF

50 cities, including Jakarta, Paris, Quito, Lund, Louisville and Istanbul, representing 80 million inhabitants are joining FutureproofedCities as part of the WWF’s One Planet City Challenge (OPCC). Collaboration is key to helping cities globally make the climate transition. Driving climate action is complex - and the best digital tools can help cities kickstart change
Serge de Gheldere
January 27, 2022

D’Ieteren Immo: A sustainable real estate company driven by innovation

We’re proud to have partnered with D'Ieteren Immo to transform their sustainable real estate vision into a strategy and actionable steps.
Stephanie Van Breedam
April 9, 2021
Man working at desk
Olivia Rhye
20 Jan 2024

UX review presentations

How do you create compelling presentations that wow your colleagues and impress your managers?
Man pinning images on wall
Olivia Rhye
20 Jan 2024

UX review presentations

How do you create compelling presentations that wow your colleagues and impress your managers?
Desk with computer
Olivia Rhye
20 Jan 2024

UX review presentations

How do you create compelling presentations that wow your colleagues and impress your managers?

Choose Futureproofed

Equip your business or city with the expertise and tools needed to build a more resilient and sustainable future.