Carbon Footprint Assessment (11 Steps): Carbon Footprint Calculator for Business

Woman looking at cars, food, computers and a carbon footprint and calculator with a question mark on it thinks about doing a carbon footprint assessment to find out her carbon emissions for travel, diet and internet use.

The journey to a net zero business starts with a well-mapped-out carbon footprint assessment.

Using steps that are outlined to pinpoint areas of your business that generate the most emissions, learning how to calculate the carbon footprint of a company is simplified with a footprint assessment based on the unique structure of your business model.

The purpose of a carbon footprint assessment is to measure the total amount of GHG emissions produced during the different phases of a product, service, or activity’s life cycle.

Since this includes everything from materials acquisitions to operations and disposal, the footprint can be hard to calculate without a guide. Once the carbon footprint is calculated businesses, especially in the fashion industry can consider carbon offset programs like Fashion Forward Hero Carbon Offset.

This complete carbon footprint assessment guide explains how they work, and outlines 11 steps that any business can use to approximate their impact on the planet and purchase carbon removal offsets to erase that footprint.

Carbon Footprint Assessment Methodology

The carbon footprint assessment methodology relies on 11 steps:

These are as follows:

  1. Setting objectives (apart from reducing emissions)
  2. Choosing products that need assessing
  3. Requesting that suppliers be part of the process
  4. Drawing up a process-driven map
  5. Deciding on priorities
  6. Collecting relevant data
  7. Calculating the carbon footprint (using a simple carbon footprint calculator)
  8. Checking for uncertainty
  9. Ensuring the validity of results
  10. Taking steps to reduce GHG emissions
  11. Sharing the calculated footprint and working on further reductions.

When researching how to become carbon neutral business, the first step to implement must always be a carbon footprint assessment.

After the carbon footprint assessment has been completed, the following steps should be implemented:

  • Benchmarking (comparing established carbon footprint to relevant industry averages)
  • Target Setting (establish long-term goals and carbon reduction targets)
  • Strategy to reduce carbon emissions (considering all three emission scopes)
  • Offsetting carbon footprint (choosing offset programs and projects to assist in reaching net zero status)1

Business carbon Footprint Calculator

Life Cycle Assessment Carbon Footprint

A life cycle assessment carbon footprint is not, in fact, a single concept.

A life cycle assessment refers to more than one area of assessment, relating to environmental impact via business activities. For instance, water pollution and land deforestation. All life cycle assessments must be conducted according to ISO 14040 and 14044.2

A carbon footprint assessment refers to the life cycle assessment of a product, action, or entire process.

Considering the above, it is clear that a life cycle assessment is far more intricate than a simple carbon footprint calculation, or the answer to the question, what is a carbon footprint.

A life cycle assessment includes the below stages:

  1. Raw materials used for manufacturing
  2. Processing activities
  3. Transport related to shipping
  4. Retail and customer usage
  5. End of life/waste

Considering the above stages, the below product model life cycles apply:

  • Cradle to Cradle
  • Cradle to Grave
  • Cradle to Gate

The preparation of a life cycle assessment for a business requires the following important steps to be followed:

  • The inclusion of all departments: Management, Product Design And Manufacturing, Sales/Marketing, and the entire supply chain.
  • Goal & Assessment Scope: This step is all about the product, company, or service that needs measuring. During this step, it must be determined what system will be used for measuring, and what type of impact will be measured (ecological, water, air, etc.). It must also be established what will be excluded from the assessment.
  • Inventory: This step determines the data that needs to be collected, which includes raw materials, energy purchases, and consumption, as well as data related to suppliers.
  • Assessment of Impact: Step three looks at the summary of the environmental impacts of the inventory, including the potential for global warming exacerbation in the form of CO2 emissions.
  • Interpretation of Data: The fourth and final step collates the information gathered during steps 1-3 and sets up the following questions:
  1. Exactly how high are the CO2 emissions?
  2. How do the products and services compare to that of competitors and can they be improved?
  3. Can improvements be made to existing processes?3

Carbon Footprint Assessment Report

The final carbon footprint assessment report should be disclosed to the CDP (carbon disclosure program) and should include the climate impact reduction strategy, targets for reducing emissions, as well as existing emissions figures.

Carbon Footprint Assessment Training

There are several carbon footprint assessment training courses available, both online and in person, which are facilitated by a certified carbon footprint assessor.

These types of training courses usually provide a carbon footprinting certificate or carbon management certificate.

Carbon Footprint Quiz

A carbon footprint quiz is valuable for gathering information during a carbon footprint assessment.

The below questions are commonly found on such a quiz:4

Carbon Footprint Scope (Business) Figure in tCO2e Exclusions Has Data Been Verified Independently (State Standard Used in Assessment)
Scope 1
Scope 2
Scope 3 (goods and services that have been purchased)
Scope 3 (capital goods)
Scope 3 (fuel and other types of energy consumption not included in Scope 1 and 2
Scope 3 (transport and distribution) (upstream)
Scope 3 (waste generated during business activities)
Scope 3 (travel related to business activities)
Scope 3 (travel related to employee commute)
Scope 3 (leased assets) (upstream)
Scope 3 (investments)
Scope 3 (Transport and distribution) (downstream)
Scope 3 (Processing products that have been sold)
Scope 3 (Sold product usage)
Scope 3 (end-of-life process of products sold)
Scope 3 (leased assets) (downstream)
Scope 3 (franchises

In addition to these questions, a carbon footprint assessment also includes questions about fossil fuel consumption:

  • Heating Value of Fuel (Type)
  • Unit of Measure
  • Quantity of Fuel Consumed
  • Verified Data

These questions relate to all types of fuel including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal, and fuel oil.

A carbon footprint calculator (free) can also be used when determining a small or large business carbon footprint.

Popular online carbon footprint calculators (free) include:

  • Carbon Trust SME Carbon Footprint Calculator (best for SMEs)
  • GHG Protocol Calculator (best for large businesses and governments)
  • SME Climate Hub – Business Carbon Calculator (best for SMEs)
  • (best for SMEs and large companies)
  • ecocockpit (best for SMEs)
  • TerraPass Carbon Footprint Calculator (best for individual carbon footprint calculations, SMEs and large businesses)5

When it comes to individual carbon footprints or answering the question, what is my carbon footprint, the carbon footprint calculator EPA is a great tool to use.

The carbon footprint calculator EPA calculates a carbon footprint using the three most carbon-intensive areas:

  • Household energy consumption
  • Personal transportation
  • Waste generation.

Carbon Footprint of Data Centers

The carbon footprint of data centers around the world is as follows:6

Graph that shows the Carbon Footprints of Data Centers

Country Data Center Emissions Factor (g of CO2e/h)
Indonesia 2.68347 g of CO2e/h
Australia 2.5201 g of CO2e/h
India 2.51315 g of CO2e/h
South Africa 2.19609 g of CO2e/h
Hong Kong 2.17598 g of CO2e/h
Salt Lake City 1.95004 g of CO2e/h
Taiwan 1.88052 g of CO2e/h
South Korea 1.87704 g of CO2e/h
Japan 1.82142 g of CO2e/h
Mumbai 1.79611 g of CO2e/h
Chennai 1.79611 g of CO2e/h
Pune 1.79611 g of CO2e/h
South Carolina 1.738 g of CO2e/h
Bahrain 1.73226 g of CO2e/h
Singapore 1.71367 g of CO2e/h
Las Vegas 1.70672 g of CO2e/h
Iowa 1.665 g of CO2e/h
Netherlands 1.64762 g of CO2e/h
Northern Virginia 1.33131 g of CO2e/h
China 1.31339 g of CO2e/h
Illinois 1.1167 g of CO2e/h
Germany 1.10884 g of CO2e/h
Georgia 1.05478 g of CO2e/h
USA 1.04169 g of CO2e/h
Texas 1.22535 g of CO2e/h
England 0.89333 g of CO2e/h
Arizona 0.89009 g of CO2e/h
California 0.89009 g of CO2e/h
Wyoming 0.89009 g of CO2e/h
Los Angeles 0.86205 g of CO2e/h
Ireland 0.80165 g of CO2e/h
Belgium 0.6813 g of CO2e/h
Finland 0.62916 g of CO2e/h
Italy 0.55139 g of CO2e/h
Canada 0.49707 g of CO2e/h
Brazil 0.37888 of CO2 e/h
France 0.12306 of CO2 e/h
Sweden 0.01893 of CO2 e/h

Carbon Footprint Of Wind Turbine Construction

Wind power is generally considered to be very green. However, the wind turbines required to generate wind power do come with their own, albeit small, carbon footprint:

The carbon footprint of wind turbine construction is as follows:

  • The carbon footprint of wind power is estimated to be 99% less than a coal-fired power plant.
  • The carbon footprint of wind power is estimated to be 98% less than that of natural gas.
  • The carbon footprint of wind power is also estimated to be 75% less than that of solar power.

In addition to this, wind turbines produce 11g of carbon emissions per kWh of electricity generated. This is compared to:

  • 44 grams/kWh for solar power
  • 450 grams/kWh for natural gas
  • 1,000 grams kWh for coal7

The life cycle assessment for wind power includes the following factors:

  • Goals and Scopes
  • Inventory
  • Impact Assessment
  • Results and Reporting

The life cycle assessment scope is laid out as follows:

Flow chart of Life Cycle Assessment of Wind Power

Carbon Footprint Of Nuclear Power

The carbon footprint of nuclear power is surprisingly small. It has even been estimated that the use of nuclear power only could cut global CO2 emissions in half.

  • Nuclear power is responsible for 12g of CO2 per kWh of electricity.
  • Coal Fired power is responsible for more than 70x the amount of CO2 compared to nuclear power.

Related Reading: Nuclear Energy Credits and the Growing Carbon Marketplace: Where Do They Stand?

The below table indicates the carbon footprint of nuclear power compared to the carbon footprint of other sources of energy:

Source of Energy CO2 Emissions (gCO2 Per kWh)
Coal 820 gCO2 Per kWh
Biomass (Co-firing) 740 gCO2 Per kWh
Natural Gas 490 gCO2 Per kWh
Biomass 230 gCO2 Per kWh
Solar Panels {Utility) 48 gCO2 Per kWh
Solar Panels (Roof) 41 gCO2 Per kWh
Geothermal 38 gCO2 Per kWh
Solar (Concentrated) 27 gCO2 Per kWh
Hydropower 24 gCO2 Per kWh
Nuclear Power 12 gCO2 Per kWh
Wind Power (Offshore) 12 gCO2 Per kWh
Wind Power (Onshore) 11 gCO2 Per kWh8

Bar graph that shows the CO2 Emissions of Sources of Energy

Currently, nuclear power makes up around 10% of energy generation worldwide. The top nuclear power-producing countries are:

  • USA: 790 GWh per year
  • China: 345 GWh per year
  • France: 339 GWh per year
  • Russia: 202 GWh per year
  • South Korea: 153 GWh per year
  • Canada: 92 GWh per year

The life cycle assessment of nuclear power is as follows:

Nuclear Power Life Cycle Stages Carbon Footprint Per Stage
Building stage Some carbon emissions are produced during the construction of a nuclear power plant, as well as during the mining and processing of uranium and transporting of nuclear fuel.
Operating stage Almost no carbon emissions are produced during operation.
Building back stage Some carbon emissions are produced during the deconstruction stage of a nuclear power plant as well as during the transportation of radioactive material.

While the operating stage of nuclear power does not produce CO2 emissions, the disposal of nuclear waste is a massive problem that must always factor into the carbon footprint of nuclear power calculation.9

Carbon Footprint Of Lithium-Ion Battery Production

The carbon footprint of lithium-ion battery production is as follows:

  • The impact of lithium-ion batteries is estimated to be 73 kg CO2 per kWh
  • The production of a lithium-ion battery (40 kWh) produces 2920 kg of CO2
  • The production of a lithium-ion battery (100 kWh) produces 7300 kg of CO2

Lithium-ion batteries are comprised of three components:

  • Battery cells
  • Battery management system
  • Battery pack

The battery pack is made from aluminum which is responsible for 17% of the entire battery’s carbon footprint.

The mining, conversion, and refining of materials related to the battery cells are responsible for 40% of the battery’s impact on the climate.

The production of the cells is responsible for 20% of the overall CO2 footprint of the battery.10

Carbon Footprint Assessment

As mentioned above, business carbon footprint assessments can be done using online carbon footprint calculators. The best carbon footprint calculator for business purposes is one that keeps the calculations simple but produces valuable results.

Along with a variety of business carbon footprint calculator, there are a wide variety of student calculators available online. These include a simple carbon footprint calculator for kids, a choice of the best carbon footprint calculator for students, as well as a carbon footprint calculator for students’ worksheet.

When it comes to purely environmental impacts, there is also the option of an ecological footprint calculator.

Company Carbon Footprint Calculator

A simple company carbon footprint calculator requires the following inputs:

  • Location
  • Business sector
  • Number of facilities
  • Number of employees
  • Annual revenue
  • Facilities area in square feet

The calculator then calculates travel, facilities space, and procurement after which it produces results relating to transport, fuel usage, facilities, and procurement in the form of a footprint per employee, footprint per $ million, and footprint per 1000 square feet.

Industrial Carbon Footprint Calculator

An industrial carbon footprint calculator requires inputs relating to fuel consumption (in MMbtu):

  • Coal consumption
  • Natural gas consumption
  • Petrol consumption
  • Mobile fuels consumption

The carbon fee per ton is calculated ($) and multiplied by the total tons of CO2 which then equals the total carbon fee.11

Carbon Footprint Calculator For Business

A carbon footprint calculator for business requires the following inputs:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Number of sites or offices
  • Number of employees on site
  • Number of employees working remotely
  • Number of business flights per employee
  • Electricity usage per month
  • Renewable energy sources for purchasing clean energy
  • Energy efficiency of office12

A carbon footprint assessment for the calculation of a business carbon footprint can be done manually or with the help of various online carbon footprint calculators specifically designed for this purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions About Carbon Footprint Assessment

What Is Carbon Footprint Assessment?

A carbon footprint assessment is meant to measure the total amount of GHG emissions produced during the various stages of a product’s life cycle.

How To Determine My Carbon Footprint?

A personal carbon footprint is the total number of GHG emissions generated by several different activities and actions.

What Carbon Footprint Quiz Means?

A carbon footprint quiz is meant to gather information regarding carbon-emitting activities and calculate the total amount of CO2 emissions, namely the entire carbon footprint.

How To Calculate Carbon Footprint Of A Company? (How To Measure Carbon Footprint Of A Company)

The carbon footprint of a company is measured using the following calculation:

Activity Data x Emission Factor = Carbon Footprint

Where Can I Find Carbon Footprint Report Example?

A carbon footprint report example can be found here.

What Is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is the total amount of GHG emissions produced by human activities.

What Is the Carbon Footprint Calculation?

Simple carbon footprint calculations are as follows:

  • Multiply a personal monthly electricity bill by 105
  • Multiply a personal monthly gas bill by 105
  • Multiply a personal monthly oil bill by 113
  • Multiply yearly car mileage by .79
  • Multiply the number of flights in one year by 1,100
  • Add 184 to the total for zero newspaper recycling
  • Add 166 to the total for zero aluminum and tin recycling
  • Add steps 1 and 8 together to calculate the carbon footprint

How Can I Use Business Carbon Footprint Calculator?

To calculate a business carbon footprint using a business carbon calculator, the activity or consumption data should be multiplied by the relevant emission factor.

How Can I Use Company Carbon Footprint Calculator?

A company carbon footprint calculator needs the following data:

  • Sources of Emissions
  • Quantities of Emissions

It will then calculate an estimated footprint that can be offset or reduced.

How Can I Calculate Carbon Footprint Calculator Flight?

A carbon footprint calculator for flights usually requires simple information such as:

  • Round trip or a one-way trip
  • Economy or first class
  • Layover or not

The emissions per flight are then calculated in CO2 kg per km.


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3Ecochain. (n.d.). Quick guide to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) What’s the environmental impact of my product / company / service? Ecochain. Retrieved from <>


5Climatiq. (2022, May 5). Free Carbon Footprint Calculators for Businesses: An Overview | Insights & Sustainability. Climatiq. Retrieved from <>

6Climatiq. (2022, April 21). Measuring greenhouse gas emissions in data centres: the environmental impact of cloud computing | Insights & Sustainability. Climatiq. Retrieved from <>

7Forbes. (n.d.). Home. Forbes. Retrieved from <>

8Smoot, G. (n.d.). What Is the Carbon Footprint of Nuclear Power? A Life-Cycle Assessment. Impactful Ninja. Retrieved from <>

9Smoot, G. (n.d.). What Is the Carbon Footprint of Nuclear Power? A Life-Cycle Assessment. Impactful Ninja. Retrieved from <>

10Freitas, C. (n.d.). What is the environmental impact of lithium batteries? Changeit. Retrieved from <>

11CarbonSolutions. (n.d.). Industrial Carbon Emissions Calculator. CarbonSolutions. Retrieved from <>

12Brightest. (n.d.). Business Carbon Footprint Calculator – Free Tool to Estimate a Company’s CO2 & GHG. Brightest. Retrieved from <>