Future Earth
Global Carbon Project (GCP) Home

Make an inventory for carbon emissions

While boundaries determine the edges of a carbon footprint, the inventory defines what is contained inside it.

A survey of the entire footprint of an activity is needed to find opportunities for carbon emission reductions and determine which are the high emission activities.

After boundaries are set defining the extent of emissions responsibility and calculations are set up to approximate the tonnes of CO2 equivalent impact, an inventory of activities needs to be completed. An offset provider is selected and their online calculators for air travel and electricity impact are applied throughout the audit, both for emissions and offset costs. The activities, impacts and offset costs are analyzed and offsets are purchased where funding can be allocated. The process needs to be reviewed to inform project committes and stakeholders about the procedures to integrate carbon neutral practices into future proposals and budgets.

Basic guidelines for preparing a CO2 inventory

  • decide what is most relevant to core operations
  • undertake a complete audit to justify why emissions are or are not included
  • be consistent so that there can be comparisons over time
  • make the process transparent by noting methodologies and important assumptions
  • use the most precise calculations available.
Pino SPd (2002) Working 9-5 on Climate Change: An Office Guide. In. World Resources Institute