What is your Footprint?

The first step along the road (every long journey starts with a small step, as Mao Tse Tung said) is to measure your footprint, by using a tool that calculates the amount of Carbon that you emit or consume. This is a complex area as you need to calculate Carbon or Greenhouse Gases, the amount you consume or the amount you emit, whether you include what you cause in other countries due to buying clothes and mobile phones from China. What is much more important is to recognise what in your life or organisation causes the problem and then take action to reduce it. We will point up the actions you can take in this section.

Here are some links to some useful tools.

World Wildlife Fund.

WWF have produced a simple tool that gives you a pictorial image of your Carbon Footprint. It asks you questions about your lifestyle and then breaks down your carbon consumption into four areas – Home, Food Travel and Stuff. It also has useful tips on how you can start to reduce your Carbon Footprint. We recommend this tool as part of our Carbon Tracking process as it is easy to do, and the data can quickly be collected.


Pawprint’s tool is designed to engage employees within an organisation and get them to measure their footprint. You can download an App to your mobile phone to enable you to track your carbon emissions. It breaks down emissions by Home, Travel, Diet, Other and gives good tips on how to reduce your footprint, and log actions.


CarbonFootprint.com’s calculator is also excellent for providing a more detailed analysis of your carbon footprint as an individual or as a household. There is also a tool for businesses. It asks you relatively detailed questions about your House, Flights, Car, Motorbike, Bus and Rail Travel, and “Lifestyle” and gives you a good summary measure.

Carbon Savvy.

Carbon Savvy’s site provides a 1 minute, 5 minute and 45 minute calculator. The 5 minute calculator is easy to fill in allowing you to click on multiple choices. It asks for how much you spend on clothes, gas and electricity, and then comes up with a good summary of your overall carbon footprint. It breaks down your footprint into Energy, Transport, Flights, Food, Goods and Services, and Infrastructure. It has a useful actions page.

Giki Zero.

Giki Zero’s site provides a comprehensive site to measure and log your carbon emissions, and translates it into an overall score in terms of how good you are in managing carbon emissions. It gives a good guide on things you can do, and allows you to plan actions to reduce your footprint. Good graphics to help support your activity.


Carbon Independent’s tool gives you a one page sheet or filling in details by household (to share out the data on electricity) and then asks individual consumption questions on travel etc. Gives a summary at the simple comparison against UK/World averages which useful.

Cool Farm

Farmers might like the Cool Farm Tool. This tool allows you to analyse carbon emissions by product type (Crop or Livestock). You will need to set up an account.


The World Wildlife Fund has produced a very useful document on how to measure, what to measure and when to measure for small, medium, and large businesses.

Parish/Town councils

Exeter University developed the Impact tool through the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The tool aims to give small communities (parish and town councils) usable data on their carbon emissions that is easy to understand and share. This will help communities work out their main “impact areas” – those places where focused action can make the biggest contribution to cutting local emissions. It is based n the Parish Level and then adds up to the county level.

This screenshot shows the details you can get for Shrewsbury and Shropshire Council.

The council should use it then to work out local Parish/Town Council consumption and then drive local community action to tackle the main areas of carbon consumption or emission.

Scope of Emissions

The subject of emissions is complicated (as usual) by how organisations define them. There are Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions. Scope 1 is roughly what you directly emit. You heat your home using gas, then that is Scope 1. It covers what you “consume” and what you directly control.. Scope 2 is what is emitted in the process of creating the energy you buy – thus at Power Stations, and along the grid or pipeline sending the energy to you. Scope 3 are all indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting entity, including both upstream and downstream emissions. So if you buy a mobile phone which is made in China, then scope 3 would cover the amount emitted in making the mobile phone.

We should be aware that the government, in making its targets and reports, does not include Scope 3 emissions. It is worth seeing this video from the Guardian relating to Scope 3 impact. The government quotes a figure of around 6 tonnes per person, whereas the total figure is around 13.4 tonnes per person.

Carbon Dioxide omissions from George Monbiot and Leo Murray