In this series, Jennifer Gumpert, our VP of Business Development and Operations, walks us through material terms and concepts that are used frequently, but not always understood. This week: carbon footprint.
According to the World Health Organization, a carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the amount of Carbon Dioxide produced through the burning of fossil fuels. The CO2 contribution is expressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in a unit a measure known as tons. Through our consumption of fossil fuels, CO2 – the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities – traps heat near the earth’s surface. Calculating one’s carbon footprint is a means to measure one’s contribution to global warming. Our day-to-day activities, such as commuting to work, traveling for leisure, the types of electricity we use, the food we consume and even the products we purchase, are all part of our individual contribution to CO2 levels.
Measuring one’s carbon footprint is tricky business because our direct indirect actions all affect our carbon footprint. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 45% of our personal activities contribute to our individual Carbon Footprints – with the remaining 55% impacted by products we buy, and services rendered on our behalf.
It is because of the extremely complex nature of global business and consumerism, with each element of our consumption impacting CO2 contribution, that Carbon neutrality has become so important to individuals and corporations alike. Because to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions will require a concerted and holistic effort if we ever hope to slow down global warming.