How to measure your Corporate Carbon Footprint as a Cosmetic Company

How to measure your Corporate Carbon Footprint as a Cosmetic Company

Nov 1, 2023

Getting Started with Carbon Emissions

Carbon Footprinting can seem extremely complicated, and in some instances it is. But we’re here to help explain it, and we don’t even charge by the hour.

Carbon emissions and how to measure them are defined by the GHG Protocol.

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by an organization, like on-site fuel combustion and industrial processes.

  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heat, or steam used by the organization.

  • Scope 3: Indirect emissions from activities not owned or controlled by the organization, including supply chain, commuting, business travel, and product lifecycle.

Scope 3 emissions are the largest scope by far and they are the most difficult for most companies to measure.

They are broken down into 15 sub-categories to further clarify them.

Upstream refers to activities prior to the formation of the finished goods, while Downstream refers to activities that occur after the good’s creation.

How to calculate emissions in each of these categories is defined in the GHG protocol.

Make it Simple

For a company that makes things, the total carbon footprint is the sum of the company’s Product Carbon Footprints*.

This makes sense intuitively.

If I’m a company which makes 1000 bottles of shampoo, the emissions derived from all that activity will be my corporate carbon footprint. Allocation of carbon to each product is necessary.

This image shows that different stages of a product’s creation are allocated to different sections of a corporations carbon footprint. Source.

Clarification and Examples

We were only telling 99% of the truth above when we said knowing your Product Carbon Footprints is the same as knowing your Corporate Carbon Footprint.

There are other calculations that go into a corporate carbon footprint. Business travel, and employee commuting for example, are also a part of a corporate carbon footprint, but for a cosmetic company, those categories represent a tiny-fraction of the overall emissions.

Take these three different cosmetic companies and their emissions reports.

For L’Oréal in 2020, business travel amounted to 0.33% of total emissions. Employee commuting amounted to 0.59% of total emisisons.

Emissions relating to production, distribution, use, and end of life of their products amounted to 97.08% of all emissions.

This is the same for other large cosmetics companies.

Shisedio’s business travel and employee commuting in 2021 amounted to 0.15% and 0.48% respectively, while emissions relating to products are 98.57% of total emissions.

For Beiersdorf, over 99% of their emissions relate to their products.

What is a Product Carbon Footprint?

How much carbon can be attributed to the creation, shipping, use and disposal (or recycling) of a single product.

Calculating a Product Carbon Footprint requires Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) techniques and data. One must consider every element of the product’s life cycle, including raw materials, usage, and end of life.

These stages look familiar when you compare to the Scope 3 categories above.

A typical cosmetic product's footprint can be seen here.

For a corporation to conduct thorough carbon-accounting, they must calculate the Product Carbon Footprint’s for their entire portfolio of products.

Changing the Status Quo

Most companies rely on consultants to estimate product footprints and over-sell the complexity of the corporate carbon footprint. Remember, if you know your products footprint’s, you know your corporate footprint.

Fairglow can calculate Product Carbon Footprints in a flash, resolving the data into the appropriate categories for carbon accounting and reporting.

Collect the most relevant data for your organization, analyse your emissions, get AI assistance with your carbon reporting requirements, and learn how to reduce your footprint, all in one place.

Contact us at Fairglow today to start your carbon accounting process!

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