Measuring your carbon footprint is useful in several ways:
- It gives you an understanding of the size of your environmental impact.
- That will hopefully then give you the motivation to reduce it, and you’ll know where you’re starting from. You may even want to set yourself a carbon reduction target.
- The calculator also shows you the relative size of emissions from different areas of your life or business. This allows you to focus your efforts on the areas with the biggest potential to reduce emissions.
- You can measure each year to track your reduction.
Our Sustainable Living Guide is a great place to start, with lots of advice for reducing your carbon footprint. Much of this is relevant to businesses as well as households. We work closely with other organisations who can provide both advice and funding, and our guide will signpost you to them and also to other useful advice online.
We also regularly organise interactive events where you can ask us questions. Keep an eye on our events page and in our newsletter for what’s coming up.
Source: How Bad Are Bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee
Carbon offsetting is where you invest in a project to reduce or capture carbon outside of your life or business, to compensate for the emissions that you have not yet been able to eliminate.
It has been a bit of a controversial area. Some people feel that it morally ‘lets people off the hook’ and allows them to carry on polluting. There is also concern about how reliable some of the offsetting programmes are. However, others believe that, given the urgency of the climate crisis, investing in carbon reduction projects elsewhere, alongside your own reduction efforts, is an essential part of the solution to combat climate change.
CAfS recognises the role of offsetting as part of a range of measures needed to ensure Cumbria can achieve net-zero carbon by 2037. However, reducing emissions is the priority and offsetting should only be used to offset your carbon emissions that are currently unavoidable.
If you are considering offsetting, it is important to make sure that you choose a scheme that is high quality and independently verified. Carbon Footprint Ltd, which produced our calculators, runs its own offsetting programme, and there is a link to it via the calculator. This is completely optional and we would encourage you to first review the information about the programme on its website to help you decide whether it is something you wish to invest in.