Your Carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted which were induced by you during a given period, usually a year, expressed in tons of Carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent.
The greenhouse effect is a warming of Earth’s surface and the air above it. It is caused by gases in the atmosphere that trap energy from the Sun and earth (when the earth cools at night) and then radiates it in all directions. These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases. Many greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, such as CO2, Methane (CH4), Water vapour (H2O), and Nitrous oxide (N2O), and together create a natural greenhouse effect. (Greenhouse gases have three or more atoms in their molecules unlike Oxygen (O2) and Nitrogen (N2) which have only two). However greenhouse gas emissions created by man, are adding vast amounts of CO2 and smaller amounts of CH4 and N2O to the atmosphere as well as synthetic gases such as the Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
These gases are released during the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, to produce electricity
In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the distance driven. When you heat your house with fossil fuels or when you run Air Conditioners and fans or for that matter anything that uses electricity that is not clean power, then you have helped generate Greenhouse gases. When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods as well as the storage and transport also emit some quantities of CO2. Use of paper which is mainly made of wood pulp deprives the earth of trees that absorbs CO2.
The Greenhouse gas (GHG) Protocol defines Direct GHG emissions as emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by you or your entity and Indirect GHG emissions as emissions that are a consequence of your activities or your entity, but occur at sources owned or controlled by others.
The GHG Protocol further categorizes these indirect emissions into two.
The first indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam and the second other indirect emissions, such as the extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, transport-related activities not owned or controlled by you , electricity-related activities (Transmission and Distribution losses for instance) and those not covered in the first category ie. outsourced activities, waste disposal, etc.
How can you help reduce your Carbon footprint and help reduce Global Warming?
Do not waste electricity and water, cut down those unnecessary trips and of course reduce the amount of paper you and your entity use.
Saving paper can be achieved by digitization. However one must be sure that the Software does not just reduce paper but virtually goes paperless.
Two such examples are iOM HRPro for Human Capital Management and iManage for Leave, Purchase Orders & Expense Management where you can digitally complete the entire process without printing a single paper.