As you might remember, we decided that our main priority for this year would be to understand and reduce our impact on the environment. We have been fortunate enough to secure some funding to recruit a ‘sustainability champion’, a geography graduate from the University of Sheffield to help us begin the work of calculating our current carbon footprint.
We also decided at the beginning that we would be entirely transparent about what we were doing and that we would share our methodologies and learning along the way. We have seen first hand how complex and overwhelming this work can be and I’ve spoken to plenty of other small businesses about how this complexity can make it hard to get started.
We all know that this stuff is important though, right? So, whilst I appreciate that many of you may not be interested in the level of detail that we are going to be sharing, I also hope that in being open about it all, we will help other businesses to make a start on this work for themselves.
Now, over to Eleanor to talk about the first bit of data we have gathered…….
According to the Office for National Statistics (2019), road transport accounted for approximately a fifth of total UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017. This is why we are looking at our own employee commuting data which includes how we travel to work and our resultant carbon footprint. See below for Foundry Coffee Roasters’ figures.
Our calculations are based on official data released by the UK Government on GHG emissions per car type and size, in order to gain the most accurate measurements. In order to achieve these results, mode of transport and type/size, annual commuting distance and work frequency of each employee are taken into account, with reference to UK Government statistics (see references) to measure annual figures.
Note that this information is for March 2020 to April 2021.
*1. This accounts for the electricity used to charge the electrical battery in the Electric Vehicle (EV), at 0.08097 kgCO2e/mile. Note 0 kgCO2e is emitted per mile of driving an EV. Note that both EV are charged at home and not on the business premises’.
*2. This is a combination of both average kgCO2e/mile in a petrol sports car and an EV, where a sports car accounts for 0.39052 kgCO2e/ mile and the charging of an EV is 0.08097 kgCO2e.
As shown above, the majority of our workers commute via walking, this contributes 0 kgCO2e to the total annual average. The only mode of transport emitting GHG is from the use of an EV and petrol car, resulting in the overall yearly figure of 298.68 kgCO2e.
It is clear, that commuting to work in any road vehicle contributes to our carbon footprint in some way, meaning that in order to reduce our transport emissions as a business we could convert from driving private cars to walking to work or indeed using public transport, which would further minimise our GHG emissions.
The amount of annual GHG emitted commuting via an electric car is very minimal compared to an average standard sized petrol car. According to the UK Government (2021), an EV emits 0 kgCO2e/ mile when driving, however GHG are released from the electricity required to charge the electrical batteries in the cars, equating to an average of 0.08097 kmCO2e/ mile. In comparison, a typical sized petrol car emits 0.27944 kmCO2e/ mile, which is significantly greater than commuting via an electric car.
If you as an individual or business would like to find out more about how to calculate your own commuting carbon footprint or would be interested in exploring any insightful resources please click the links below:
DEFRA's database of UK vehicle emissions can be found here.
Calculate your own personal carbon footprint here (used to calculate walking related emissions).
Office for National Statistics data on road and air transport emissions can be found here.
The IPCC paper on global warming can be found here.
Work undertaken by Eleanor Bragg on behalf of Foundry Coffee Roasters.