RES’ Carbon Footprint and Project Register Tool for SMEs
As part of our 50 Shades of Green conference in October 2015, Clare Wharmby (Zero Waste Scotland) told us about the RES Carbon Footprint and Project Register Tool for small businesses which is part of a suite of tools for carbon management and planning which are available free and can be downloaded from the RES website.
- Enter any data you have available for the current year. Estimates are fine if you are missing data but for anyone already preparing to report emissions to Creative Scotland you will already be collecting this data. The spreadsheet will help you to get unit costs to understand how much your current arrangements are costing you e.g. cost per mile travelled; cost per day of running your venue etc. It will calculate the associated emissions as well and generate a diagram showing your footprint.
- Analyse your current footprint. For future years, look at your carbon reduction opportunities and set reasonable targets for reductions. Don’t be too ambitious. It’s better to be realistic.
- Using unit costs means you can have more meaningful targets when comparing busy years with quieter years.
- Consider ways you could make a change to lower your emissions. This can be anything from changing equipment to encouraging changes in the way people behave and the way you run your organisation. Enter projected figures for new capital costs and running costs and the tool will help you to work out any financial and emissions impacts compared with your current arrangements.
- Where the changes produce cost savings (which they commonly do) the tool will help you calculate your rate of return and payback period for any extra costs.
- The tool will provide footprint diagrams to allow you to compare your current footprint with any future footprint if you make your proposed changes
- Make sure you define and record the scope of the data you have included within your footprint so that you don’t forget when things change in future years.
A video is also available on how to use the tool here:
Carbon Footprint Forecast and Projects Tool – Video User Guide from Zero Waste Scotland on Vimeo.
By using this easy and quick approach you can try out your ideas, plan for the years ahead and decide on the most worthwhile things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
Some important things to consider:
- If you are considering making changes, make sure you engage everyone involved beforehand including all board members, artists, audiences, staff, users.
- Make the message clear and appropriate for different groups to explain how it affects them
- Make it clear what the costs are and any resource that would be needed. Even behaviour change is not free if more time or training is needed.
- Make the benefits of any changes clear so that you can get buy in from everyone involved.
- Use the diagrams and information supplied by the footprinting tool to help explain your strategy.
- When you do make changes make sure you tell everyone involved about the impacts in emissions and costs saved.
Some final advice from Clare:
Although your plan might cover a few years in the future, don’t be afraid to change it as you see new opportunities or don’t get the results you were hoping for. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t achieve your targets but try and understand why. It’s a good idea to review your plans annually to cope with changes in your business, incorporate new ideas and become more ambitious to build on any successes.