Carbon footprints are a way of accounting for the total greenhouse gases (GHG) caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product.
The most common GHG is carbon dioxide (CO2), which makes up 81% of UK GHGs.
- Other GHGs such as methane (CH4) or nitrous oxide (N2O) are measured in ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ (CO2e), which takes into account the diverse effects different gases have on the environment.
A wide range of activities produce GHGs. For carbon footprinting purposes these tend to be broken down into 5 sectors:
We have made two carbon footprints: one for the County as a geographical area, and the other for us as an organisation. We are using these as a baseline so we can measure our success.
The County of Cambridgeshire
The latest carbon emissions data from the UK Government shows that carbon emissions just from the county of Cambridgeshire were 6.78 million tonnes CO2e in 2021. Around 27% of this was from transport, whilst 23% was from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and 14% from agriculture. The high emissions from LULUCF are mainly due to the large amount of peatland in the county.
If in a good condition, peatland can take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it. But if damaged, peatlands can release their stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
Cambridgeshire has around 27% of England's total peatland, but accounts for 70% of the wasted (damaged) peatland in the country.
The Council's carbon footprint
As an organisation, we have our own carbon footprint. This comes from the operations we undertake to provide our services to our communities.
We collated data on as many of our operations as possible, and followed the International Greenhouse Gas Protocol and government's environmental reporting guidelines to calculate our carbon footprint. We were unable to get some of the data for indirect emissions from our supply chain, but are working on getting more of this in the future.
The carbon footprint is updated annually to monitor progress. Each year, we also recalculate all previous years’ emissions, using improved methods and better data wherever we can. These annual carbon reports can be viewed below.
Full reports are available to download below.
|Gross Emissions Total
185,621 tonnes CO2e
173,935 tonnes CO2e
|69,664 tonnes CO2e
|81,742 tonnes CO2e
|99,104 tonnes CO2e