Conducting a carbon footprint has emerged as a key priority for numerous organizations seeking to assess and enhance their environmental impact. The expense associated with conducting such audits frequently poses a challenge for businesses. Although the cost of a carbon footprint can fluctuate based on several factors, there exist various strategies for mitigating these expenses.
How much does a carbon footprint cost?
On average, a carbon footprint costs between €2,000 and €20,000.
The cost of a carbon footprint varies according to several factors:
- the size of your company
- the complexity of your business
- the number of employees
- the level of accuracy of the carbon footprint,
- the service provider chosen to carry it out.
The cost of a carbon footprint carried out by an external consultancy firm can vary from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of euros:
- €5,000 for a carbon footprint of an SME for scopes 1 and 2,
- €10,000 for a carbon footprint of an SME for scopes 1, 2 and 3,
- €20,000 and more for large companies.
This wide range can be explained by the fact that a small business with simple operations requires a very different analysis effort than a large multinational company with a complex supply chain.
It is preferable to use a SaaS solution, such as D-Carbonize, to carry out your carbon footprint. This type of tool offers several advantages, including a collaborative approach to data collection, the ability to make comparisons between different calculation years and to track the reduction in your emissions. In this case, the cost of your carbon footprint depends on the type of calculator you choose. The price of a licence ranges from €1,500 to €10,000 per year, to which should be added the consultancy costs explained above.
How can I reduce the cost of a carbon footprint?
Although the price of a carbon footprint may seem high, there are several ways of reducing this cost.
Some public organisations offer grants and subsidies to support and encourage companies to carry out their first carbon footprint. These grants can sometimes cover up to 75% of the cost of a carbon footprint, or give access to preferential rates. The eligibility criteria for these subsidies vary from country to country.
In Belgium, companies can benefit from various subsidies depending on where they are based. A “consultancy bonus” programme is available for small and medium-sized companies based in the Brussels region. This bonus can cover between 40% and 60% of the cost of the external assignment up to a maximum of €10,000 per calendar year. This allowance can be claimed for a carbon assessment carried out by an external consultant.
In Wallonia, the circular economy business voucher can also be used to finance 75% part of the cost of a carbon footprint. This cheque entitles the company to a grant of up to €45,000. The company’s share must amount to 25% of the total cost of the assignment. You can apply directly online.
In France, since 1 January 2022, ADEME has been offering the DIAG Décarbon’action. This programme, run in conjunction with BPI, enables SMEs to carry out their first carbon assessment at a lower cost. Eligible companies are SMEs that have never carried out a carbon assessment and have fewer than 500 employees. The cost of the carbon footprint varies according to the size of the company:
- €4,000, if the company has fewer than 250 employees,
- €6,000 if the company has between 250 and 499 employees.
The carbon footprint is carried out by an expert appointed by ADEME and the Bilan Carbone Association.
Use of monetary data
To reduce the cost of carrying out a carbon footprint, it is also possible to use balance sheet data instead of using the data for CO²-emitting activities, such as kWh of electricity. In this case, the cost of these activities in euros will be converted into CO²-equivalent using monetary emission factors.
This method complies with the various CO² accounting standards but is not widely recommended. It makes it possible to reduce the price of consulting because the carbon balance sheet can be produced much more quickly. However, the result obtained by using monetary emission factors is unreliable and the carbon footprint is less accurate.
Internalising data collection
The third way of reducing the cost of a carbon footprint is to internalise data collection and production. In this case, an in-house team must be set-up to carry out the carbon footprint, rather than calling in an external consultant.
Carrying out the carbon footprint in-house offers several advantages:
- Lower costs: this considerably reduces direct costs, as you don’t have to pay the fees of a consultant.
- Better control over the process: by carrying out your carbon assessment in-house, you gain a better understanding of your carbon footprint and the avenues you can explore to reduce your carbon footprint.
However, it should be noted that bringing your carbon footprint in-house requires a certain amount of expertise. You will need to invest in training your staff or hiring new employees with the necessary expertise. In the long term, this solution is more cost-effective than hiring an external consultant every time you need to perform a carbon footprint.
It is also possible to adopt a hybrid approach, where some of the work is executed in-house, while external consultants are hired for the more technical parts. This solution is ideal for companies with complex operations that are looking to cut costs.
The decision as to whether or not to carry out the carbon assessment in-house depends on several factors, such as available resources, in-house expertise, time and, of course, budget.
Performing a carbon assessment can represent a certain investment. That said, the economic benefits for the company far outweigh the costs involved. It’s a process that requires time and resources, but it also offers many benefits. Not only can it help your business reduce its carbon footprint and comply with regulations, but it can also give you a competitive edge.
So, how much does a carbon footprint cost? The answer is: it depends on the size of your business, the complexity of your operations, and how you choose to carry out the assessment. With D-Carbonize, you can execute your carbon assessment easily and accurately, and consider the best ways of reducing your carbon footprint.
Reduce your company’s carbon footprint by booking a demo with our experts at D-Carbonize.