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Methodology

Tapio follows the same calculation method developed by standard international frameworks for corporates such as the GHG Protocol, ISO 14064, or the Association Bilan Carbone (ABC).

Greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases

The greenhouse effect is a natural occurring phenomenon which allows heat to be trapped by gases in the atmosphere close to Earth’s surface and maintain a suitable temperature for life of around 15°C.

It occurs through so called greenhouse gases (GHGs), which are gases with the ability to absorb and re-emit radiations from the Sun.

Natural GHGs

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Most of the GHGs come from natural sources. Natural GHGs include water vapor (H₂O), or water in a gas form, and is derived from evaporation which forms cloud and rains back on Earth; this is part of the natural water cycle. Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is present everywhere; it comes from living organisms (respiration) and volcanos.

Methane (CH₄) may come from various sources but mainly cattle and wetlands.

Ozone (O₃), is a gas created up in the atmosphere after a chemical reaction with dioxygen (O₂) and sunlight. The well-known ozone layer helps protect us from harmful UV light coming from the Sun. Finally, Nitrous oxide (N₂O) is a natural part of the Nitrogen cycle and is made up by bacteria, mostly from our oceans.

Anthropogenic GHGs

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However, since the industrial revolution, human activities have released huge quantities of these gases in the atmosphere, changing Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and producing global warming.

Moreover, new sources of GHGs have appeared. These potent man-made gases are known as fluorinated gases. They damage the Ozone layer letting more UV light coming through and have a powerful greenhouse effect.

There are four types: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF₃).

GHGs common unit

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The Tapio tool allows you to estimate the quantity of industrial GHGs emitted by your organization’s activities.

To do so, all greenhouse gases considered are reduced to a common unit: the CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e). To translate these gases into CO₂e, a unit called the Global Warming Potential (GWP) is used.

Taking CO₂ as a reference allows easy conversion and comparison of the impact of these gases in the atmosphere (e.g., CO₂ = 1 GWP and CH4 = 25 GWP, thus 1kg of CH₄ = 25kg of CO₂e).

Main GHGs

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Stays 100 years in the atmosphere.
Comes mainly from fossil energy consumption, deforestation/land use changes, industrial processes.


Methane (CH4)

Stays 12 years in the atmosphere.
Comes mainly from transport and consumption of gas, enteric fermentation or organic waste, waste treatment.
1 ton of CH4 = 28 tons of CO2 equivalent


Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

Stays 114 years in the atmosphere.
Comes mainly from the use of chemical fertilizers.
1 ton of N2O = 265 tons of CO2 equivalent


Fluorinated Gases (FGs)

Stay centuries in the atmosphere.
Comes mainly from leaks from cooling and refrigeration systems, production of insulation foam.
1 ton of CFCs >1000 tons of CO2 equivalent

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What is the extent of a carbon report?

The first step to make a carbon report is to define the extent of the latter; in other words, targeting and characterizing the possible sources of GHGs emission from the organization.

To do so, boundaries must be fixed beforehand by the reporting company.

Organizational boundaries

The organizational boundaries gather information about the control (operational or financial), ownership, legal agreements, joint ventures, etc., to be considered in the carbon report.

Defining the organizational perimeter can be a difficult task for complex organizations with, for example, shares in or control of another organization.

You can find out more about setting-up organizational boundaries by clicking here.

Operational boundaries

The operational boundaries, as for them, gather information about the on-site and off-site activities, processes, services, and impacts to be considered in the carbon report.

The objective is to take into account all the sources of GHG emissions on which the company depends to carry out its activities (whether they are direct or indirect).

With these boundaries in mind, the accounting can begin. Emissions are then reported into 3 different scopes.

Scope 1

Direct GHG emissions

scope1

Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the organization, such as: combustion of stationary and mobile sources, non-combustion industrial processes, ruminant emissions, refrigerant leaks, biomass, etc.

Scope 2

Indirect energy emissions

scope1

Indirect emissions associated with the production of electricity, heat or steam imported for the organization's operations.

Scope 3

Other indirect emissions

scope1

Other indirect emissions produced by the organization's activities that are not accounted for in Scope 2 but which are related to the complete value chain such as: business travel, commuting, inputs, waste, inbound and outbound logistics, …

Emissions categories

GHGs emissions from the three scopes are themselves divided into 23 categories, allowing a better tracking and identification of emissions hotspots.

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Emissions drivers

To simplify the understanding and visualization of a carbon report, Tapio has created “emissions drivers” that regroup emissions sources by “sections”.

Sections are made by common attributes and the same levers of reduction for the related emissions sources, which are themselves customizable by the client. There are 7 drivers, click on the link below if you want to discover what sections and emissions sources our drivers gather.

How are CO2 emissions calculated?

The principle of GHGs emissions quantification for an organization is simple, for each emission source, the following calculation is performed.

Activity data
x
Emission factor
=
GHG Emissions
(Ton CO2e)
ACTIVITY DATA
activity-data
The activity data from a company corresponds to the quantity of a specific product or service (e.g., amount of kWh of electricity used, numbers of cars, tons of product etc.).
EMISSION FACTOR
emission-factor

The emissions factor is specific to each activity data and therefore allows to convert the activity data into the quantity of CO2 equivalent emitted (for example: Burning 1 litre of petrol=2.3 kg CO eq).

These emission factors are available in various carbon databases such as, among others, the ADEME database or the IPCC.

GHGs emissions are then added together to calculate the total and disclose the distribution of emissions by scope and categories.

UNCERTAINTY

The calculation of emissions is accompanied by an uncertainty in the result inherent in the collection of data and the development of emission factors, each of which is a component of the above calculation.

ACTIVITY DATA

The uncertainties related to the activity data are allocated by the user of the tool or by the tool according to the quality of the provided data.

To guide the choice, the uncertainty on the activity data can be standardized as follows.

Type of dataUncertainty
Direct internal data (invoices or meters)5%
Internal data processed (e.g. conversion)10%
Internal data obtained on the basis of hypothesis20%
Internal data not available, data obtained on the basis of a benchmark.50%
EMISSION FACTOR
Uncertainties related to emissions factors(UFE) are directly defined by the Bilan Carbone® methodology or the GHG protocol methodology.

The total uncertainty of an emission source is defined by:

UPost = √(UFE2)+(Udata2)

UFE: the uncertainty on the emission factor
UData: the uncertainty on the respective data at each position
UPost: the overall uncertainty of the position

UPost is then multiplied by the emissions (in CO2e)of the source concerned.

The product of the uncertainties of each source and the emissions of each corresponding source gives the total uncertainty (in CO2e).

Note that the confidence interval used in GHG inventories is 95%; this confidence interval is the interval centered on the value retained for a data in which it is 95% likely that the true value of this data is included.

How is our "solution generator" built?

Tapio has developed a solution generator which make a matchmaking between a source of emission and a solution to reduce the relative emissions. The generator is fed by our solutions marketplace.

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