Love HeartWood’s Journal

Calculating Your Micro-Business’ Carbon Footprint

by | Mar 6, 2024 | journal, sustainability

Want to calculate your business’s carbon footprint but don’t know where to start? I hope this description of how I navigated the experience can be of help, especially if like me you operate a micro-business. Despite the fact that my employees consist of myself and a self emplyed VA it’s important for me to know what my business’s environmental impact is. This is because sustainability and being in harmony with nature is core to Love Heartwood. Every aspect of my work from materials, suppliers, to design, is built upon sustainable principles and longevity to move beyond the Western world’s disposable culture.

Love Heartwood was founded to provide an alternative to the take-make-dispose model, and I am committed to creating toys that connect children with their natural world and demonstrate how we can live in harmony with nature.

So, what is Love Heartwood’s carbon footprint?

In total the business’ carbon footprint was measured at 0.747 tonnes of CO2e. To put this in context an average walrus or giraffe Iighs 1 tonne.

Why did I work out my carbon footprint?

As a responsible business I wanted to baseline my carbon footprint, in line with the adage – you can’t manage what you don’t measure. I knew due to how I operate, I would have a low footprint, however I wanted to know what to measure and in which areas.

I decided to make 2022 the first year for me to calculate my carbon footprint and my baseline. I also enlisted some help. This came from the patrons of Blue Patch, Naturesave Insurance, who run a free sustainability support service funded by the Naturesave Trust, and delivered by pro-planet-and-people consultancy, Positive Impacts. With the support of Positive Impacts I worked through my footprint using the software designed by Compare Your Footprint – ideal for small and micro SME’s.

Bluepatch logo
Blue Patch logo
Positive Impacts logo
Compare your Footprint logo

How I worked out my carbon footprint.

Starting off measuring your first carbon footprint can at first appear a bit daunting – where does one start? The Compare Your Footprint software has a very user-friendly interface, with drop-down prompts for the sort of information you need to enter, such as £s spent or km driven. There are eight greenhouse gases and they can come from multiple sources, so essentially you are comparing apples with pears to create a final single unit of measured carbon, called CO2e – in technical terms, the carbon dioxide equivalent.


The Compare your Footprint calculator

What I included

Year one of your carbon footprint calculation will always be the most difficult, as it is all new. The best place to start is to first see what information you already have in your accounting system, as most the carbon calculators will ask you for spend data.

The software calculator will then take the amount of money spent on an item or a service and convert this to a carbon calculation using a conversion figure from the DEFRA carbon calculation figures.

Another term I had not come across before was the 15 reporting categories that are grouped under three “scopes”. Energy mee and energy generated falls under scope 1 and 2, and the rest of my reporting is under scope 3. scope 3 can make up 90% of a business’ footprint, so getting scope 3 reporting right is really important.

For the year of 2022 I included the following areas based on what I could access via my accounts system.

Scope 1 – Direct emissions – Emission from my own passenger vehicles

Scope 2 – Energy – Electricity

Scope 3 – Upstream – Purchased goods and services        

Scope 3 – Upstream – Business travel

In total my footprint was 0.747 tonnes of CO2e. To put this in context an average walrus or giraffe Iighs 1 tonne.

As you can see from the Emissions disaggregated by custom category, my advertising spend is my biggest impact – which was a surprise.

A screenshot of the calculator’s report showing the amount of carbon per Scope.
A screenshot of the calculator’s report showing the emissions by categories.

What I didn’t include

The areas I didn’t include were down to the fact I did not have the right input data for the calculation. This is very common for organisations who may find they need to change how they record emissions input data in their accounts to make it transferable to a software calculator. Also, every business is different and not all 15 reporting categories will not be relevant to them. So, for next year I pledge to record in the following areas.

Scope 3 – Upstream – Waste generated in operations

Scope 3 – Downstream – Downstream transports

What I will do next

The reason I wanted to calculate my carbon emission is so I have an accurate record of where my biggest impacts are and what I can do to reduce them. As a Blue Patch member and SME Climate Hub signatory I also want to make my results public. Furthermore, as an Ethy certification holder I want to encourage other businesses to follow suit.

In conclusion

If you are thinking of mapping your personal or business carbon footprint my advice is start small. Report on what you have available to you at the time, identify areas you cannot report upon, and pledge to address this in your next year’s reporting process. This does mean that initially your footprint will appear to grow annually as opposed to shrink, as you are expanding what you are reporting upon. However, once you are reporting on all areas of your business and acting to reduce the targets you’ve set these will start to reduce.

It may seem a bit daunting being such as new area, but the key is to break your footprint down into small and manageable steps and take it one at a time – just like learning to walk. The most important thing is to show that your business cares by getting started and taking action. So take the pledge at and SME Climate Hub  then visit Compare Your Footprint to get started.


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