Ready, Set...Goal!

CorporateFootprintThere's certainly a lot of buzz these days about Organizational or Corporate Footprinting. And with good reason: an organizational footprint serves as a compass for identifying the most important directions and actions for your sustainability efforts. Moreover, a corporate footprint delivers a map of your organization's hot-spots so you can make resource allocation decisions based on facts, not assumptions. And ultimately, a robust organizational footprint helps you set meaningful and achievable goals.

First, you need to get a good grasp of the lingo. An organizational environmental footprint (OEF) is synonymous with corporate footprint. The distinction can apply to an entity doing the work when it is an organization versus a company. A corporate environmental footprint uses life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to measure and manage the environmental impacts of the entity's activities along its full value chain. Read more about LCA and Life Cycle Thinking.

The set of environmental issue areas being considered also defines the scope of a corporate footprint. Examples can be a corporate water footprint or a corporate carbon footprint. Companies may choose to measure these indicators in order to report to disclosure initiatives such as CDP Carbon and/or CDP Water, which will be releasing the public scores of these programs in the coming weeks. Companies now understand that a robust corporate footprint is key to improving Scope 3 reporting, especially since 10% of CDP scoring depends on whether Scope 3 emissions are reported or not. 

Before launching into an organizational footprint, you'll need to make sure that your company makes some decisions on what you'll need in your footprint toolbox. Here are some strategic questions for consideration:
  1. What will my company measure? This decision should be based on type of business, objectives set, reporting regime(s), and/or stakeholder interest. A Materiality Assessment can provide valuable insightful.
  2. What standard or guideline should we follow and/or report to? This may also support the answer to #1 and impact #3. A Benchmarking exercise can serve as a guide if you are jumping into reporting.
  3. What methodology and tools should we choose? This depends on what your company will measure and/or communicate. An expert can help guide you in the right direction. Quantis works with softwares SimaPro and Gabi in addition to Quantis Suite 2.0. But, if you're looking to get started, one option is the Scope 3 Evaluator, a free web-based tool developed by GHG Protocol and Quantis.
  4. Which database is appropriate? A database can create efficiencies in the process, especially if transparent, secondary data will be good enough for the level of detail needed. For major hot-spots or focus environmental impact areas of your organization, primary data may need to be collected. Some of our specific database developments include the World Food LCA Database and the Quantis Water Database. If you are in the textiles or apparel industry, contact Rainer Zah for details on this new database development in this sector.
  5. What knowledge or expertise will ensure the quality of the results? Whether you have the internal expertise or you need to seek external support, it is essential to embed robust quality control into the process. This can be done by a Critical Review of work done in-house or by seeking support from the experts in LCA and Corporate Footprinting from Quantis.
  6. How do I unlock the value beyond the numbers? The possibilities are endless. Don't let your valuable numbers sit on a shelf to collect dust. Leverage the data to create value! Learn how we did this with Accor, Mondelez and Coty in our webinar or in this article on corporate footprinting.

Quantis collaborates with our clients with the entire process - from strategy development, to measurement to communication - or coming in at various steps. With Farmer Bros, a US-based foodservice coffee and restaurant supplier, we worked with their in-house sustainability team on Strategy Development, Corporate Footprinting, Materiality Assessment, Benchmarking and more. Read the Farmer Bros Case Study to get insight into this process.

The end game is achieving our sustainability objectives. Before those objectives can be achieved, and even before the process gets kicked-off, goals must be set.
Quantis worked with UEFA Euro 2016 to set its ambitious sustainability goals. We worked with UEFA to deliver guidance and measurement of its triple-bottom line assessment and to produce the  "UEFA EURO 2016 Social Responsibility & Sustainability Report 2015". They chose to go beyond a basic carbon footprint to a more robust environmental footprint, addressing climate change as well as consumption of natural resources, biodiversity and human health.
What are your sustainability goals? Let's set them together or work out a plan to reach your objectives. Contact our corporate footprint expert Jon Dettling to position your next shot.
LCA iconWorkshopSoft & ITSustainability ManagementComm
COP-21COP21: Hop on The Road to Paris

With COP21 just around the corner, many companies have been amping up their sustainability strategies. Many of these organizations will take advantage of the buzz to highlight their existing strategies and goals around carbon reductions and others may announce new ambitions goals and actions . These businesses will join governments in Paris to establish a new global path to address the challenge of climate change. And more than ever, businesses are driving policy and have an essential role in COP21.
Understanding the changes that these companies need to implement to address the challenges of climate change all begins with taking stock of their corporate carbon footprint. At Quantis, we've been working for the past decade on advancing full value-chain corporate footprints as a key means for helping companies see the big picture of their influence on key environmental issues and chart out the most effective strategies for improvement. The improved quality of data and methodology as well as the development of science-based targets are key elements of why many companies will be more able to take a meaningful and well-informed stance on these issues compared to a decade ago.
Are you on The Road to Paris? Contact Quantis to discuss how to position your company as an active leader in sustainability.
Sept 30, Lausanne
Sarra Harbi and Denis Bochatay will lead this day of workshops (in French) that will take a look at the Circular Economy in Switzerland as well as "Shared Workplaces"

LCA XV: A Bright Green Future
Oct 6-8, Vancouver
Join Sebastien Humbert and Jon Dettling at this key life cycle assessment conference in North America that will unite 300 professionals. Drop by our booth to meet Seb and Jon.

Oct 12-13, Cologne
Reconciling consumers' expectations with sustainability in the food is the topic Michael Spielmann will tackle during a workshop.

Ecosense: PEF-Quo Vadis?
Oct 20, Berlin
Michael Spielmann will bring his experience to two panels on the status of the PEF Pilots and on Methodological Challenges and Data Availability.

Sustainable Cosmetics Europe
Oct 21-23, Paris
Learn about some innovative work Quantis is doing with some of the industry's top beauty and personal care brands.

UEFA EURO 2016: One-Year-to-Go Report
Guidance on key triple-bottom-line issues and the event's environmental footprint

Farmer Bros: Environmental Strategy
Mature measurement and reporting strategy to drive action plans 

World Food LCA Database: LCA & Communication
Phase One delivered over 900 datasets for robust LCAs and communications

Cotton Inc: Water & Toxicity Footprints
Driving decision-making, measurement / reduction, and stakeholder engagement

WBCSD: Sector Specific EPD Tool Development
Cement and concrete industry tool to support companies to prepare EPDs

Pernod Ricard: Water Footprint
Global water footprint for fact-based strategy development and setting priorities
Case Study 

How to apply water footprinting considering water scarcity and degradation?
by Anna Kounina

The  ISO 14046 standard published last year provides key principles, requirements and guidelines to evaluate a  water footprint; however the standard left some experts in our field wondering how to start evaluating the water footprint of a product. In line with the ISO 14040 - 14044 standards, the ISO 14046 does not provide a specific methodology. Quantis' Anna Kounina tackled this question to boost our own expertise as part of her Phd thesis. The work was the result of a collaboration between the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Quantis and it explores the question of water footprint applicability from two main perspectives:
  1. For methods addressing water scarcity, good practices were identified among the existing state-of-the-art, as a part of the WULCA project,
  2. For methods addressing toxic emissions into water, operational spatial approaches were developed to improve the applicability of spatially differentiated methods and ultimately LCA discriminatory power.
For more information or to read more about this work, please visit the Quantis Blog dedicated to LCA Practitioners or contact Anna Kounina directly.
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