Methodology for carbon footprint calculation towards sustainable innovation in intangible assets

Authors: Edurne Loyarte López Mario Barral Juan Carlos Morla

Date: 01.02.2020

Sustainability


Abstract

Calculating the carbon footprint is fundamental to understand how an organization s activities impact global sustainability. The main challenge is how to calculate it when environmental aspects are intangible assets. The present paper investigates in what ways the environmental effects of 13 aspects in relation with R&D activities in an applied research center could contribute to sustainable development. For this purpose, we described methodology to routinely measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and calculate the carbon footprint (CF) of all research activities related to intangible assets (R&D projects, researchers  knowledge and software libraries) with real-time data being provided. Selection of conversion factors to express all GHG emissions are described, in particular those related to air travel on account of its greatest contribution to CF. In addition, these data were used as a factor in assessing the environmental impact of the center, under ISO 14001. As a result, our center can manage its CF and make decisions about how to enhance sustainability awareness at all levels of the organization and gradually improve CF data, of which the main contributors were transportation and travel (66.4%) and electricity (33.1%) in 2018.

BIB_text

@Article {
title = {Methodology for carbon footprint calculation towards sustainable innovation in intangible assets},
journal = {Sustainability},
pages = {1629},
volume = {12},
keywds = {
Carbon footprint, Environmental impact, Innovation, Intangible assets, ResearchSustainability, awareness
}
abstract = {

Calculating the carbon footprint is fundamental to understand how an organization s activities impact global sustainability. The main challenge is how to calculate it when environmental aspects are intangible assets. The present paper investigates in what ways the environmental effects of 13 aspects in relation with R&D activities in an applied research center could contribute to sustainable development. For this purpose, we described methodology to routinely measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and calculate the carbon footprint (CF) of all research activities related to intangible assets (R&D projects, researchers  knowledge and software libraries) with real-time data being provided. Selection of conversion factors to express all GHG emissions are described, in particular those related to air travel on account of its greatest contribution to CF. In addition, these data were used as a factor in assessing the environmental impact of the center, under ISO 14001. As a result, our center can manage its CF and make decisions about how to enhance sustainability awareness at all levels of the organization and gradually improve CF data, of which the main contributors were transportation and travel (66.4%) and electricity (33.1%) in 2018.


}
doi = {10.3390/su12041629},
date = {2020-02-01},
}
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