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Flexo Sustainable : Fall 2011
Calculating Your Facility’s Carbon Footprint Greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon dioxide (CO2), absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range, trapping heat in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. For most printing/converting facilities, GHGs are primarily emitted from energy purchases (natural gas and electricity) and vehicles. They may also come from the use of refrigerants and on-site combustion. Together, these emissions from a facility are referred to as its carbon footprint. In manufacturing, the total amount of heat-trapping gasses emitted over one year is called the site carbon footprint and reported as the carbon equivalency in metric tons of CO2. A metric ton is 1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds. Frequently, printing facilities are being asked by their cus- tomers to disclose carbon emissions in an effort to demonstrate sustainability performance. In a FTA survey from late 2010, more than 27 percent of those companies with a sustainability program were also calculating their carbon footprint to some level. In general, companies often cite the following business goals as reasons for compiling a GHG inventory1: • Managing GHG risks and identifying reduction opportu- nities. • Public reporting and participation in voluntary GHG programs. • Participating in mandatory reporting programs. • Participating in GHG markets. • Recognition for early voluntary action. • Customer request. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, strategies can be devised to reduce it by technological developments and/ or better process and facility management. Calculating a carbon footprint will highlight the greatest areas of concern, where improvements might be achieved and determine long- term trends. Progressive businesses are using carbon foot- print figures in their decision-making process as they choose future products and services. For companies calculating their footprint for the first time, a baseline carbon footprint is established to analyze future trends and make comparisons to other, similar facilities. Gases that contribute to global warming include: • Carbon dioxide (CO2) - Created by burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Generated in flexo as a result of the use of air pollution control devices, such as catalytic oxidizers or regenerative thermal oxidizers. • Methane (CH4) - Created by livestock enteric fermenta- tion, paddy rice farming, land use and wetland changes, pipeline losses, and covered vented landfill emissions. 8 Sustainable FLEXO fall 2011 www.flexography.org
Spring Summer 2009
Year End 2011