Everyone’s heard the term “carbon footprint,” which measures the amount of carbon dioxide an individual, building, or business generates as a result of energy usage and other activities. But there’s a new term: Carbon handprint.

This phrase may more accurately describe the environmental impact of businesses and individuals.

What Is a Carbon Handprint?

At its most basic, a carbon handprint is the opposite of a carbon footprint. Instead of being a measure of the carbon dioxide a business generates, a carbon handprint is a measure of the climate-positive activities the business engages in.

So, instead of calculating the carbon impact of the energy used by a business’s headquarters, a carbon handprint would take into account actions that are focused on making a positive impact, such as:

  • Offering remote or hybrid work
  • Replacing old HVAC and electrical systems
  • Re-evaluating delivery routes to avoid long-haul drives
  • Opting for electric or hybrid vehicles

If a business makes enough climate-positive moves, they could all add up to cancel out the organization’s carbon footprint.

How Does a Carbon Handprint More Accurately Measure a Business’s Impact?

Many businesses committed to decreasing their carbon footprint stop when they get at or near carbon neutrality. They call their efforts “good enough” and don’t make any other strides to help slow the tide of climate change.

A carbon handprint, however, can go farther. Even a business that’s at carbon neutrality when it comes to reducing emissions can continue to build a larger carbon handprint by stacking up climate-positive actions.

Additionally, some businesses may never reach carbon neutrality, simply because of their industry. They can cut back all they like but, because of the machinery they need to operate, for example, they’ll never reach zero.

Being able to build a carbon handprint allows them to focus on positive actions that can help offset the carbon they need to produce in order to stay in business, rather than looking at what they can’t do. A carbon handprint is a more accessible way for businesses to engage in actions that are positive for the climate, adding up their gains and making an impact.

What Actions Contribute to a Carbon Handprint?

If your business is looking to do more than just continually cut back on emissions-producing activities, investigating some things to build your carbon handprint may be the perfect choice.

Some actions that can contribute to your carbon handprint include:

  • Working with suppliers to encourage carbon neutrality, such as optimizing delivery routes
  • Creating and selling low-carbon products
  • Swapping to electric or hybrid vehicles whenever possible
  • Encouraging work from home or hybrid schedules
  • Recycling or reusing materials, such as paper or aluminum
  • Decreasing the amount of packaging you use to ship products
  • Run an afforestation campaign, which contributes to planting trees 
  • Investing in companies and projects aimed at reducing emissions
  • Advocate for climate-positive policies and laws

Energy Auditing for Businesses

At EMAT, it’s our goal to help businesses become as carbon neutral as possible while also increasing their carbon handprint. Part of that is knowing where you stand with your current energy usage. To do that, use EMAT Field Auditor. You’ll get an accurate reading on your energy usage without all the time and frustration of a traditional pen-and-paper audit. Call EMAT today!

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