Why not ónly the carbon footprint is important

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The risks of a carbon tunnel vision in a sustainability strategy

When we talk about the climate crisis, chances are that you immediately think of smoking chimneys on industrial sites or airplanes. This means that you link climate change directly to greenhouse gases and that is not surprising. There is even a name for this concept: Carbon Tunnel Vision, a term introduced by Jan Konietzko of Cognizant.

CO2 cloud

With carbon tunnel vision, the bottom line is that when you think of climate change you only think of CO₂ emissions. This is not necessarily a negative thing, since the carbon footprint forms the largest part of the environmental footprint of many companies. However, there are risks involved in focusing only on the carbon footprint, because the environmental footprint is more comprehensive than just CO₂ or climate.

Read on to find out what the risks and solutions are of a Carbon Tunnel Vision in your company's sustainability strategy.

The difference between the carbon footprint & environmental footprint

The carbon footprint and environmental footprint are often confused or seen as the same thing, but there is a big difference. Although both types of footprint can be calculated by means of an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), only an environmental footprint takes into account all types of impact that a company can have on the environment. A carbon footprint only focuses on all greenhouse gas emissions, expressed in kilograms of CO₂ equivalents (kg CO₂-eq).

In this article we will tell you more about the difference between the carbon footprint and the environmental footprint.

Carbon Tunnel Visie: risico’s en oplossingen

Carbon tunnel vision, people inspecting CO2 footprint

Carbon tunnel vision in your sustainability strategy can lead you to focus too much on one problem. A consequence of this is the exclusion of other relevant impact results from your company that may also have a major impact on the environment.

In addition, reduction efforts can actually increase the impact of other impact categories. Perhaps you can reduce emissions during the production of your product by making the switch from fossil to biobased raw materials. However, this can lead to additional land use or additional use of pesticides and fertilizers, which has a negative impact on biodiversity and local ecosystems.

It is therefore preferable to look at the environmental footprint as a whole and adjust your reduction efforts accordingly.

Our LCA Specialists are ready to give you advise on this topic!

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