Carbon Footprint: what is it?

Knowing our responsibility for the carbon footprint we emit is fundamental to rethinking more conscious consumption.

Do you know what a carbon footprint is and what its implications are for the ecosystem?

In this text we tell you everything about the subject: the definition of a carbon footprint, what it is for, how to calculate yours and much more. Good reading!

Carbon Footprint: what is it?

The carbon footprint is a methodology created to measure greenhouse gas emissions from the life cycle of a product, processes or services that enter the atmosphere and are then converted into carbon.

Furthermore, the carbon footprint is also part of a methodology, even more macro. It was defined by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel, both from Global Footprint Network (GFN), and is called "ecological footprint". In this way, it measures the amount of land and water necessary to support our lifestyle, considering available natural resources and the planet's regenerative capacity.

In this sense, one of the criteria analyzed to classify the carbon footprint within the methodology is based on the carbon dioxide absorbed by oceans and forests. Thus, the carbon footprint today represents around 50% of the ecological footprint, following high growth rates since 1970, as can be seen in the graph below:

pegada de carbono emissões 1900 até 2014

Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels since 1900.

Source: Boden, TA, Marland, G., and Andres, RJ (2017). Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., USA doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2017.

What is the carbon footprint for?

Have you ever stopped to reflect that all our actions have a direct or indirect impact on the planet? Therefore, by measuring the carbon footprint we can measure the amount of gases in the greenhouse effect that a person, organization, company, activity or product emits to complete its cycle. This applies to complex processes and routine activities.

And that's right: every human activity, no matter how simple, releases a certain amount of carbon dioxide (C02) or some other greenhouse gas that contains carbon. These activities are more present than we imagine, such as charging a cell phone, riding a car or turning on the television.

Therefore, knowing our responsibility for the carbon footprint we emit is essential to rethink more conscious consumption. And, thus, revisit habits that directly impact the future of our planet.

What is YOUR carbon footprint?

Knowing your own habits and starting with small changes is essential for contributing to the whole. In this way, some websites help you calculate your own carbon footprint, like this one calculator from Green Initiative, an NGO specializing in climate change.

Other calculators available use technology to help change sustainable habits. How does the website Carbon Footprint, for example, which calculates an average carbon footprint for free using basic everyday information.

Furthermore, it is worth highlighting that carbon offsetting brings benefits not only to projects linked to large companies, but also to improving the population's quality of life. To find out how iFood has positioned itself in relation to sustainable practices, get to know the iFood Regenerates.

What to do to reduce your carbon footprint

By now you may have read the context about carbon footprint and asked yourself: “How can I contribute to reducing my carbon footprint?”

We understand the level of complexity of the subject, which is why we have separated practical examples of routine actions, recommended by NGO Instituto Akatu, which you can implement by rethinking more mindful habits.

  • Give preference to public transport: vehicles are responsible for 72,6% greenhouse gas emissions in the city of São Paulo, not counting other locations;
  • Ride a bike: After all, in addition to being a great health habit, it helps reduce gas;
  • Talk about the cause with family and friends: the more aware people, the better. And there's nothing like a good conversation to explain the importance of rethinking habits, right?
  • Dispose of waste correctly: Start with the basics with household trash. This is because recycling is of great importance in reducing impacts on the environment.
  • Do not waste: The United Nations (UN) estimates that around 17% of the world's food goes to waste (equivalent to 937 million tonnes). Therefore, this directly impacts incorrect disposal, and you can easily avoid it by planning your monthly purchases in advance.
  • Buy the essentials: Have you ever stopped to think about the amount of water used to make a piece of clothing? In this sense, according to the Less Trash Movement almost 3 thousand liters of water are used to produce a t-shirt, not counting washing and other processes in the product's life cycle. In other words, buying or discarding excess items also harms the environment. So, how about donating what you no longer use or opting to buy wildcard pieces with greater durability?

Read too: Sustainable cities: what is it and why was the term created?

How iFood contributes to reducing the carbon footprint

iFood is part of the program “Commitment to the climate”, from the EKOS institute, with the aim of strengthening the positive socio-environmental impact in its projects, joining forces with large companies that support the same cause.

In contribution to reducing the carbon footprint, the launch of “iFood Regenerates” – a program of goals linked to the impact of delivery – its main objective is to eliminate plastic pollution in its operations by 2025. And, as a bonus, to neutralize carbon emissions in 2021.

Environmental commitments are becoming increasingly present in the brand's actions, such as the recent signing of the UN Global Compact (United Nations Organization). Measures like this strengthen the corporate sustainability initiative around the world, totaling more than 12 thousand companies in 160 countries.

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