Browsing by Subject "carbon footprint"

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  • Niemistö, Johanna; Myllyviita, Tanja; Judl, Jáchym; Holma, Anne; Sironen, Susanna; Mattila, Tuomas; Antikainen, Riina; Leskinen, Pekka (2019)
    International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology 26 (7): 625-634
    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a substantial role in the economy and job creation, but they are a remarkable source of environmental impacts. SMEs often lack skills and resources to compile environmental impact assessments; Streamlined Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can provide efficient tools for this. An application of streamlined LCA relying heavily on database data, LCA clinic, was developed and tested on 23 SMEs in Finland. The climate change impacts were mainly caused by the production of raw materials, electricity and heating, whereas packaging and transportation were not influential. A significant amount of emissions were indirect, i.e. caused by production of raw materials. Thus, decreasing emissions from raw material production or selecting raw materials with a smaller environmental load could be a more efficient way to decrease emissions than reducing direct emissions such as those from electricity use. Lack of data in the LCA-databases was considered a challenge. An access to regionally customised datasets is important for the implementation of LCA clinics. Company feedback indicated that LCA clinics were useful in climate-friendly product design and increased environmental awareness, but did not lead to immediate actions to reduce emissions because of inadequate investment capabilities. Company managers had limited possibilities to use the results in marketing as comparative assessments would require a full LCA. Many company managers were willing to pay a fee sufficient to cover the costs of an LCA clinic, but some considered that the costs should be covered by external funding sources.
  • Nissinen, Ari; Savolainen, Hannu (Finnish Environment Institute, 2020)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 15en/2019
    The aim of the research was to analyse the carbon footprint (i.e. life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions) and raw material requirements (RMR) for public procurement and household consumption. The main method used was the environmentally extended input-output model ENVIMAT, supplemented with statistics on public procurement. Greenhouse gas emissions for the final domestic demand, i.e. the consumption-based emissions of Finland, amounted to 73.4 million tons carbon dioxide equivalents (Mt CO2e) in 2015. This can also be seen as the carbon footprint of Finland, and it was 33 % bigger than the territorial emissions which form the basis of the official national inventories. The carbon footprint for public procurement in 2015 was 8.3 Mt CO2e. State procurement accounted for 1.78 Mt, municipalities for 4.73 Mt CO2e, and federations of municipalities (FM) for 1.79 Mt CO2e. The carbon footprint of investments made by public organisations amounted to 2.7 Mt CO2e. In state procurement 42 % of the emissions were caused by buying services, 38 % from goods, 12 % from rents, and 8 % were due to other costs. Buying goods caused the largest emission share in the defence administration (55 %), whereas services caused the largest share (81 %) in the traffic and communications sector. In the procurement made by municipalities and federations of municipalities 42–43 % of emissions were caused by the procurement of services and 52 % from goods. Looking at state administration, defence caused the largest share (43 %) of emissions, and next were the traffic and communications (21 %) and the ministry of the interior (10 %). Urban municipalities caused 3.33 Mt of emissions, and semi-urban municipalities caused 0.69 Mt and rural municipalities 0.71 Mt. Hospital districts had the largest emissions (1.03 Mt) among the federations of municipalities. The raw material requirement of public procurement amounted to 19.5 Mt in 2015. The share of state procurement was 34 %, whereas municipalities and FM caused the remaining 66 %. The RMR of investments made by public organisations amounted to 25.7 Mt. The RMR of household consumption in 2015 was 64.8 Mt. The share of other products and services came to 32 %, housing including energy use amounted to 30 %, foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages contributed 26 % and transport 12 %. Regarding the carbon footprint of households in 2016, transport caused 30 % of all carbon emission equivalents, housing and energy use 29 %, foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages 19 %, and other products and services 22 %. The overall carbon footprint was 53.4 Mt CO2e in 2000 and 60.1 Mt in 2016 (12.5 % growth). Emissions were the largest in 2007 (66.6 Mt). A structural decomposition of the change in the carbon footprint from 2000 to 2016 shows three major factors: change in consumption expenditure (which alone would change the footprint by +30.7 %), change in consumption structure (-5.7 %) and technological change (-12.5 %). The annual average carbon footprint per capita varied between 10.1 and 12.6 tons of CO2e. Statistics Finland’s Household Budget Survey was used to analyse different households. In the lowest income decile the carbon footprint was 7.2 t CO2e per consumption unit, and in the highest income decile it was 19.0. The emission intensity (i.e. emissions per euro consumed) did not have any clear relationship to the income. Regarding types of households, couples without children and couples with children had the largest footprint per consumption unit. When housing was not taken into account, households in inner urban areas had the smallest and households in peri-urban and rural areas close to urban areas had the largest carbon footprint per consumption unit. Of the consumption sectors, transport had the highest emission intensity (0.81 kg CO2e /€). Additionally, food had a high emission intensity (0.76). The two expenditure categories related to housing had smaller intensities (0.51 and 0.45), and other goods and services had the smallest (0.24). The average emission intensity was around 0.5.
  • Salo, Marja; Nissinen, Ari (Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2017)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 30/2017
    Climate change mitigation requires action in all spheres of society. The role of household consumption is often overlooked. However, 72% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are related to household consumption, while the rest stem from government consumption and investments. The result from a Finnish study is quite similar: households accounted for 68% of the GHG emissions of domestic final consumption in Finland, whereas government consumption and investments were responsible for the other 32% The key question in this report is: How much can a typical Finn decrease one’s GHG emissions with consumption decisions? To address this question, we took the average GHG emissions from consumption as a starting point. In Finland in 2010, the average per capita GHG emissions from consumption expenditure was 11.5 tonnes of CO2e. Between 2000 and 2013, the average per capita GHG emissions fluctuated from 9.6 tonnes to 11.8 tonnes. The per capita consumption carbon footprint in Finland is on the high end of the European scale but smaller compared to Australia and the United States, for instance. We listed measures that an ordinary Finnish consumer can use to decrease their GHG emissions with existing technology and solutions, and estimated the potential to avoid emissions with these activities. We focused on the most important sources of GHG emissions in Finland, including housing and especially energy-related emissions, private car travel and food choices. We also examined the consumption of goods and services, although in that particular category the emissions consist of a wide range of goods and services, and the potential of single or small numbers of actions is challenging to define. The GHG emissions include housing, travel, food, consumption of other goods and services. We used the consumption perspective, i.e. the emissions of consumption in Finnish households were taken into account regardless of their geographic origin. Therefore, the embodied emissions of imported goods were included. We estimated that the carbon footprint of an average Finn could be decreased from 11.5 tkg of CO2e to 7.2 tkg. In this paper, we present the measures for housing, travel, food, and goods and services that can be used to reach these savings. While consumption choices have potential in mitigating climate change, we note that there are barriers in reducing GHG emissions with consumption choices. The solutions to overcome the barriers can be market-based, i.e. business models in which the product or service produces less GHG emissions. Informational measures such as labelling help consumers choose products and services with lower GHG emissions. Public policies also play a role in speeding up product development, as shown by the examples of energy labelling of home appliances and phasing out inefficient lighting solutions. Informational measures can also include tools such as carbon footprint calculators and campaigns to raise awareness and engage people to take action. In this report we focused on the GHG emissions. However, other environmental footprints and indicators also show the unsustainability of current consumption patterns.
  • Amiri, Ali; Emami, Nargessadat; Ottelin, Juudit; Sorvari, Jaana; Marteinsson, Björn; Heinonen, Jukka; Junnila, Seppo (Elsevier, 2021)
    Energy and Buildings 241: 110962
    The construction and use of buildings consume a significant proportion of global energy and natural resources. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is arguably the most international green building certification system and attempts to take actions to limit energy use of buildings and construct them sustainably. While there has been a wide range of research mainly focused on energy use and emission production during the operation phase of LEED-certified buildings, research on embodied emissions is rare. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficiency of LEED regarding initial (pre-use) embodied emissions using life cycle assessment (LCA). The study comprised several steps using a designed model. In the first step, three optional building material scenarios were defined (optimized concrete, hybrid concrete-wood, and wooden buildings) in addition to the base case concrete building located in Iceland. Second, an LCA was conducted for each scenario. Finally, the number of LEED points and the level of LEED certification was assessed for all studied scenarios. In addition, a comparison regarding embodied emissions consideration between LEED and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) as mostly used green certificate was conducted in the discussion section. The LCA showed the lowest environmental impact for the wooden building followed by the hybrid concrete-wood building. In the LEED framework, wooden and hybrid scenarios obtained 14 and 8 points that were related to material selection. Among these points, only 3 (out of a total of 110 available points) were directly accredited to embodied emissions. The study recommends that the green building certificates increase the weight of sustainable construction materials since the significance of embodied emissions is substantially growing along with the current carbon neutrality goals. As most of the materials for building construction are imported into Iceland, this study is useful for locations similar to Iceland, while overall it is beneficial for the whole world regarding climate change mitigation.
  • Zhao, Qingjian; Ding, Sheng; Wen, Zuomin; Toppinen, Anne (2019)
    In the context of global climate change, energy conservation and greenhouse effect gases (GHG) reduction are major challenges to mankind. The forestry-pulp and paper industry is a typical high energy consumption and high emission industry. We conducted in-depth research on the energy flows and carbon footprint of the forestry-pulp paper industry. The results show that: (1) The main sources of energy supply include external fossil fuel coal and internal biomass fuel black liquor, which supply 30,057,300 GJ and 14,854,000 GJ respectively; in addition, the energy produced by diesel in material transportation reaches 11,624,256 GJ. (2) The main energy consumption processes include auxiliary engineering projects, material transportation, papermaking, alkali recovery, pulping and other production workshops. The percentages of energy consumption account for 26%, 18%, 15%, 10% and 6%, respectively. (3) The main sources of carbon include coal and forest biomass, reaching 770,000 tons and 1.39 million tons, respectively. (4) Carbon emissions mainly occur in fuel combustion in combined heating and power (CHP) and diesel combustion in material transportation, reaching 6.78 million tons and 790,000 tons of carbon, respectively. (5) Based on steam and electricity consumption, the indirect carbon emissions of various thermal and electric energy production units were calculated, and the key energy consumption process units and hotspot carbon flow paths were further found. This research established a theoretical and methodological basis for energy conservation and emission reduction.
  • Lukkaroinen, Teresa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In recent years, the science community has increasingly emphasized the influence of behavior, lifestyles, and culture on greenhouse gas emissions. Finland’s emissions per capita (~10 tCO2/yr.) are amongst the highest in the world, and it has been calculated that to comply with the Paris Agreement and to limit global warming to well below 2 °C, Finnish households should reduce their carbon footprint by 70 % by 2030. This requires drastic lifestyle changes, especially regarding mobility, housing, and nutrition. However, knowing this is not enough to change behaviors. Human behavior is influenced by several different internal and external factors such as knowledge, values, and social structures. This master’s thesis is a case study conducted in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) master’s program at the University of Helsinki with the aim to enrich theories about pro-environmental behavior by providing insights on the future aspirations of sustainability science students, who have both extensive knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability. The data for this study was collected through an anonymous, online questionnaire with four open-ended questions. In total, 61 out of 274 ECGS students answered the questionnaire, after which qualitative content analysis with both inductive and deductive elements was applied to analyze the results. The results confirm that ECGS students are indeed well aware of the most impactful lifestyle changes for reducing personal carbon footprint. Despite their extensive knowledge on sustainability, the students’ future aspirations still come quite close to the dominant cultural vision of a good life in Finland. The implications of these findings once again confirm the importance of facilitating sustainable ways of living through changes in societal structures, discourses, and norms.
  • Wanhalinna, Viivi (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    In this master´s thesis the quantity of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by food supply chain was studied. Also results from life cycle studies related to GHG emissions of bread, flour and some other food material were collected. In the experimental study the carbon footprints (GHG emissions, CO2 equivalents) of wheat and rye breads were calculated. Industrial scale production, Finnish grown wheat and rye, and simplified bread recipes were used as starting points. The life cycle calculations included cultivation, milling and baking phases and also consumer´s action. The amounts of GHG emissions for these phases were obtained from previous studies and the information reported by food enterprises and organizations. The cultivation of wheat and rye were studied separately, but the milling and baking processes were considered similar. The data were collected from two mills and seven bakeries and included details from energy and water consumption and the amount of organic waste and waste water produced. The emissions associated with the production of salt, baker´s yeast, vegetable fat, sugar and packaging material were also included. For consumer´s, there were two scenarios, one included transportation of bread from grocery by car, and 10 % wastage. The other included also toasting of the bread. It was calculated that the carbon footprint of bread was 1400-1500 g of CO2-equivalents/ kg bread. The cultivation´s share was 40 %, the mill´s share was 2 %, the bakery´s share was 45 % and the consumer´s share was 13 %. When the toasting of bread was included, this action alone resulted approximately 180 g more GHG emissions. There was a small difference between the carbon footprint of rye and wheat bread. The difference results mainly from differences in recipes of breads. There are not yet uniform standards to calculate the carbon footprint. Therefore a lot of generalizations and assumptions had to be made in the calculations. Nonetheless the carbon footprint obtained in this study is of the same magnitude as recently obtained in other studies performed in Europe.
  • Mäki-Asiala, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    It is necessary actively seek effective ways to reduce agricultural emissions so that the proportion of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in total national emissions does not increase. The aim of this study was to evaluate with carbon footprint calculators different options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions of dairy production and the carbon footprint of energy-corrected milk. The scenarios included the changes in the dietary concentrate proportion, the proportion of grass in cultivation, the digestibility of roughage and the level of milk production. In addition, the effect of temperature on methane emissions from manure was examined. Data of a dairy farm located in Central Ostrobothnia from year 2020 were utilized in the study. The assessment was carried out by using the carbon footprint calculator developed by the European Commission and the Valio Carbo® environmental calculator. According to the results of both calculators, the effect of the changes in the concentrate proportion in the diet on the carbon footprint of milk was very small. Reducing the proportion of concentrate in the diet reduced total emissions. Reducing the proportion of rapeseed meal in feeding reduced total emissions more than reducing the proportion of barley. Increasing the proportion of grass in cultivation reduced the carbon footprint of milk and the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions with both calculators. According to the European Commission carbon calculator, increasing grass yield and also increasing the proportion of grain in cultivation reduced the carbon footprint of milk and the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions. With Valio Carbo® environmental calculator, increasing the proportion of grain in cultivation increased the carbon footprint of milk and the total emissions. According to European Commission calculator, the total emissions and the carbon footprint of milk decreased when the digestibility of roughage decreased. The increase of milk production level also clearly reduced the carbon footprint of milk with both calculators. However, the change in the milk production level had only a small effect on the amount of emissions produced. Reducing the conversion factor describing the effect of temperature on methane formation from slurry reduced the carbon footprint of milk. The decrease in the conversion factor reduced the emissions from the manure system by 51.3 percentage and reduced the milk carbon footprint from 1.21 to 1.15 kg CO2e/kg ECM. In conclusion, there are many feasible opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint. The most effective ways to reduce total emissions at farm level are to increase the proportion of grass in cultivation and to increase the yield of grass. Raising the milk production level effectively reduces the carbon footprint, but in the future the calculations must take into account that the dry matter intake is higher as the milk yield increases. The main differences between the calculators are currently in the coefficients they use. When comparing the results given by the calculators, it is important to note that the calculation principles cannot fully take into account the possible opposite effects of different factors. The results should be looked critically with a caution that the results given by different calculators are not directly comparable.
  • Nissinen, Ari; Seppälä, Jyri; Heinonen, Tero (Elsevier Ltd., 2022)
    Cleaner logistics and supply chain
    The carbon footprint (CF) should finally have a role in the decision-making of manufacturing companies, retailers, public procurers and consumers. We consider that more systematic approaches are urgently needed for collecting, storing and presenting carbon footprint information. The key issue from the standpoint of reliability and comparability is to recognise how each CF was determined and how it has been verified. Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and the connected barcode symbol can be used to identify products. We propose that the presented framework can help to build databases which are easy to use for the manufacturers, retailers and various service providers and which can increase the production and usability of CF information.
  • Kolehmainen, Jari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Households globally contribute 72 %, and in Finland about 70 % of greenhouse gas emissions, so they have a remarkable potential to mitigate climate change. Alongside technical solutions, human behavior patterns have been identified as a significant component of consumption, and changing them towards more environmentally friendly direction would increase our chances to combat climate change. These behaviors can be explored with social practice theory that sees people’s daily behavior as a part of a broader independent object, practice. As in many aspects households' everyday life consists of repetition of daily habits, social practice theory provides a suitable framework for assessing the changes made by households. This Master's Thesis will look into two household consumption sub-areas, mobility and the use of electrical appliances, in four Finnish sustainable consumption projects related to households. The material for the study was collected from written material as well as interviewing two experts from each project's personnel. The projects were living lab experiments in which 5 to 16 households tried to reduce their consumption of energy and natural resources by making more sustainable consumption choices and changing their habits. How do these projects seek to influence practices? What is the significance of the changes related to mobility and electric appliances for climate change mitigation in the home context? To assess this significance, a framework for evaluation, climate change mitigation potential, was developed. To be a decisive measure, a significant reduction in the carbon footprint as well as the ability to spread widely among households are essential. Thus, the climate change mitigation potential of a given measure was determined as the product of 1) impact, and 2) feasibility, which were estimated on a five-step scale. As a basis for the evaluation, both project material and more general analyses were used. 13 measures were identified, that aimed to influence the practices of using electrical appliances and of mobility, either by recrafting the elements of the practices, substituting old practices with new ones, changing how different practices interlock, or combining these approaches. The unanimous opinion of the interviewees was that personal counseling played a particularly important role in achieving the changes. The climate change mitigation potential was low in electrical appliance use and moderate in mobility changes. The result was not surprising, since the use of electrical appliances accounts for smaller part of households' greenhouse gas emissions than mobility. However, the climate change mitigation potential turned out to be a viable assessment framework that has value in future experiments and policy interventions, helping to focus on measures that have the greatest potential to reduce climate stress. Although, especially by changing the practices of mobility, households can achieve significant carbon dioxide savings, the balancing between realistic feasibility and good impact will result in the magnitude of less than 10 % of the households’ carbon footprint, including both mobility and electric appliance use. Taking other areas of consumption into account will improve this potential, but it is undeniable that households on their own will not be able to accomplish the almost 80 % reduction required for a sustainable level of consumption. Therefore, expectations of sustainable consumption cannot be left only to households and the changing of habits, but it is equally important to create a sustainable energy and infrastructure system, which will enable households to satisfy their remaining energy and mobility needs economically and fluently. In the end, the responsibility of this system falls on the decision makers, as only they have the necessary means to steer and sponsor companies, researchers and consumers to build together a carbon-free future.
  • Suikkanen, Johanna; Nissinen, Ari (Finnish Environment Institute, 2020)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 15en/2020
    Carbon footprint describes a product’s climate impacts over the course of its life cycle. According to a report published by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) in 2019, the carbon footprint of public procurements in Finland was 8.3 Mt CO2e in 2015, more than half of which was caused by municipal procurements. Therefore, municipalities have an enormous potential to lead the way by creating markets for products with reduced climate impacts. This Canemure report was prepared in collaboration with the City of Helsinki Urban Environment – Environmental Services Division. The City of Helsinki promotes low-carbon procurement as part of the LIFE-IP Canemure project. The project examines the possibility of developing carbon footprint criteria and compares various methods of carbon footprint calculation. The report discusses topics at a general level, and its findings can be applied by other municipalities and public bodies implementing procurements. The report examines whether the product environmental footprint (PEF) is suitable for calculating the carbon footprint data requested in connection with public procurements. The PEF is a harmonised method based on life cycle assessment, and it was developed by the European Commission. It is used to assess the environmental impacts of products over the course of their life cycles, taking into consideration sixteen environmental impact classes. According to the recommendation published in the Official Journal of the European Commission (2013/179/EU), the PEF method can be used to support environmentally friendly procurement, but concrete guidance or practical experience does not yet exist. The report describes the use of the method for carbon footprint calculation in connection with public procurement and discusses its use in connection with the product categories of dairy products and IT equipment separately. In addition, the report describes the materials and databases made available to the public by the European Commission to support the calculation process. In order to be able to use PEF information as part of tendering processes, product category-specific rules (PEFCRs) must be applied, but currently, such rules have been drawn up only for 17 product categories. In addition, PEFCRs for another five product categories are being developed. A decision on the wider use of the PEF as part of the European integrated product policies is likely to be made in 2021.
  • Ottelin, Juudit; Ala-Mantila, Sanna; Heinonen, Jukka; Wiedmann, Thomas; Clarke, Jack; Junnila, Seppo (2019)
    Background: Current climate change mitigation policies, including the Paris Agreement, are based on territorial greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting. This neglects the understanding of GHG emissions embodied in trade. As a solution, consumption-based accounting (CBA) that reveals the lifecycle emissions, including transboundary flows, is gaining support as a complementary information tool. CBA is particularly relevant in cities that tend to outsource a large part of their production-based emissions to their hinterlands. While CBA has so far been used relatively little in practical policymaking, it has been used widely by scientists. Methods and design: The purpose of this systematic review, which covers more than 100 studies, is to reflect the policy implications of consumption-based carbon footprint (CBCF) studies at different spatial scales. The review was conducted by reading through the discussion sections of the reviewed studies and systematically collecting the given policy suggestions for different spatial scales. We used both numerical and qualitative methods to organize and interpret the findings of the review. Review results and discussion: The motivation for the review was to investigate whether the unique consumption perspective of CBA leads to similarly unique policy features. We found that various carbon pricing policies are the most widely supported policy instrument in the relevant literature. However, overall, there is a shortage of discussion on policy instruments, since the policy discussions focus on policy outcomes, such as behavioral change or technological solutions. In addition, some policy recommendations are conflicting. Particularly, urban density and compact city policies are supported by some studies and questioned by others. To clarify the issue, we examined how the results regarding the relationship between urban development and the CBCF vary. The review provides a concise starting point for policymakers and future research by summarizing the timely policy implications.
  • Deviatkin, Ivan; Khan, Musharof; Ernst, Elizabeth; Horttanainen, Mika (2019)
    Pallets are the tiny cogs in the machine that drive transportation in the global economy. The profusion of pallets in today's supply chain warrants the investigation and discussion of their respective environmental impacts. This paper reviews the life cycle assessment studies analyzing the environmental impacts of pallets with the intent of providing insights into the methodological choices made, as well as compiling the inventory data from the studies reviewed. The study is a meta-analysis of eleven scientific articles, two conference articles, two peer-reviewed reports, and one thesis. The review was implemented to identify the key methodological choices made in those studies, such as their goals, functional units, system boundaries, inventory data, life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) procedures, and results. The 16 studies reviewed cumulatively analyzed 43 pallets. Mostly pooled (n = 22/43), block-type (n = 13/43), and wooden (n = 32/43) pallets with dimensions of 1219 mm x 1016 mm or 48 in. x 40 in. (n = 15/43) were studied. Most of the studies represented pallet markets in the United States (n = 9/16). Load-based (e.g., 1000 kg of products delivered), trip-based (e.g., 1000 trips), and pallet-based (e.g., one pallet) functional units were declared. A trip-based functional unit seems the most appropriate for accounting of the function of the pallets, as its purpose is to carry goods and facilitate the transportation of cargo. A significant amount of primary inventory data on the production and repair of wooden and plastic pallets are available, yet there are significant variations in the data. Data on pallets made of wood-polymer composites was largely missing.