Monthly Archives: March 2008

Green Money

Modern green lifestyle has a big impact on the economy. Not only that (seemingly) green products were preferred. Also the whole financial sector offers green investment possibilities. More and more customers with long-run personal decisions try to invest their money not only green but also under social or ethnical aspects. Banks and investment companies are offering various products or funds to meet the requirements. Recently I read about an Austrian shoe factory. They offered – beside their nice shoes – also a possibility to invest in their new solar system. In return the customer gets fixed interests over several years. This fits perfectly to their business approach to produce high-value shoes in an eco-friendly production. Particularly companies from the energy and environemt industry are in the focus of investors. It is quite easy these days to get capital also if your idea is not that elaborate. Investors and companies are not only looking for a high income return. They also look for a quite conscience. But this is something which you can still not buy. You have to proof your (green or social) responsibility in many ways – not only by investing in some green start-ups. Without an integral and sustainable strategy with proven results nobody will have success in the long run.


How should I measure my Carbon Footprint?

Many people these days talk about their ambitions to buy carbon offsets to make their business a bit greener. But at least in the voluntary market it is quite nebulous how they made the first step of this process: the calculation of their CO2-emissions.

Many of them simply take the energy-bill from the last year and multiply the kilowatt hours with some emission factors they found in the internet. Of course this sarcastic approach is not on the agenda of every company. Most of them really try to find some guidelines or even standards to carry out their emission calculations properly.

One approach could be the GHG Protocol ( which provides descriptive reporting methods and contains also motivational reasons for GHG reporting. Another similar document is the standard ISO 14064 et seqq. which only real difference is the treatment of indirect emissions. Last December ISO, WRI and WBCSD announced a cooperation on the accounting and verification of GHG.

The European Commission (EPLCA) has also recognized the demand for carbon footprint information. A leaflet was issued in late 2007 which clearly indicates that “a carbon footprint is a life cycle assessment with the analysis limited to emissions that have an effect on climate change”. ( According to this the carbon footprint is a sub-set of the data covered by the Life Cycle Assessmet (LCA) with the standardized methods from ISO 14040 et seqq. .

All documents adress the important methodological questions such as completeness, accuracy, system boundaries and the robustness of the indicators. One of the most important questions is, if the individual calculation reflects all life-cycle impacts of services or goods used. If not the findings could be misconceived.