What is carbon footprinting

Why is Carbon Footprinting necessary?

It is socially necessary to systematically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to do so as soon as possible. For every company, it therefore becomes a matter of course to set up carbon accounting alongside financial accounting: a normal part of business operations. Properly recording the source data from the operation, accurately processing it into figures that are used for justification, reporting and analysis, audited by an accountant who provides an unqualified opinion, is becoming the norm. Because customers, consumers and governments alike are going to ask probing questions and want to be able to trust the numbers. More and more, a price is being put on CO2, which is having an increasing impact on the results. Carbon footprinting provides the answer to those questions.


The logistics sector is a major contributor to CO2 emissions and therefore plays a key role in allocating and sharing these emissions throughout the chain.

Our objective is to provide companies with an accessible way to gain more experience with carbon footprinting, to increase the value for a company and to facilitate upscaling in the application of carbon footprinting.

Our Roadmap shows you where the challenges lie and what activities we focus on. For example, we are working on (ISO) standards for comparison and exchange of data and results, CO2 calculation methods, tools and benchmarks.

The challenge: from modeling to chain accounting.

For logistics, good measuring and recording is a challenge: the diversity in logistics is large, the variability of chains is great, many of the activities are outsourced (and subcontracted) and the chains can be very long and international. All those parties need to capture their basic data in the same way, process the data and pass it back to their customers.

In recent decades, many parties have started to estimate and model their (complex) chains, to get a feel for the emissions total and what each part contributes to that total. The next step is to set up (as with financial accounting) carbon accounting: measure, record, process and report.

And just as with financial accounting, this requires agreements on the way data is registered and processed, on auditing by accountants, and on the indicators that are reported on. These guidelines have largely been developed, just like the tools to set up an accounting system or the audit protocols for accountants. This site will give you an insight into the backgrounds of carbon footprinting.


EN 16258 is the standard for calculating emissions that many methods in Europe fall back on. This standard is far too broad and very outdated. Therefore new initiatives have been taken such as the COFRET working group advices and recently the GLEC guidelines. In 2020, an ISO standard development started in which the Netherlands participates.This combines the advice of the COFRET working group, and the GLEC guidelines. Part of the standard focuses on modeling, part on carbon footprinting as an accounting method. The descriptions on this website correspond to the latter.

More frequent and wider application

The standardization, the application guidelines and the development of tools and software tailored to this will make it increasingly easy to apply carbon footprinting in the company. The first advantage is a clear insight into one’s own company: reducing CO2 emissions (or energy consumption) without using new technology also means reducing costs. With good figures a company can compare itself with colleagues: are we doing well compared to the market average? The second advantage is that the chain effects become visible: everyone is doing their best, but sometimes the chain is not cleverly arranged and that is where the profit lies. With good figures, customers can get very important information about their orders. And in an industry, the shippers can make a plan to jointly report to the government about the emissions in the industry and how they will be reduced.