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The CO₂ Footprint - calculation and meaning

2023. 03. 13.


Picture of Marie Woida

Marie Woida

Forest floor with trees

The CO₂ footprint

In times of climate change, the CO₂-footprint is a much discussed topic. The amount of greenhouse gases we produce has a direct impact on global warming (1). Therefore, it is important to become aware of the impact that our own lifestyle and the activity of companies contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases.

What is the CO₂ footprint?

The CO₂ footprint describes the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by certain activities of a product, a person, a company or an entire nation (2). The focus is on greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide, but other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide are also important (6). Direct and indirect emissions are included in the CO₂ footprint (2). A direct emission describes the release of greenhouse gases through the final consumption of goods, such as the fuel consumption of the chainsaw (3). Indirect emissions, on the other hand, describe all emissions that occur for the production of a good, for example, the total emissions that occurred to produce the chainsaw (3).

The CO₂ footprint is therefor the result of the CO₂ balance, in which the total emissions of an activity are converted into carbon dioxide equivalents (4).

Where, why and for whom is the CO₂ footprint calculated?

The CO₂ footprint calculation can be performed on an individual level as well as on a corporate and national level. Likewise, a calculation for a single product is possible. For individuals, there are online calculators such as the Global Footprint Network that can be used to calculate your own CO₂ footprint.


When calculating the CO₂ footprint of companies, it is important to ensure that this is done on the basis of Scopes 1, 2 and 3. Green Tech Valley Cluster GmbH has compiled a very clear collection of various calculators on its website.

In general, it can be said about the CO₂ footprint calculation that there is no obligation to apply a uniform calculation method. This affects the comparability of the results. Nevertheless, the calculations help to understand the extent of our impact on climate change in order to ultimately reduce it by avoiding, reducing and offsetting emissions.

Forest climate protection projects and the CO₂ footprint

Sustainable forestry helps to reduce the CO₂ footprint of our society and thus makes an important contribution to climate protection. On the one hand, forest climate protection projects with Tree.ly preserve and increase the regional CO₂ reservoir forest, while on the other hand ensuring the possibility of sustainable forestry. Thus, by investing in regional forest climate protection projects and purchasing CO₂ credits, companies can support the CO₂ storage forest and the continued existence of a stable and resilient forest, with all its ecosystem services. If companies are aware of their CO₂ footprint, they can initiate appropriate measures and reductions and therefore contribute to climate protection.

Together, we want to value the ecosystem services of the native forest and thus guarantee their continued existence for future generations.

For more information visit our forest owner or companies page.

Questions? Contact Us!


  1. 1

    Eric Wolff et. All: Climate Change: Evidence & Causes 2020

  2. 2

    Andrew John: What is a Carbon Footprint? An overview of definitions and methodologies

  3. 3

    Statistisches Bundesamt: Umweltökonomische Gesamtrechnungen - Direkte und indirekte Energieflüsse und CO2-Emisisonen

  4. 4

    Green Tech Valley Cluster GmbH: CO₂ Tool-Kit für Klimapioniere

  5. 5

    Statista: CO₂-Ausstoß pro Kopf weltweit nach Ländern | Statista

  6. 6

    Selin, Noelle Eckley. "carbon footprint". Encyclopedia Britannica, 14 Sep. 2022, Carbon footprint | Definition, Examples, Calculation, Effects, & Facts | Britannica. Accessed 8 March 2023.