What is a Carbon Footprint?

“Carbon footprint” is another term for greenhouse gas inventory, which is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to support human activities. It is the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions which were created as a result of an entity’s activities during a given time frame. Below are the principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities. Click on each of them to find out more about where they come from and their impact on the environment.

When reporting a carbon footprint, the above-listed greenhouse gases are reported as metric tonnes of "carbon dioxide". The Greenhouse gases are converted using a conversion factor called a Global Warming Potential (GWP). A GWP is a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming.

Bentley’s carbon footprint accounts for greenhouse gas emissions from a number of different sources associated with the institution’s operations.  For the purposes of Sightlines' carbon footprint audit, these sources are categorized as "Scope 1", "Scope 2" and "Scope 3" emissions.  The World Resources Institute (WRI) defines Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in their Greenhouse Gas Protocol as the “direct” and “indirect” Greenhouse gas emissions from an institution’s operations.  Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions as defined by the WRI are detailed in the diagram below. Respectively, Bentley's scopes are explained in the table below.