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Choosing between a digital carbon footprint calculator & consulting project

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Climate Observer

Carbon footprint calculations are still often purchased as one-time consultancy projects. The price comparison at the end of the article shows that a company can save up to 85% of costs by choosing a digital carbon footprint calculator. Using the calculator for in-house carbon footprint calculations also increases your expertise and enables continuous carbon accounting and monitoring in the long term.

Making emission calculations more efficient and cost-effective

Traditionally, carbon footprint calculations have been conducted through consultancy projects where a consultant with expertise in life cycle assessment performs the calculations and reports the results to the client. This model is based on hourly billing, and the cost depends on the number of hours the consultant spends on the calculations.

While the work of a consultant is valuable, individual life cycle assessments can accumulate significant costs, often reaching several thousand euros. When there is a need for a large number of assessments or continuous calculations, the overall cost can quickly become prohibitively high.

A digital calculation tool calculates emissions and performs life cycle assessments based on the data you input into the tool. Instead of a one-time consulting project, you gain access to a tool that operates on an annual license and updates itself as calculation methods evolve and climate science becomes more precise. This makes carbon footprint calculation cost-effective and easily updatable.

Educate users through self-calculations

Anton & Anton

Using Biocode has given us a lot of ‘ah-ha!’ experiences. It has been insightful to use the calculator and see how different raw materials affect the end result. We have learned that rapeseed oil, for example, can increase the carbon footprint of products quite a lot.

Linda Forss
Procurement Manager, Anton&Anton

One of the key advantages of the carbon footprint calculator is the knowledge it imparts to the user. The calculator standardizes and automates complex carbon footprint calculations, enabling users to generate results and create reports themselves. This makes it easier to understand the components of one’s own carbon footprint and the factors influencing it.

While carbon footprint calculation is currently voluntary, regulations and consumer interest are on the rise. In the future, environmental reporting will become an integral part of a company’s core business operations, similar to financial reporting, and companies will need to adapt accordingly. Implementing a calculation tool enhances a company’s ability to manage this aspect internally, effectively influencing its own operations and supply chain emissions.

Continuous updates of the digital carbon footprint calculator

Biocode’s experts review guidelines, reports, and standards, and the calculator is designed to align with them. Users do not need to be life cycle assessment experts, as the necessary expertise is built into the tool. Users only need to have a good understanding of their own operations and input data such as raw material quantities and packaging materials.

Life cycle assessment is iterative, meaning calculations are updated regularly as new information about operations becomes available or global guidelines are revised. When calculations are done through consultancy projects, the result is often a static report, such as a PDF file, which is challenging and costly to update.

The carbon footprint calculator is a dynamic and continuous operational tool. Calculations can be renewed year after year, eliminating the need to commission a new project every year. Especially when consultants change annually, the work must start from scratch. Data in the calculator is in digital format, making updates easy.

Access to real data

Biocode’s calculator is really easy to use and fast compared to a consultant spending a week to collect data, and he should be given support and help with data acquisition. Now I collect the information myself in a few days, enter it into the calculator and get the calculation right away.

Biocode’s Customer interview

Data based on databases and statistical generalisations are referred to as secondary data in life cycle assessment. Primary data, on the other hand, represents actual information about operations and their impacts. How much raw material is used, or how much energy does the factory consume?

Consultancy projects often rely heavily on secondary data, generalisations, and assumptions. While precise data can be collected in consultancy projects, it often requires the client’s involvement and takes time.

The carbon footprint calculator can utilize emission factor databases, but it also allows users to create their own factors using an primary production assessment tool. This cost-effective approach enables comprehensive data collection throughout the entire supply chain, resulting in more accurate calculations. Precise calculations, in turn, allow for effective control of supply chain emissions.

What about the costs?

Traditionally, life cycle assessments may have cost several thousand euros when conducted as consultancy projects. The problem with this model is that it doesn’t scale well when the number of assessments or annual carbon footprint calculations increases.

In a consultancy project, the estimated average cost for a single product’s carbon footprint is around €3,000, and a company’s emissions calculation can cost even tens of thousands of euros. The following compares the annual costs of Biocode Lite and Biocode Plus services to the estimated cost of a consultancy project.

  • Consultancy Project, including the carbon footprint of a single product (€3,000 each) and the company’s greenhouse gas emissions calculation for scope 1 & 2 emissions (€10,000 each).
    • Total: €23,000
  • Biocode Lite License: €2,040/year & Biocode Foundations training package for learning how to use the software: €3,200
    • Total cost: €5,240

➡️ Cost savings with Biocode for calculations are approximately 77% less than the consultancy project.

  • Consultancy Project, including life cycle assessments for two products (€3,000 each), emissions calculation for three raw material suppliers (€3,000 each), and the company’s greenhouse gas emissions calculation for scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions (€10,000 each).
    • Total: €60,000
  • Biocode Plus License: €4,080/year & Biocode Foundations training package for learning how to use the software: €4,700
    • Total cost: €8,780

➡️ In this case, savings amount to nearly 85% compared to consultancy-based calculations.

The old saying goes that you can’t get quality cheaply. However, with Biocode’s carbon footprint calculator, you get a comprehensive system and service for a fraction of the estimated cost of a consultancy project. Additionally, your expertise in carbon footprint calculation increases, and you gain a continuous model for calculating and managing your company’s environmental impact.

Try the Carbon Footprint Calculator for Free for Two Weeks. In the calculator, you can immediately explore and test carbon footprint calculations without any commitments.

Pricing questions

Check out the frequently asked questions about our pricing. Don’t find what you are looking for? Contact us!

Farmers and producers can create Biocode account and use it for free. Everyone else can create Biocode free trial account! The trial period for food products’ calculator is two weeks, and after that you can upgrade to paid plan.

The paid licence is valid for one year. Life Cycle Analysis are typically done for the last calendar year.

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