Carbon Footprint: A Tough Calculation

Fully committed to an environmental management policy, Eurocopter is focusing carefully on its carbon footprint calculation–as the regulatory and economic context dictates. EADS’ 2020 Vision program is also driving Eurocopter forward.

© Eurocopter / Gérard Jalade
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In 2006, Eurocopter launched a study for the Employee Commuter Plan at the Marignane site with the support of all the employees. Employee transporta tion makes a significant contribution to the Group’s carbon footprint.

A “carbon footprint” is the volume of greenhouse gas in metric tons of CO2 emitted by companies, their activities, the combustion of fossil energies, transport, etc. From 2011, every company in France with more than 500 employees will have to measure its carbon footprint. Any company that exceeds its “carbon quota” will then have to purchase additional quotas on the “carbon market”. This is more than just an economic restriction– it firmly encourages companies to introduce strategies to reduce their carbon footprint. The regulatory pressure then takes on an economic incentive when bankers, insurers and investors are thrown into the mix. For the banks, would a borrower with “sober CO2 emissions” be considered a lower risk? And, for investors, would a company reducing its carbon footprint be a sign of greater profitability?
For the moment, nothing is known for sure, but it seems that clear and unequivocal indicators are required. Eurocopter is getting ready. A work group of representatives from the different divisions of EADS has been set up: Its task is to define the right calculation perimeter and methodology. The challenge lies in the gathering of data as it is not just the Group’s processes that are concerned. Two types of CO2 emissions must be calculated: Direct emissions (related to Eurocopter’s activities at its production plants) and indirect emissions (related to the activities of its customers and suppliers). The study is currently focusing on four areas (see inset) and partial simulations have already been conducted. The simulations have revealed that employee transport is a significant factor and one that Eurocopter has already addressed by helping to open a railway station near to one of the Group’s plants and by paying for some or all of the monthly season ticket fee for employees who come to work by train.
Once the carbon footprint measurement and calculation perimeter are in place, the next target will be to identify ways of reducing the footprint. Static footprint measurement will then give way to dynamic strategies to reduce carbon emissions.


ARTICLE: MONIQUE COLONGES

Focus on Four Areas

• Direct energy consumption (electricity, fuel, gas)
• Process-related emissions or leaks (recharging air conditioning systems with gas)
• Transportation of goods
• Transportation of people (employees, customers, visitors)