On the trail

Reporting on the carbon footprint of an organisation, product or service is an important part of ESG reporting under the "E" (Environmental) reporting area. For the purposes of measurement and follow-up, emissions are generally broken down according to the extent to which the company can influence their production. Below is an example of a methodology for measuring the carbon footprint under the so-called Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol).

Carbon footprint reporting will also be part of mandatory non-financial reporting under the recently approved CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) or ESRS (European Sustainability Reporting Standards).


ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) 

is an assessment framework of three areas of corporate governance that examines how a company considers and approaches:

E - the environment (energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, protection of water resources, etc.);

S - society and people (working conditions, non-discrimination, occupational health and safety, protection of human rights, supplier-customer relations, etc.);

G - corporate governance (composition and independence of the board of directors, auditing, process controls, independence of procedures to prevent and detect unethical and corrupt behaviour, etc.).


Scope 1 - direct emissions

These are activities that fall under the responsibility of the company, are controlled by the company and release emissions directly into the air. These include emissions from boilers or generators burning fossil fuels, emissions from mobile sources (e.g. company cars), emissions from industrial processes, emissions from waste treatment or wastewater treatment, etc.


Scope 2 - indirect emissions from energy

Scope 2 includes emissions associated with the consumption of purchased energy (electricity, heat, steam or cooling) that are not directly generated by the business but are a consequence of the activities of the business. These are emissions from sources that are not directly controlled by the company but nevertheless have a significant impact on their magnitude.


Scope 3 - other indirect emissions

The last category includes emissions related to the activity of the business, but which arise from sources outside the control or ownership of the business and are not classified in Scope 2.


Step by step, or how did we measure our carbon footprint at BDO?

At the start of the project, we clarified the project objectives, confirmed the stakeholders, the scope of the measurements and the project timeline, and set the next steps in a kick-off meeting. We then compiled the data requirements we would need. Within BDO, we mainly discussed the data with the CFO, as most of the data are part of the accounting system. However, the Chief Operating Officer, HR or even a corporate ecologist can also help.


Example of an overview of the materials needed for the measurement





Petrol (diesel) consumption per year for company-owned/operated cars


Scope 1


Business trips - by air (by train)


Scope 3


Annual electricity consumption in buildings in kilowatt hours / megawatt hours

kWh / MWh

Scope 2

Energy consumption

Annual consumption of heat and hot water in buildings/facilities in kilowatt hours and the supplier of this energy

kWh / GJ

Scope 2

Energy consumption

Types of own fossil sources/energy (natural gas, coal, propane-butane, fuel oil) and their annual consumption + indication of the type of combustion equipment and its efficiency, or at least the make and model of the source


Scope 1

Energy consumption


We calculated the data and prepared a report describing what activities contribute to BDO's carbon footprint and to what extent. The report also included recommendations on how to further reduce the carbon footprint. An action plan that sets out priorities for the coming time periods can help to implement the measures. Companies should set KPIs and monitor and evaluate these indicators to know how well they are doing in reducing greenhouse gas production. We are happy to support you in this, so please contact us.