perma collective

Carbon Jargon

Written by Jessica Gage
Perma Carbon Jargon-04

It can be hard to get your head around the environmental impact of your business or production with all of the ‘carbon jargon’ out there. We’ve put together this simple guide based on our research to help make sense of it all.

Carbon Footprint

Measuring your Carbon Footprint means measuring the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions that activities directly and indirectly arising from your business or project create.

Emissions Factors

To enable businesses to calculate the emissions an activity creates, DEFRA produces annual Emissions Factors. An emissions factor is a number you multiply by your own data collected, to work out the total emissions created.

Data x Emission Factor = GHG Emission


When calculating a carbon footprint the units are given as tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent), which covers the seven main GHG’s contributing to climate change as per the Kyoto Protocol.

Online Carbon Calculators

Online Carbon Calculators, such as AdGreen, make life easier by doing this calculation for you. You enter your data and they give you the total GHG emissions relating to that data.

Scope 1

Emission creating activities relating to your business or project are split into three scopes. Scope 1 is direct emissions, from activities owned or controlled by your business. For example, your own boiler or vehicle.

Scope 2

Scope 2 is energy indirect emissions, so emissions that are a consequence of your energy use, but at a source you don’t own or control. For example, energy used at a studio or in a rented office.

Scope 3

Scope 3 is other indirect emissions. Which covers pretty much everything else, such as public transport, cabs, anything bought or hired or catering.


Offsetting emissions requires measuring GHG emissions and then funding an equivalent tCO2e saving elsewhere. This is done by investing in carbon offset projects such as tree planting.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon Neutral means that you’ve measured your carbon footprint and then offset the total emissions.

Net Zero Carbon

Getting to Net Zero means that you’ve successfully reduced scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero, then measured scope 3 emissions and got these as close to zero as possible, and then offset these remaining emissions.

Carbon Negative

Carbon Negative means offsetting more carbon than your business or project created.

They say knowledge is power, so armed with an understanding of carbon measurement, reduction and offsetting it’s time to put this to use and work collectively towards minimising the impact of not just our industry but across all businesses.


Green Providers

Cabs – Green Tomato
Energy – Octopus
Couriers – Zhero
Hotels – The Corner (London)