Carbon Footprint Assessment

Carbon Footprint Assessment

A project whose aim is to support society in tackling climate change should consider reducing the carbon footprint of its own activities. 

  • ATMO-ACCESS will engage in limiting GHG emissions connected to the project through the implementation of emissions avoidance actions.
  • The task’s ambition is proposing guidelines for low-impact access strategies by promoting new modalities for remote and virtual access.


  • Being a pilot research project funded by the European Commission (EC), ATMO-ACCESS is the ideal setting to test the implementation of a GHG monitoring tool at the project scale. 
  • ATMO-ACCESS is potentially carbon-intensive, due to the inherent mobility related to access. 

Carbon footprint assessments could become a pillar of EC-funded projects, exemplary of a global-scale commitment to reduce GHG emissions.

Task Objectives:


Objective 1. GHG emissions monitoring strategy

  • Defining a perimeter of activities to be included in the assessment.
  • Defining a methodology for monitoring, tracking and converting activities into CO2 equivalent emissions.

1. Perimeter: A carbon footprint assessment is an inventory of GHG emissions related to the activities of an entity. The relevant activities for ATMO-ACCESS were divided into two broad categories, based on their inherent nature:

Institutional activities examples:

  • official annual meetings,
  • mid-term review meetings,
  • stakeholder workshops,
  • dissemination conferences,
  • SSC meetings

Access activities examples:

  • transnational access (TNA) to central labs, simulation chambers, observation infrastructures, training and education,
  • purchase of equipment and informatics tools

2. Calculation: Each emitting activity is associated with the appropriate emission factor (amount of GHG emissions generated by a unit of activity) to obtain CO2 equivalent mass (kgCO2eq). ‘CO2eq’ is a common unit used to describe different GHG emissions and allowing to bundle CO2 and non-CO2 GHGs into a single number.

The carbon footprint is calculated using the formula below:

An open-access Excel Spreadsheet was built to monitor and convert the relevant activities into CO2 equivalent emissions.

The input data will be modifiable year by year to obtain estimates of carbon footprint of each year of project operation and, at the end of the project, the tool will indicate an estimate of the total carbon footprint for the ATMO-ACCESS project.

This estimate will allow the main emission sources to be identified.

If you are a project stakeholder or user of an ATMO-ACCESS facility, we need you! Find the link on the ATMO-CONNECT platform or get in touch with the project office ( to get access to the Excel and participate in the initiative!

Objective 2. GHG emissions avoidance strategy

  • Implementing actions to avoid and reduce GHG emissions coming from the project activities.
  • Defining priorities (main emission sources to target to reduce emissions).

The project’s first year of operation will serve as trial and sensibilisation year to test the data collection method and Excel tool efficiency, increase general awareness and engagement on the issue and experiment mitigation actions.

Not sure how to get started? Use the decision tree of GHG emissions avoidance actions to help you minimise the carbon footprint of your actions!


Objective 3. Recommendations for Sustainable Access

  • Integrating recommendations for sustainable access provision
  • Recommending modalities for considering the carbon footprint of access and strategies for emissions avoidance.

Despite the recent start of the project, some early recommendations can already be made…

(a) Investing in remote and virtual access provision via:

  • ensuring reliable software
  • providing training for virtual access provision
  • increasing technical support
  • improving virtual resources (collaborative/interactive tools)

(b) Reducing the carbon footprint of physical activities by:

  • ordering meetings in terms of importance
  • selecting the most accessible meeting location
  • delegating activities to collaborators
  • taking advantage of one trip to accomplish multiple purposes

(c) Reducing the carbon footprint of remote activities by:

  • prioritising non-fossil fuel energy generation
  • using shared platforms to exchange documents
  • keeping webcams off during meetings
  • using the following low-carbon servers: Microsoft Teams for audio only or audio and screen share, Big Blue Buttons (via Chrome) for audio and webcams. 

Want to brainstorm ideas for reducing GHG emissions of the project? Get in touch!


Objective 4. Collaborative Approach

  • Implementing a collaborative approach to achieve the first three objectives.
  • Promoting community engagement throughout the project.

According to the self-determination theory, the most sustainable behavioural changes arise from an intrinsic decision rather than from external coercion. 

We therefore aim to increase the community’s autonomous motivation to take action against climate change and thereby encourage pro-environmental behaviour.

Soon to come: carbon footprint dedicated workshops!


If you wish to get in touch, email: or