How Dcycle Calculates the Carbon Footprint of Your Purchases

Updated on
July 19, 2024

At Dcycle, we understand the importance of conscious environmental management and offer two efficient methods to measure the carbon footprint of your purchases, adapting to your needs and international standards. Here's how:

1. Based on Expenditure: EEIO Methodology

This method calculates CO2 emissions based on the economic value of your purchases (€, $, etc.), using the Environmentally-Extended Input-Output (EEIO) methodology. It relies on macroeconomic data to assign monetary emission factors (e.g. CO2/€) to products and services, covering emissions from the cradle-to-gate of your company. A detailed guide to procurement can be found here (link).

• Advantages: Speed, simplicity and cost-effectiveness in measuring Scope 3 categories 1 and 2 emissions. Accepted under any environmental regulation, this methodology is promoted by MITECO (link) and widely used in both the public and private sectors.

• Considerations: Provides more general results compared to supplier-specific analysis.

2. Supplier-Specific

Calculate emissions based on specific product data (kg, m³, units, etc.), using a life cycle analysis of the product or service from its origin to your company. This approach generates a detailed emission factor (e.g. CO2/kg).
Advantages: High accuracy of the results.

Considerations: Requires more effort in data collection and analysis and also higher economic cost. Ideal for suppliers that represent a significant part of your total emissions.

How to Select the Right Methodology?

Depending on your needs and type of purchase, you can opt for:

• Based on Expenditure:

We apply sectoral emission factors according to the supplier's code (SIC/NACE/CNAE), providing a broad coverage for more than 200 products and services globally and updated annually since 2015.

• Supplier Specific:

Allows you to apply a detailed emission factor to purchases from a specific supplier. If you need assistance, Dcycle can help you generate these factors.

• Our recommendation:

Opt for a hybrid approach. For a general analysis, use the spend-based method. For products with a high environmental impact or where precision is required, choose the supplier-specific approach. This combination offers you a perfect balance between efficiency and detail, while allowing for verification.

Practical Examples

• Based on expenditure:
Purchase of a Computer at Media Markt: The supplier Media Markt has a specific CNAE for trade in electrical appliances, we will apply the emission factor corresponding to "Machinery and electrical appliances".
Purchase of a Pen at Amazon: The factor for "Retail trade services" will be assigned, appropriate to Amazon's CNAE.

• Supplier specific:
Bulk purchase of a Computer Screen: If most of your purchases are of a single product, it would be more accurate to perform a specific Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for a computer screen, determining its unit carbon footprint. We multiply this impact by the total number of screens purchased to get an accurate measure of the environmental impact of your purchase.

What data do we need for the calculation?

Based on expenditure:
  • Product: What did you buy? Example: "Adjustable office chair".
  • Date of Purchase: When did you buy it? Format: day-month-year. Example: "23-06-2023".
  • Supplier: From whom did you buy it? Company name or, if you prefer to keep it private, use a code such as "Supplier_01". Example: "IKEA IBÉRICA S.A".
  • Supplier Country: This allows you to calculate the footprint more accurately. Example: "SPAIN".
  • Cost (without taxes/duties): Only the value of the product, without extras. Use the comma for decimals. Example: "2889,90".
  • Recycled: Is the product recycled? This is optional but valuable. Example: "Yes".
Supplier Specific:

A detailed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is required. This involves assessing:
Materials and Components, Transport, Manufacturing, and so on, covering distribution, installation, use, end-of-life, and more. Depending on your needs, we will request different levels of detail.

Remember that...

Transport costs, such as taxis, are classified under the "Travel" category and should be excluded from the dataset to avoid duplication. At Dcycle, we implement quality filters to ensure the accuracy of your carbon footprint calculation, avoiding potential double counting errors.

How can Dcycle help you

If you don't have an LCA, we can work together to create one. If you already have one, share with us the footprint information per unit. This process is more complex but crucial for those looking for an in-depth, customised analysis.

With Dcycle, achieving sustainability is simple, accurate and at your fingertips. Whether you opt for the speed of spend-based calculation or the thoroughness of per-supplier analysis, we equip you with what you need for effective environmental management. Together, we move you towards a more sustainable and conscious business operation.

Take control of your carbon footprint today.
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Boris Landívar
Environmental Engineer

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