Greenhouse Gas measurement is an inexact science, with several different companies and papers using different methods to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by an activity or manufacturing process of an item. Although several organisations have tried to standardise and compile the data available, emission values between sources are likely to vary due to varying methodology, the location of the study, the metric used, and the scopes measured among other factors. Often the information required to generate these estimates is also not widely known (for example, energy companies often do not publish the exact fuel mix of renewable/non-renewable energy used to supply customers, and this can have a large effect on the amount of carbon is emitted via energy consumption). Furthermore, these organisations will sometimes alter the carbon conversion values to reflect the country that these calculations suit, rendering them useless for global application (eg. The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) waste calculations also include the emissions from transporting the waste from disposal to facility as part of the conversion value, using an average transport distance which will specifically apply to the UK).
In the newest version of inFocus, we have aggregated data from different sources to provide conversion factors for a selection of different countries (US, UK, Italy and France), using the most accurate data available for each location. Because of the inexact nature of carbon emission calculations, some of the conversion factors may either be global, EU specific, or country specific. When possible, we have standardised the methodology used by these different organisations and applied some modelling to the available data to get the most accurate estimate of carbon emissions for a particular item or activity, which is then scaled to different countries to get specific values per country.
inFocus is split into two parts – Photo and Video/Shows and Events. While the sections and selections may differ between the two, the calculations behind are largely the same. As a result, this methodology will not make a distinction between the two parts unless the calculation is specific to one sheet.
|UK||DEFRA - Passenger vehicles, 2020
DEFRA -Business travel - land, 2020
|Conversion values for all transport categories were taken from DEFRA 2020 dataset, converting the unit from tonne CO2e per km travelled to kg CO2e per km (by dividing the supplied conversion factor by 1000). To cover all possible scopes, both the WTT (well-to-tank) value and T&D (transmission and distribution) are used in the calculation, covering scopes 1-3. Air transport uses values with RF, as this is the recommendation given by DEFRA. With international flights, we also used DEFRA values to standardise carbon intensity to represent a ‘global’ value.|
|Italy||EU – CO2cars database for the entire EU vehicle fleet, Greenhouse Gas Protocol calculation tools FR – Transilien official website||Values for private cars and vans were determined by averaging the data for all vehicles of each class and fuel type in the EU car emissions database for each country (reflecting several thousand vehicles in each instance), registered in 2019. For unknown fuel values, the average emissions for all vehicles of all fuel types for the specific member state were used. Average values for all vehicles in the EU were determined by averaging the emissions from all vehicles in the EU+GB. Emissions were given as kg CO2e per km. Train emissions were found only for France through Transiliens, which is the rail network company which serves Paris and the surrounding areas. For flight emissions, we used an average of the UK and US values (obtained through Greenhouse Gas Protocol) to serve as global values to apply to the EU region.|
|US||EPA – Fuel Economy Dataset (2020) Greenhouse Gas Protocol Transport Tool||Values for cars/minibuses and motorcycles (personal vehicles) were taken from the EPA-Fuel Economy Dataset. The values for each vehicle category were determined by taking the average values for tailpipe kg CO2e per km for all vehicles in the dataset registered from 2010-21. This time range is used to reflect the likelihood that older vehicles will have been cycled out of the ‘in-use’ market for consumers. Values for public transport (rail/ferry/coach) were derived from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Transport Tool as kg CO2e per km/Passenger.|
UK Freight transport values were obtained from DEFRA, using scope 1+3 measurements to calculate emissions per kilogram kilometre of product travelled. As with the transport section, the ‘International – Flight’ values include RF. For the ‘International – Road’ value, we used the value under HGV (all diesel), average laden.
For all other countries, values were taken from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol calculation tool (“GHG Emissions from Transport or Mobile Sources”). Only three options were available for the “Region” value of the calculation tool (US/UK/Other). As the organisation works with multiple international companies, it is assumed that the “Other” selection would represent a global value, which is used for Italy and France.
Values from accommodation were obtained through the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmark 2019 dataset, which can be downloaded through their website (Link). The source uses several different metrics to calculate the impact of a one-night stay in a hotel, and the user is able to specify the geographic region/country/city/state as well as different segment types (eg. Luxury/Urban Location/Bed & Breakfast, Hotel Star Rating system). For our calculations, we looked at Measure 3 (Hotel carbon footprint per occupied room, kg CO2e per night), using each country (US/France/Italy/UK) as the location input and using the star hotel ranking system as the segments.
For countries with a low number of data points, measures were not given for particular star segments (ie. France, Italy at 2*, France at 3*). To fill in the gaps, we provided estimates by calculating the percentage change from a 4* to a 3* and 3* to 2* for the US/UK numbers. We then used the average percentage change going from a 4* to 3* and 3* to 2* to calculate estimates of 2* and 3* values for Italy and France.
Carbon intensity (ie. kg CO2 is produced per kwH) is taken from two different sources of data:
|UK||DEFRA, 2020||Generation and Transmission & Distribution value used|
|Italy||Carbon Footprint – 2020 Grid Electricity Emissions Factors v1.3 – July 2020 – Accessed through Link||The website used collates data from various sources and shows the carbon intensity for several different countries:
US – EPA eGrid Database France, Italy – AIB (2020). 2019 European Residual Mix Factors (Link)
Estimates of energy usage for each size of setup and type of lighting is provided by a set of photographers with several years experience across photography, videography and film. These values do not change depending on the location (ie. These values are considered to apply globally).
Green tariff values are multiplied by 0, as renewable energy sources are carbon neutral at Scope 1+2 if 100% of the supply is renewable.
Carbon intensity values for energy were obtained from the same source used for the ‘POWER & EQUIPMENT’ section of the sheet (as seen above). These numbers are used to calculate carbon emissions when filming or shooting in a studio setting, where energy is consumed for air-conditioning, heating, and general lighting (note that there is also an Equipment section in the ‘Photo/Video’ section of InFocus, which goes into depth for emissions related to specialist photography and videography equipment). The user can input the size of the studio used, which would provide the best estimate of carbon emissions related to studio use. There is also a default value provided which is 250m2, which represents the average studio size of all studios available through the two of the largest studio companies (located in London). While this estimate is an approximate number derived from a specific location, we assume that studio space across major cities are roughly similar. Finally, the value is multiplied by a country specific value representing energy use intensities for non-residential buildings (ie. The amount of kwH produced per m2 of an office space). This is provided by Balaras et al., 2017  (see below for full citation details) for Italy, France and the US. For the UK, this information is supplied by CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers).
The energy conversion factor is also used in conjunction with the generator value, which is obtained from the ‘GHG Emissions from Stationary Combustion’ calculation tool provided by Greenhouse Gas Protocol (accessed through this link: Link).
 Balaras, Constantinos A., et al. "Energy Use Intensities for Non-Residential Buildings." Zbornik Međunarodnog kongresa o KGH 48.1 (2017): 369-389.
For all calculations, we used raw data provided by the waste processing company Quantum Waste (UK based) calculate approximate weight of waste bags by composition. The breakdown of each bag are as follows:
Compost bag: Each bag contains 5.25 kg of waste. Although size of the bag is not given, we estimated that this would be roughly equivalent to a ~40 litre bag.
Recyclable: Each bag contains 3.60 kg of waste. Although size of the bag is not given, we estimated that this would be roughly equivalent to a 40-60 litre bag.
Non-Recyclable: Each bag contains 3.94 kg of waste. Although size of the bag is not given, we estimated that this would be roughly equivalent to a 40-60 litre bag.
Because weight is used to calculate final emissions from waste disposal, these values are applied to all locations as it is difficult for users to provide estimates of bag weights as this will change with size.
Conversion factors are taken from different sources: For the UK, the numbers are based off DEFRA, and for the US, the numbers are from the EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM) using the ‘Mixed’ values for each waste category. For Italy and France, the values are an estimate calculated by averaging the UK and US values, where the US values are corrected to standardise the methodology of the two different calculation methods.
Although DEFRA has a large number of materials in the dataset which can be used to calculate emissions from material use, we selected a few items that were not covered directly by the dataset and required more research and different sources. The table below shows the sources used for each country and material:
PHOTO/VIDEO SECTION -
|Plasterboard||UK – DEFRA (production + disposal)US – EPA (production + disposal)EU - Average US and UK values (the US values are corrected to standardise the methodology with the UK numbers)||For weight estimation: Link|
|Wood (General)||UK – DEFRA (production + disposal)US – EPA (production + disposal)EU - Average US and UK (the US values are corrected to standardise the methodology with the UK numbers)||Plywood is used as a proxy for the wood weight value.For weight: Link|
|Colourama||UK – DEFRA (production + disposal)US – EPA (production + disposal)EU - Average US and UK (the US values are corrected to standardise the methodology with the UK numbers)||Paper is used as a proxy for colourama.For weight: Link|
Weight estimates for each material are required for the calculations. These values are global and are from a variety of sources, listed in the above table within the ‘Comments’ column.
SHOWS/EVENTS SECTION -
|Plywood||UK – DEFRA (production + disposal)US – EPA (production + disposal)EU – Average US and UK (the USvalues are corrected to standardise the methodology with the UK numbers)||The EPA database does not include Plywood data. As a result, MDF is used as a proxy.|
|Wood (General)||UK – DEFRA (production + disposal)US – EPA (production + disposal)EU - Average US and UK (the US values are corrected to standardise the methodology with the UK numbers)|
|Paint||Water/Oil based – Global Link||The LCA database provides the energy consumption required to make a litre of paint, as well as transport-related fuel usage. These values were then multiplied by eachcountry’s carbon intensity value to get emission numbers specific to each country.For disposal methods (recycled/non-recycled), we assumed that the onlypart of a paint can that can be recycled is the steel paint can container. We estimated the weight of the can to be 0.5 kilos, and used the steel values (above) to calculatecarbon intensity for these activities.|
|Paint||Link||Although the source is EU based, the publication is the most comprehensive source of data for the emission from different types of textiles, and thus can be applied as a global value. Weight values are from a variety of sources, and are estimated to be:
Cotton –0.15 gsm
Linen – 0.16 gsm
Silk – 0.12 gsm
Wool – 0.23 gsm
Polyester - 0.13 gsm
Only DEFRA provided a value for the carbon intensity for disposal methods of textiles. As a result, this value is used for all locations.
The catering section can be split into 3 different categories: materials (ie. Cutlery, bottles), food production, and rewards.
MATERIALS – Like the set-build section above, material emissions (both production and disposal) are based on DEFRA values for the UK, and EPA for the US with EU values beingan averaged value of UK and standardised US values. Values for cutlery were based on different types of material – for example, we used the glass value for reusable plates/cups/cutlery as most plates and cups are made of glass/ceramic. Biodegradable material are represented by paper, and single-use materials are plastic.
FOOD PRODUCTION – While DEFRA has a value used to calculate the emissions from the weight of food produced, the figure is specific to the UK and cannot be used to estimate emissions for other countries. (which prevented us from finding similar figures for the different regions we wanted to include). As a result, we used a study titled ‘The role of trade in the greenhouse gas footprints of EU diets’ by Sandström, Vilma, et al (2018)  which collates data for the EU by country. The US data is derived from EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM) – organic materials chapter (2019).
REWARDS – ‘Rewards’ describes the category of food/the diet of the meal which will either bring the final emission to be either higher or lower. In InFocus, there are two types of rewards: the first is the category (which is either ‘Catering’ or ‘Delivery/Take-out’). While the emission value calculated for a meal is deemed to reflect a ‘normal’ household meal (which is then used as a proxy for the delivery/take-out value), catered meals are usually a higher quality. We calculated this value to be 60% more than the delivery/take-out value by looking at energy usage in two types of restaurants within the CIBSE dataset (specifically for the UK). As a result, a catering emission will be 60% more than the delivery value.
Locally sourced – Several studies have shown that locally-sourced food has a negligible impact on emission (eg. https://ourworldindata.org/food-ghg-emissions). However, we have decided to implement a 50% reduction compared to non-locally sourced meals since most food that is not locally produced is flown in, generating heavy transport emissions.
Vegan/Vegetarian – Diet has a huge impact on the impact of food production. To estimate the reduction in emissions, we looked three studies showing the greenhouse gas emission estimates per meals by diet type. From these studies, we found that vegetarian meals emit 30% less carbon dioxide compared to omnivorous meals, and vegan diets emit roughly 50%.
 Sandström, Vilma, et al. "The role of trade in the greenhouse gas footprints of EU diets."Global food security19 (2018): 48-55.
We work with some great suppliers, vendors, hotels and restaurants that are trying to change their industry, minimise their environmental impact and maximise positive social impact. They are taking steps in the right direction. We don’t have a due diligence team. We do not receive any financial kick-back from any of our partners other than the discount for the inFocus users. We are always looking to improve our selection by finding valid social and environmental initiatives together with a high level of product and service. So please, if you know of, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.