Recognizing Your Carbon Footprint

Countless times we have heard of the term ?carbon footprint?. Perhaps we have seen and heard it on TV or read it in newspapers, magazines and published articles. Indeed, it has been an expression familiar to everyone as it is always associated with climate change, carbon emissions, global warming, pollution and other environmental issues. Carbon footprint is real. It exists and, in fact, continues to affect the world we live in.

Defining Carbon Footprint

Two essential words comprise the term carbon footprint. Fundamentally, ?carbon? means the carbon dioxide circulating in the atmosphere. It is also the general word used for other greenhouse gasses emitted into the air. On the other note, ?footprint? refers to impact or effect.

Think about the footprints people leave on the beach sand upon walking on the shore. That is exactly what carbon footprint is like. It’s about the impact humans leave on the earth in the form of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Calculating Your Personal Carbon Footprint

The food we eat, products we use, vehicles we ride on and electricity we consume emit carbon dioxide. In fact, our activities, lifestyle, homes, and countries contribute to climate change. And carbon footprint is the best estimate we can get of the full impact our doings affect the earth. It quantifies the amount of our carbon emission. With this, knowing how to calculate your personal carbon footprint is important.

There are various standards in calculating one?s carbon footprint. There is the so-called ?lifestyle assessment? and the input-output analysis. Lifestyle assessment works by adding up all the feasible emission pathways while the input-output analysis involves determining the total emissions of a particular country, dividing it by the carbon-emitting sectors and estimating the overall emissions of each sector. The input-output analysis makes sure that no emission pathway is missed out.

Calculating your carbon footprint manually is an effective way for you to understand your emissions better. You just need a lot of patience to learn how each footprint is generated. Moreover, there are also several resources online that can help you calculate your carbon footprint. Online carbon calculators are abundant across the web. To make your life simpler, you can opt to try those online calculators and easily determine your carbon emissions. However, such calculators vary in scope. So make sure that the online carbon calculator, you choose, is one that?includes emissions both direct and indirect.

Avoiding Toe Prints

A toe print is a portion of a footprint. Sometimes, people are misled in their calculations because they only get a carbon toe print instead of a footprint. The idea is that, you should cover a smart scope of your carbon emissions. Not only measuring a portion, but the whole.

Say for example, running a conventional car. The carbon emitted from the car is not only the fuel combustion from the diesel or petrol.? Likewise, the carbon released as the gas was processed and transported to your nearby gasoline station is also an addition to your carbon footprint. If you do not understand this, you will end up calculating your direct emissions while neglecting the indirect ones.

Be wise in calculating your carbon footprint. And when in doubt, whether you are an individual or a business entity, you should seek help from experts who can do it right.

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Align IT Investments With Organization Goals

While some organisation leaders loathe spending on IT, a growing number are already convinced of the necessity of investing in it. Unfortunately, a substantial fraction of those convinced to pursue IT investments are misguided as to which initiatives are really contributory to reaching their organisation’s goals.

In the end, many of their purchases either end up underutilised or become white elephants altogether. There are also those difficult to spot – IT purchases that do become integrated into daily operations but have little effect on the organisation’s growth, positioning, profitability, or efficiency.

If a purchase is to cost your company a fortune, then its positive impact on established company objectives should reflect accordingly. But how would you know it would? You can’t hope to foresee all its benefits especially if the IT solution is still quite new to you.

Our job is not only to identify the strengths of an IT system but also to determine whether these strengths are at all useful to your organisation’s thrusts.

Basically, here’s what we’ll do:

  • Conduct a rigorous analysis of your organisation to determine the specific and overall impact of certain IT solutions. We’ll be looking for areas where the effects of IT can result in the most rapid reduction of costs and, at the same time, drive the organisation in the direction of its established goals.
  • Propose cohesive best-of-breed solutions in line with the results of our analysis. Our familiarity with the IT landscape and our extensive selection of contacts in the industry will allow us to conduct insightful picks from a vast field of choices.
  • Establish best practices to make sure IT investments are optimally utilised.
  • Perform periodic reviews to ensure practices and processes are still in line with the established goals.

Find out how we can increase your efficiency even more:

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The General Data Protection Regulation & The Duty to use Encryption

The General Data Protection Regulation, abbreviated to GDPR, raised a storm when it arrived. In reality, it merely tightened up on existing good practice according to digital security specialists Gemalto. The right to withhold consent and to be forgotten has always been there, for example. However, the GDPR brings a free enforcement service for consumers, thus avoiding the need for third party, paid assistance.

The GDPR Bottom Lines for Data Security
Moreover, the GDPR has penalties it can apply, of the order that might have a judge choking on his wig. Under it, data security measures such as pseudonymisation (substitution of identifying fields) and encryption (encoding including password protection) have become mandatory. Businesses must further respect their client data by:

a) Storing it in a secure environment supported by robust services and systems

b) Having proven measures to restore availability and access after a breach

c) Being able to prove frequent effectiveness testing of these measures.

The General Data Protection Regulation places an onus on businesses to report any data breaches. This places us in a difficult situation. We must either face at least a wrist slap upon reporting failures. Alternatively, pay a fine of up to ?10 million, or 2% of total worldwide annual turnover.

The Engineered Weak Link in the System
Our greatest threat of breach is probably when the data leaves our secure environment, and travels across cyberspace to an employee, stakeholder, collaborator, or the client themselves. Since email became open to attack, businesses and individuals have turned to sharing platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, and so on. While these do allow an additional layer of password protection, none of these has proved foolproof. The GDPR may still fine us heavily, whether or not we are to blame for the actual breach.

How Hacking is Approaching Being a Science
We may make a mistake we may regret, if we do not take hacking seriously. The 10 worst data hacks Identity Force lists are proof positive that spending lots of money does not guarantee security (any more than having the biggest stock of nuclear weapons). We have to be smart, and start thinking the way that hackers do.

Hacker heaven is finding an Experian or a Dun & Bradstreet that may have shielded 143 million, and 33 million consumer records respectively, behind a single, flimsy cyber-security door. Ignorance is no excuse for them. They should simply have known better. They should have rendered consumer data unreadable at individual record level. The hackers could have found this too demanding to unpick, and have looked elsewhere.

How Data Encryption Can Help Prevent Hackers Succeeding
Encrypting data is dashboard driven, and businesses need not concern themselves about it works. There are, however, a few basic decisions they must take:

a) Purge the database of all information held without explicit permission

b) Challenge the need for the remaining data and purge the nice-to-haves

c) Adopt a policy of encrypting access at business and customer interfaces

d) Register with three freemium encryption services that seem acceptable

e) After experimenting, sign up for a premium service and be prepared to pay

Factors to Consider When Reaching a Decision
Life Hacker?suggests the following criteria although the list is a one-size-fits-all

a) Is the system fast, simple, and easy to operate

b) Can you encrypt hidden volumes within volumes

c) Can you mass-encrypt a batch of files easily

d) Do all other files remain encrypted when you open one

e) Do files automatically re-encrypt when you close them

f) How confident are you with the vendor, on a scale of 1 to 10

It may be wise to encrypt all the files on your system, and not just your customer data. We are always open to a hack by the competition after our strategic planning. If we leave the decision up to IT, then IT, being human may take the easy way out, and encrypt as little as possible.

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Saving Energy Step 1 ? Implementing a Management System

There has been much hype down the years regarding whether management is art or science. Thankfully, where people are concerned the pendulum has swung away from standard times in sweatshops in the west. However, when it comes to measuring physical things like harvest per square meter and the amount of energy consumed there is no substitute for scientific measurement, and this implies a system.

Managing energy cost and consumption down is like any other strategy. American engineer / statistician / management consultant W. Edwards Demming may have passed on in 1993. However he was as right as ever when he said:

  1. When people and organizations focus primarily on quality, this tends to increase and costs fall over time.
  1. However, when people and organizations focus primarily on costs, costs tend to rise and quality declines over time.

Demming believed that 90% of organizational problems arise from systems we put in place ourselves. This can be because we are so accustomed to them that we fail to notice when they are no longer relevant. The currently prevailing laissez faire towards energy is a case in point. What is managed improves and what is not, deteriorates. We know this. Let us take a look at how to apply this principle to energy management.

First, you need to get the subject out the closet and talk about it. How often do you do this is your boardroom, and how does energy rank against other priorities? Good governance is about taking up a position and following through on it. Here is a handy checklist you may like to use.

  • Do we use a consistent language when we talk about energy? Is it electricity, or carbon emitted (or are we merely fretting over cost).
  • How well engaged are we as a company? Looking up and down and across the organization are there points where responsibility stops.
  • How well have we defined accountability? Do we agree on key performance areas and how to report on them.
  • Are we measuring energy use at each point of the business? When did we last challenge the assumption that ?we’re doing okay?.
  • Have we articulated our belief that quality is endless improvement, or are we simply chasing targets because someone says we should.

A management system is a program of policies, processes and methods to ensure achievement of goals. The next blog focuses on tools and techniques that support this effort.

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