Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are often used as an indicator for environmental footprint because they are a key contributor to climate change, which is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing the world today.
GHGs trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, which can lead to a range of negative impacts such as rising temperatures, sea level rise, and more extreme weather events. These impacts can have significant social, economic, and environmental consequences, including damage to infrastructure, loss of agricultural productivity, and displacement of people.
By measuring and managing GHG emissions, organizations can help to reduce their contribution to climate change and minimize their overall environmental footprint. Additionally, because GHGs are often closely tied to energy use, focusing on reducing GHG emissions can also lead to more efficient use of resources and cost savings.
While GHGs are an important indicator of environmental impact, it's also important to recognize that they are just one aspect of a product or process's overall environmental footprint. Other factors, such as water use, land use, and resource depletion, may also be important to consider depending on the context.
To make calculations in the circular economy, the issue of resource scarcity is for example more important and considering only the carbon footprint leads to the wrong conclusions. That is why we also selected eco-costs as an indicator since:
It includes a variety of environmental aspects such as resource depletion, eco-toxicity, human health and the carbon footprint.
It is the most used system for monetization of eco-burden in science and can be used for True Costs evaluation.
It is fully transparent, independently developed and maintained and well-described by Sustainability Impact Metrics, which is a non-profit and science-driven Foundation which originated from the Technical University of Delft.
The Eco-costs system is in compliance with ISO 14008, and is applied in LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), TCA (True Costs Accounting) and in corporate accounting systems, like the new rules for CSRD, Taxonomy and CBAM of the EU.