The PPA's Carbon Footprint Calculator
The PPA’s magazine carbon footprint calculator was launched in May 2009 to wide acclaim, receiving the award for Best Environmental Initiative at the Trade Association Forum Awards.
The Calculator allows members, free of charge, to quantify the footprints of their magazines. The calculator means that all types and sizes of publishers within the PPA can calculate their environmental impact.
Once the footprint has been quantified and understood, publishers can begin to make informed decisions about how to reduce this footprint in the future and engage with supply chain partners to achieve their future environmental aims.
Development of the Carbon Calculator is continuous and significant financial investment is guaranteed. During 2010 and 2011, we have refined the calculator to reflect user experiences and to ensure that carbon factors and other metrics are current. We have improved the diversity, transparency and accuracy of data provided by paper manufacturers and printers (88% of a magazine’s footprint).
The challenge of digital impacts and emerging media
With the drive to provide content across multi-platforms, 2011/12 sees further ground-breaking developments and major financial investment including:
• Improved usability by moving the tool to a more user-friendly web-based platform; thereby encouraging uptake and use of the Carbon Calculator (including member workshops and other activities to promote uptake);
• Incorporating content generation and an online module into the Carbon Calculator boundaries;
• Understanding the carbon footprint of other electronic media and incorporating into the Carbon Calculator boundaries (The literature review which precedes the full research to be undertaken in 2012 is noted in Annex 1a);
• Improved data for key areas of traditional magazine publishing, particularly printing and finishing;
• Guidance will be included in the form of links to appropriate existing guidance documents (eg CBI) and organisations that can provide support (eg Carbon Trust) and sector specific guidance provided by PPA where more focused information is required. The guidance will be tied in to the results of specific elements of the carbon footprint results.
Once the carbon footprint has been quantified and understood, publishers can make informed decisions about how to reduce their footprint and engage with supply chain partners to achieve their future environmental aims.
How does the Carbon Calculator work?
The Calculator is currently an easy to use, stand-alone Microsoft Excel based tool. It is accessed through a “switchboard” which allows the user to build up the profile of their publication and calculate their carbon footprint.
The Calculator is an example of “what if” technology. What if you reduced the paper weight? What if you changed the method of distribution? What if you changed the print method?
All of the supply chain stages for a magazine have been included: the production of raw materials; printing; finishing; supply; distribution, right up until the magazine reaches the final user.
Its baseline data and systems have been externally reviewed by the internationally renowned consultancy, the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management and broadly achieves the supply chain specific requirements of PAS 2050, BSI’s guidelines on carbon footprint methodology.
Workshops, a simple user guide, and training presentation are available to all users.
How will it help PPA members to reduce their carbon footprint?
All types and sizes of publishers can:
- Calculate their environmental impact free of charge, without employing major resources.
- Calculate the carbon footprint of a title, either by issue or over a given period.
- Benchmark their title against a high carbon impact/low carbon impact magazine.
- Better understand the impact of each part of the magazine production process.
- Play out different scenarios to calculate the impact of these decisions in carbon terms.
- Validate their preferred supplier list and set targets for reductions.
The Calculator raises awareness of wider environmental issues and facilitates closer collaboration across the supply chain contributing to carbon reduction strategies. The PPA’s members are now able to put strategies in place to reduce their total carbon emissions. What you can measure, you can improve.