5 ways to visualize carbon emissions for your organization

Angela Thompson
Angela Thompson
November 10, 2023
min read

In the face of global regulations compelling companies to measure, report, and reduce their emissions, organizations are increasingly acknowledging the importance of comprehending and mitigating their carbon footprint. Visualizing carbon emissions data becomes a pivotal undertaking in adhering to these regulatory frameworks and serves as a critical step toward establishing meaningful sustainability goals. In this article, we will explore five effective ways for organizations to visualize their carbon emissions, empowering them to pinpoint areas for improvement and monitor their progress in aligning with a more sustainable future.

1. Emissions by scope

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol categorizes emissions into three scopes, helping organizations classify emissions based on their source. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased electricity, and Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions from the value chain. Visualizing emissions by scope can help organizations prioritize their efforts to reduce carbon emissions across these categories.

Doughnut charts or stacked bar charts are suitable visualization methods for showing emissions by scope. This approach ensures that organizations address emissions comprehensively, not just those within their direct control, and encourages collaboration throughout the supply chain.

2. Emissions by source

A granular breakdown of emission sources can help your organization focus on specific areas for improvement. Visualizing carbon emissions by GHG categories, emission factors or user-defined categories, allows you to understand which aspects of your operations are contributing the most to your carbon footprint.

You can use stacked bar charts or pie charts to depict emissions by source. This information can guide your sustainability efforts by highlighting which processes or activities need immediate attention and which can be optimized for carbon reduction.

3. Emissions by supplier

On average, 80% of an organization's emissions stem from its supply chain, with the majority of those emissions originating from its top 10-25 suppliers. The most valuable visualisation to an organization is therefore one that provides an emissions down by supplier, allowing them to identify the top sources of their emissions, to gain a more complete understanding of its carbon footprint.

Creating a supplier-specific emissions breakdown enables organizations to assess the environmental impact of their supply chain and engage in discussions with suppliers to encourage more sustainable practices. You can use pie charts, bar graphs, or scatter plots to present data on emissions associated with each supplier, making it clear which suppliers are contributing the most to your overall carbon footprint. This targeted approach helps you address the most significant contributors to emissions within your supply chain, thereby advancing their sustainability goals and reducing their environmental impact.

4. Emissions by organization or region

One of the fundamental steps in visualizing carbon emissions is to break down the data by organization or region. This approach provides a comprehensive view of the emissions originating from different parts of your company. By segmenting emissions data by department, business unit, or location, organizations can identify the sources of emissions that require the most attention. This enables more targeted efforts in reducing carbon emissions in areas where they have the most significant impact.

5. Emissions trends over time

Visualizing carbon emissions over time is an essential aspect of understanding an organization's environmental impact. By tracking emissions data from previous years, you can identify trends, whether they are upward or downward. This information can be invaluable for setting targets, evaluating the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives, and demonstrating your commitment to environmental responsibility.

Bar charts and line charts are excellent tools for showing emissions trends. These visual representations can help your organization determine if its efforts to reduce emissions are making a difference and whether any corrective actions are needed.

Bonus: Stack your emissions data

Taking emissions visualizations a step further, organizations can enhance their understanding by overlaying their emissions data, for example, visualizing their supplier emissions with a detailed breakdown of their emissions sources. This nuanced approach provides a more granular view of the environmental impact associated with each supplier. By visualizing not only the total emissions attributed to a supplier but also the specific sources of those emissions, organizations can pinpoint areas for improvement more precisely.

This level of detail allows for targeted interventions, encouraging suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices in particular facets of their operations. Whether it's energy consumption, transportation, or manufacturing processes, this overlaid visualization empowers organizations to collaborate with their suppliers strategically, addressing the root causes of emissions and fostering a collective commitment to environmental responsibility throughout the supply chain.

Get these emissions visualisations for your organization

For organizations seeking to quantify, visualize, and diminish their carbon emissions, Avarni is your dedicated partner. Our all-encompassing emissions management platform efficiently identifies your primary sources of emissions, encourages your suppliers to contribute their emissions data (at no cost), and projects your future emissions. These tools, when utilized collectively, empower you to successfully attain your net zero targets. For more information, get in touch with us, or take a deeper dive into our main modules:

Try Avarni for FREE

Get started with Avarni's example data sets in just 10 minutes and try Avarni for 14 days, no credit card required.
Dashboard hero image - cropped

More from Avarni