Piloting carbon handprint calculation

The carbon footprint is already a familiar concept for many. It refers to the greenhouse gas emission impact of a product, activity or service during its lifecycle. The carbon footprint of an individual or company can also be calculated. Hansel has been calculating its carbon footprint since 2020. In 2023, Hansel’s carbon footprint, calculated according to the GHG Protocol, was 661 t (2022: 480 t). The figure represents the greenhouse gas emissions of Hansel’s employees at work and is equivalent to the average emission load of some 74 Finns (2022: 55).

On the other hand, carbon handprint describes the reduction in the carbon footprint of a product or service that can be achieved by the user. Hansel’s joint procurement contracts are worth more than EUR 1.5 billion per year. If Hansel can offer its customers a solution that produces less greenhouse gas emissions than the previous one, the customers’ carbon footprint will be reduced and the carbon handprint of the enabler of the reduction will grow. However, Hansel is by no means the only link in the supply chain, which is why we were interested to see how much if any of these potential emission reductions could be allocated to Hansel’s handprint.

“Carbon handprint describes the reduction in the carbon footprint enabled by a product or service.”

Examining the carbon handprints of three joint procurement procedures

Our consultant Sitowise Plc set out to investigate the matter and, with researchers from LUT University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, came to the conclusion that the carbon handprint did not need to be shared and could be calculated in full for all parties in the supply chain that play a crucial role in supply. This means that Hansel can calculate the full emissions reductions generated by its contracts in its handprint. However, at this point it should be kept in mind that Hansel’s carbon handprint cannot be deducted from Hansel’s carbon footprint.

The result of the handprint study was piloted by allowing Sitowise to calculate the carbon handprints of solar power plants tendered through Hansel’s dynamic purchasing system for 2020–2026 realised in 2022 and renewable fuel oil procured through a framework agreement for fuel tank deliveries for 2021–2023 (2024) realised the same year. Sitowise also verified the handprint of renewable electricity in a state electricity framework agreement that had been calculated by Hansel itself.

Results of the pilot calculation project

Joint procurement Handprint,
Handprint compared to
Hansel’s CO2 footprint, %
Solar power plants 83 13
Renewable fuel oil 78 12
Electricity 495,000 74,887

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