Indirect Footprint

For the first few years of our household energy transition I focused solely on us becoming a ‘Fossil Fuel Free Family’. In essence this meant that our aim was to no longer directly buy any fossil based fuels – grid electricity, petrol, or gas. Although I was very aware of it, I did not look into our indirect carbon footprint – the carbon embedded in the products and services we bought.

In my 2019 Annual Report I indicated that going forward from 2020 I would expand the scope of our household energy transition to include both our direct and our indirect carbon footprints.

As a first step in this new direction, in March 2020 I published a household Carbon Footprint Report for 2019 in which I attempted to analyse both our direct and indirect footprints.

Tackling one’s indirect carbon footprint is a very different beast from reducing your direct footprint. Your direct carbon footprint is very simple to monitor, reduce and report. On the other hand your indirect footprint is very vague as it is made up of lots of unknowns. It generally consists of multiple small energy/carbon items rather than the two or three major energy/carbon items (grid electricity, petrol, gas) that make up most households’ direct footprint.

At the time of writing (late March 2020) I’m trying to get my head around how to reduce our indirect carbon footprint. I’m now working on a couple of ideas – both, quite coincidentally, involve reducing the carbon footprint of our paper use. I propose to post short reports on my work from time to time as I test out my ideas in the coming months.