Estimating Corporate Carbon Footprints with Externally Available Data

15 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017

See all articles by Bernhard Goldhammer

Bernhard Goldhammer

EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht

Christian Busse

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg

Timo Busch

University of Hamburg

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

Corporate carbon footprints (CCFs) are a core tool in greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Established approaches for CCF calculation are based on an internal perspective that requires detailed corporate information. However, many firms do not publish information about their emissions. We seek to close this data gap by estimating scope 1 and 2 CCFs from an external perspective. The study uses a regression analysis approach, using actual firm‐internally computed CCFs to assess their degree of predictability from the outside. Data were collected from 93 European companies belonging to the chemicals, construction and engineering, and industrial machinery sectors. As predictors, we use five measures that are computed with publicly available corporate data: firm size; level of vertical integration; capital intensity; centrality of production; and carbon intensity of the national energy mix. The analysis shows that significant explanatory power for the CCF can be observed for size, capital intensity, and centrality of production. The best estimation results are achieved when data from different sectors are integrated into a comprehensive all‐sector model, while accounting for sector‐specific emission intensities by means of dummy variables. With an adjusted R² value of 0.817, the proposed procedure estimates CCFs in an accurate, yet also efficient, manner. Moreover, the study enhances trust in the current CCF calculation practices by showing that their results are plausible from a third‐party perspective.

Keywords: carbon accounting, carbon footprint, climate change, GHG emission estimation, industrial ecology, regression analysis

Suggested Citation

Goldhammer, Bernhard and Busse, Christian and Busch, Timo, Estimating Corporate Carbon Footprints with Externally Available Data (October 2017). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 21, Issue 5, pp. 1165-1179, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057729 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12522

Bernhard Goldhammer (Contact Author)

EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht

Gustav-Stresemann-Ring 3
Wiesbaden, Hessen 65189
Germany

Christian Busse

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg ( email )

Ammerländer Heerstr. 114-118
Oldenburg, D-26129
Germany

Timo Busch

University of Hamburg ( email )

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

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