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  Riverford sustainable development project


measuring our carbon footprint

Our first attempt at assesing our carbon footprint involved measuring or estimating the greenhouse gas emissions associated with everything we did, or asking others to do so on our behalf.  This gave us a rough estimate but we soon found that our self-taught, common sense approach was not aligned with the methods used by other businesses. Not wanting to re-invent the wheel or further complicate an area already fraught with controversy, we went back to scratch and have followed the methods that are emerging as the convention for carbon foot-printing.  Even doing it the conventional way does not allow easy comparisons between our footprint and others; comparisons require a thorough investigation of the respective methodologies and being sure of what has been included and excluded by each.


what we have included

First, we distinguish between two types of emissions; direct and indirect.


  • Direct emissions are those from sources that are owned or controlled by us.
  • Indirect emissions are those that are a consequence of our activities, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another company.

The commonly accepted method is to divide the sources of your emissions into three scopes:


  • Scope 1 - includes all our direct emissions, for example the burning of diesel in our vehicles.
  • Scope 2 – includes indirect emissions from the use of purchased electricity, heat or cooling.  Although these are indirect we choose how much energy to buy and so are responsible for these emissions.
  • Scope 3 – includes other indirect emissions, not from sources owned by us but that occur as a consequence of our activities, for example from the manufacture of our packaging materials.

Inclusion of scope one and two emissions is obligatory, three is optional (and often omitted in published carbon footprints), but because we think there are areas within our influence we have included some activities under it.


and what we have not included...

We have concentrated our studies on the activities between the field gate and the doorstep; so far we have not included the actual farming whether in the field or in a greenhouse. This may seem strange for a farm based business but we believe that with the notable exception of heated greenhouse production, its exclusion does not substantially detract from the validity of the study. To read about our reasons for excluding farming emissions click here.


So this is what our footprint looks like ...