Carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community. The six Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases that should be included are: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). For simplicity, the other gases are converted to carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), taking into account their relative impact on global warming. This allows the entire footprint to be expressed as a single quantity in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).
Once the brand has estimated how much tCO2e they are responsible for, they are then ready to actually offset their emissions. When they buy carbon offsets, they’re simply making a financial contribution that will be invested in carbon reduction projects. So if their carbon footprint is 1 ton of CO2e, they would offset 1 tCO2 to become 100% carbon neutral.