Environmental Footprints



What is an Environmental Footprint?

 Environmental footprint

The concept of "footprints" (whether focused on a single category of environmental impact, such as the Carbon Footprint or the Water Footprint, or reflecting several categories as in the Environmental Product or Corporate Footprints) is based on the calculation and communication of the results of a Life Cycle Analysis adapting the scope of this to the reference parameter that is to be reflected with the footprint. That is, doing an LCA and calculating the HA of a product is the same concept, but what is important is the methodological basis followed for this and the terminology used to express it.

The concept of environmental footprint was strengthened in the market when the European Commission began some years ago an initiative to homogenize and unify the different existing methodologies regarding this calculation, developing methods for calculating the "Product Environmental Footprint, PEF and "Organization Environmental Footprint, OEF". Through this method, several categories of environmental impact associated with the product and / or the organization are calculated, with the aim of communicating these and showing the information on the market accessible to all interested parties.



  • The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) covers the same concepts explained in the LCA section.
  • The Corporate Environmental Footprint (CEF) calculates the environmental behavior of a company. Starts in the same concept of the LCA but with a special scope, since it measures the environmental impacts associated with the activity of the all company during a representative period (normally one year). For this, the study includes all the activities, facilities, products and services offered by the company, although, depending on the use to be given to it, can focus specifically on any of them. The standard "ISO / TS 14072: 2014" Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Requirements and guidelines for the evaluation of the organizational life cycle "aims to give credibility and assurance to the calculations and reports of the HAC.


Specific footprints

Carbon Footprint (CF)

Carbon footprint


The Carbon Footprint (CF) measures the totality of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by direct or indirect effect of an individual, organization, event or product and its contribution to global warming. In reality, the CF concept goes beyond the single measurement of the CO2 emitted, since all the GHGs that contribute to global warming are taken into account, and then convert the individual results of each gas to CO2 equivalents. The ISO 14060 family standards are intended to give credibility and assurance to the calculations and reports of GHG emissions, and to the declarations of reduction or elimination thereof.

Water Footprint (WF)


Water footprint


The Water Footprint (WF) follows the same concept as the CF, but in this case measuring and accounting for water consumption instead of GHG: it is an indicator of water consumption and / or use, not only looking at direct use of water from a consumer or producer, but also to the indirect use of water from a complete life cycle approach. The standard "UNE-ISO 14046: 2016: Environmental management. Water footprint Principles, requirements and guidelines "aims to give credibility and assurance to the calculations and reports of WF.



Ecological Footprint (EF)

Ecological footprint



The Ecological Footprint (EF) is an indicator of environmental impact that reflects the impact of human activity on land resources and is measured in Hectares per capita.



Other Footprints


Other footprints



Other Footprints: focused on other specific parameters, such as the Energy Footprint (representing the energy consumption along the life cycle of the product, service or company), the Footprint in the reduction of the ozone layer, in the eutrophication of waters … etc.