My 16kg transport carbon footprint

By John Parnell

It was 16.05kg to be precise, but despite my modest emissions, the CarbonDiem app has still been an eye opener.

While everybody knows travelling by train or bus is better for the environment than car, it’s not until you see the differences visually that it hits home.

For the past week the app has tracked five days of my weekly commute across London and a weekend trip 60km north to visit family.

My usage through a fairly standard seven days was low given how little I ever need to travel by car, but seeing the difference in emissions from the walking to driving to the trains, provides a powerful nudge in the right direction.

The CarbonDiem app allows smartphone users to track the greenhouse gases created by their travel choices. It currently works for multi-modal land transport across the whole of the EU and for flights anywhere in the world.

Simply download the app, turn on your GPS and away you go. It’s easy to use and understand with colours assigned to different modes of transport and map overlays showing exactly where you have been and what impact that travel had.

My travel footprint during one week shows an excursion out of London massively out-emitted my daily commute into the centre of town.

The World Resources Institute estimates that 14.3% of emissions are from transport while the UK government puts the national figure at closer to a quarter.

There is potential for businesses to make great use of the app by aggregating employee travel impacts.

Not only can this show people where they might do better (cutting out short, unnecessary car journeys for example or flying a big red flag on short flights) it could also help businesses to monitor and reduce their overall emissions from travel.

From April this year, all businesses trading on the London Stock Exchange will be required to submit sustainability reporting.

CarbonDiem has developed a desktop monitoring tool, CSR Pro, to collate all employees’ data.

This is one of a number of tools that could help companies not only to comply with these minimum standards, but to make a positive contribution to reducing their emissions. British Telecom and the BBC have already signed up for the service and trials are ongoing in six different countries.

CarbonDiem is available for Android and Blackberry smartphones with an Apple version on the way. The company does not hold personal location data.

Video: CarbonDiem walkthrough

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