ABOUT THE CARBON FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR
Purpose: The carbon footprint calculator estimates an annual carbon footprint in tonnes of C02 emissions (CO2e). It uses average assumptions based on the typical consumption patterns of countries like Australia by collecting general information about lifestyle and finances.
General information only: The output of the calculator is general information only and should not be relied upon for the purposes of making a financial decision in relation to a financial product. We strongly recommend you seek financial advice tailored to your own circumstances before you make any financial decisions and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The information provided does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs nor does it consider the risks, benefits or fees of any particular investment choices you make.
The carbon footprint calculator is provided by Australian Ethical Investment Ltd (ABN 47 003 188 930, AFSL 229949) (‘Australian Ethical’) “as is” without any warranties. To the extent permitted by law, Australian Ethical their directors, officers, employees and related bodies corporate exclude any liability for any loss, damage (including any consequential loss or damage), claims and expenses (including but not limited to legal costs and defence or settlement costs) suffered or incurred by you directly or indirectly arising out of or in connection with your reliance on the information provided in the calculator or the estimates obtained using the calculator, whether in contract, tort including negligence, statute or otherwise. This calculator is not intended as an advertisement for any product issued by Australian Ethical. The information may not be reproduced or disseminated in any form.
Limitations: It’s important to note this is only an estimate and there are limitations to this calculator, such as:
- It does not take into consideration a person’s individual investments or the emissions that are attributable to investors on an individual basis. Changing investments to a Low Carbon Fund does not necessarily change the amount of carbon emissions in the environment rather it indicates a potential reduction in exposure to carbon intensive investments.
- It does not consider or calculate how a person may reduce their carbon footprint by changing their lifestyle;
- The validity of the results depends on the appropriateness of the assumptions and the accuracy of the data included by a user;
- The fact that the calculator is based on average assumptions based on the typical consumption patterns of countries like Australia means that the output could be higher or lower than a person’s actual carbon footprint; and
- The finances section is based on information as at 31 December 2017 and for lifestyle, based on the National Footprint Accounts 2018 Edition (which reflects data collected from 1961 to 2014).
The primary data source for the lifestyle components is the Australia’s National Footprint Accounts (2018 Edition). This can be further explored here: data.footprintnetwork.org. The components of the average per capita footprint are further weighted based on your answers to the lifestyle survey questions. To make the calculations quicker and easier it necessarily includes many assumptions. Therefore, it may not accurately reflect the environmental impact of all lifestyle choices.
Assumptions: The calculations are based on a range of assumptions, which are explained below.
- Customising for Australia: There are several areas of the calculator that have been customised to provide Australia-specific results.
|Australia base values (GFN 2018)
|Allocation of carbon footprint categories
|Food & drink
|Health & education
|Other goods & services
- The Australian National Footprint Account totals are disaggregated in the tool into the following components:
- Housing – based on domestic energy use, property size and number of co-habitants
- Mobility – based on your normal mode of travel
- Vacation – based on where you typically vacation
- Food and Drink – based on your dietary preferences and balance between processed and local/fresh food you eat
- Goods – uses the volume of domestic waste arising as a proxy for purchased goods and takes into account whether you recycle or not
- Services – covers the public and private services you use and purchase (e.g. health and education, communications and so on)
- Parallel calculations are undertaken for both the ecological and carbon footprints to provide results in both global hectares (allowing for the ‘number of earths’ comparison) and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Simple multipliers are used to indicate the variation from the average footprint based on the questionnaire responses. To make the assessment quick and easy we do not ask for any actual data (e.g. kWh of electricity used or kilograms of waste produced). The questions are therefore necessarily self-referential; they are based on how a user views their own lifestyle relative to the national picture. For example, if the user states that they live in a ‘medium sized house’ with ‘no other people’ and that their heating/cooling bills are ‘normal’ with electricity purchased from ‘non-renewable sources’ and that they tend ‘not to conserve energy’ then it is assumed that they have an average footprint. Any of these responses will impact on the overall Housing footprint. For example, if they share with other people then the overall impact allocated to them is reduced in proportion to the number of sharers.
- In addition, those impacts outside of an individual’s direct control (for example, the impact of product manufacturing or public services) are dealt with by a separate multiplier which indicates the efficiency of the economy.
- The model can – by changing the factors – be ‘biased’. The assumptions can easily be made more or less conservative.
Australian Ethical has reviewed the model and the data sources used by Anthesis for the lifestyle components of the calculator. Australian Ethical believes the assumptions noted above are reasonable as Anthesis is a global sustainability services and solutions consultancy which has technical experience in this field.
- Australian Ethical’s aggregate share investments are used as the example of a Low Carbon Fund. The Mainstream Fund option comprises 71% the S&P ASX200 Index and 29% the MSCI World ex Australia index (a growth style option). The Mainstream Fund option also assumes management have not adopted a responsible investment philosophy such as seen in Australian Ethical’s approach.Australian Ethical believes the Mainstream Fund is a fair comparison fund for the Low Carbon Fund because the S&P ASX 200 and MSCI World indices are commonly used indices for investment in Australian and international shares, and the allocation between these indices in the Mainstream Fund is the same as the allocation between Australian and international shares in the Low Carbon Fund.
- The Mainstream Fund and Low Carbon Fund (Funds) portfolio carbon emissions have been assessed by Trucost, part of S&P Global, which provides analysis of carbon and other environmental impacts of companies and portfolios. The associated Funds’ carbon intensities have been calculated by dividing the respective carbon emissions by the value of Australian Ethical’s equity holdings at 31 December 2017.
- Based on the Trucost analysis, the total emissions of Australian Ethical’s share portfolio are 58% lower than the Mainstream Fund. Australian Ethical’s share portfolio is used as an example of a Low Carbon Fund. In performing this analysis, Trucost considered only the equity holdings of Australian Ethical and excluded nominal holdings held for advocacy purposes. Carbon footprint methodology is more settled, and carbon footprint data is more readily available and reliable, for equities than for cash and fixed income. For this reason, the footprint includes share investments only (not Australian Ethical’s other investments).
- The Funds’ carbon emissions is based on the companies in the portfolios. The carbon emissions for each individual holding encapsulate both direct and first tier indirect impacts. Direct emissions result from a company’s own operations and include GHG emissions from boilers and company owned vehicles, emissions from any manufacturing operations and waste produced. First tier indirect impacts, also termed supply chain impacts, occur because of the goods or services a company procures. This includes purchased electricity, business travel and logistics.
- Each holding’s contribution to the carbon footprint of the relevant Fund’s portfolio is calculated on an equity ownership basis. The carbon footprint of the relevant fund is the sum of these contributions normalised by revenue owned.
- Current carbon footprinting methods don’t do a good job of including emissions produced, or emissions saved, from use of a company’s products by customers. This means that the carbon footprint of a company can misrepresent the company’s positive and negative climate impacts. For example, the footprint of a coal mining company generally doesn’t include the emissions from the burning of its coal by its customers. And the footprint of a company manufacturing wind turbines doesn’t generally include the emissions savings enjoyed by its customers and the planet from generation of near zero emissions electricity. We take these limitations of footprinting into account when we interpret footprint data for individual investments and the broader portfolio.
KPMG has provided limited assurance over the emissions reduction associated with the Finances portion of the carbon footprint calculator. To view KPMG’s limited assurance opinion, click here.
This calculator is current as at December 2018.
 The analysis of Trucost is copyright © 2018 S&P Trucost Limited. All rights reserved. Redistribution or reproduction in whole or in part are prohibited without permission from S&P Trucost Limited.
 The MSCI data is the property of MSCI. No use or distribution without written consent. Data provided “as is” without any warranties. MSCI assumes no liability for or in connection with the data. For full disclaimer see: australianethical.com.au/sources/