What is carbon footprinting?

Schéma Bilan Carbone

What is carbon footprinting?

It is an assessment of the quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted (or captured) into the atmosphere over one year by the activities of an organisation or an area. CO2 is just one of the many gases taken into account: methane, fluids, refrigerants, nitrous oxide, etc.


ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition, has developed a carbon footprinting tool. The first step is to define its scope:
  • Define the organisational scope: which parts of the organisation are concerned?
  • Define the operational scope: what emissions are taken into account?
  • Set emissions factors or monetary ratios: determine the mass of CO2, equivalent to the GHG emissions linked to an activity, to the amount of purchases.
Schéma d'un bilan carbone : les données de l'activité et les facteurs d'émissions permettent d'obtenir la masse CO2 équivalente

Legal Framework

Under the "Loi sur la Transition Énergétique pour la Croissance verte" (Energy Transition for Green Growth) Act, which came into force on 18 August 2025, a regulatory GHG emissions report is compulsory for companies with more than 500 employees, local authorities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, public establishments with more than 250 employees and government departments. It must be renewed every 4 years for companies and every 3 years for other organisations. Failure to do so has been punishable by penalties since 2016.

Published on February 13, 2024 Updated on February 13, 2024