Carbon Equivalencies

Module one

We’re all talking about measuring and reducing carbon emissions and thinking about tonnes of carbon. Currently, the average carbon emission per year for someone living in the UK is 12.7 tonnes - but what does that really look like? To help visualise the amount of greenhouse gas you’re working with, we’ve shared some relative equivalencies.

One tonne of CO2 is equivalent to:

  • The average emission of one passenger on a return flight from Paris to New York
  • Driving from London to Edinburgh over 10 times
  • Having your heating on full blast for 80 days straight
  • Eating over 1,000 beef steaks or 4,100 wheels of camembert

12.7 tonnes weighs the same as:

  • 18 dairy cows
  • 10,500 bottles of wine
  • 25 million plastic straws

And to deadlift that weight you’d need 25.5 Eddie Halls (the world’s strongest man, who lifts 500kg!)

Your company’s impact

Some interesting facts you might not have considered:

  • A one-hour HD video call between two people in London, on PCs over wifi = 1km travelled by car or 10km by train.
  •  The carbon footprint of manufacturing a smartphone can be up to as much as 95kg – and that’s just producing it, not the emissions of using it. How many mobiles are in use in your business? Have a go at working out an equivalent for that!
  • A one-minute mobile to mobile call produces 57g of CO2, sending a text produces 0.014g of CO2 and using 1GB of data uses 3kg of CO2.
  • A laser printer produces approximately 1g of CO2 per page printed. The average box of printer paper contains 2,500 sheets, so every time you open a new box of paper remember that 2.5kg of CO2 has been produced.
  • A year’s worth of business emails for one person has the same emissions as them travelling the distance of the central line 80 times a year.
  • Two Google searches have roughly the same emissions as boiling a full kettle (15g).

This was last updated in June 2021 by Heart of the City. We’ve created these resources for individual SMEs to use. None of our content is to be adapted, reused or repurposed for commercial use.