Sustainability challenge accepted: Calculating carbon handprint of our FTIR analyzer

Sustainability is not just a talking point for us. We partnered up with the City of Vantaa and environmental engineering students from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Finland to calculate the carbon handprint of our latest FTIR analyzer, GT5000 Terra.

What do you get when you put our sustainability strategy, a team of enthusiastic environmental engineering students, and city officials together? An interesting project that was “meant to be”, says our quality manager and sustainability ambassador Ulla Kosonen when talking about how the initiative to calculate the carbon handprint of our latest FTIR analyzer GT5000 Terra came to life.

“It is a funny story. We had just decided internally that we should calculate the environmental handprint or carbon handprint of the GT5000 Terra and soon after, I received a letter from the City of Vantaa inviting us to participate in their climate survey. It was perfect timing. They asked us if we are interested in working with the school for a joint project, and of course, we answered yes!” says Kosonen.

 

Ulla Kosonen, Quality Manager at Gasmet

Minimizing carbon footprint and maximizing handprint as part of our sustainability goals

You may have heard a lot about carbon footprint, but what about a carbon handprint? It is a relatively new environmental indicator, Kosonen explains.

“The carbon handprint methodology is not widely known yet, but I think it will become an important indicator in the future. In contrast to a carbon footprint, which refers to the negative environmental impacts of a product or service when it is being used, handprint also emphasizes its positive effects in the future when the product is used by the customer. The bigger the handprint the better!” says Kosonen.

According to Kosonen, an example of a sustainable measure that could lead to a positive impact in the future is using more environmentally friendly alternatives while making products.

Calculating the carbon handprint of GT5000 Terra has been a huge undertaking involving extensive group effort from all parties.

“Metropolia students are doing the actual calculations. We provide the necessary information and documentation — for instance, the weight of the product and its components, where our suppliers are from, how our customers use it, etc. City of Vantaa representatives oversee the project and assess their future role in the cooperation between educational institutions, companies, and the city,” she explains.

You can always do more — finding new opportunities to improve climate work

Like with any test, the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) part is waiting for the results which are due within this year 2022. Kosonen says that she will look at the findings more like an opportunity.

“This is the first time we are calculating the carbon handprint of any of our products. So of course, we don’t know what the results will be. But we have been working on sustainability issues for many years now and I think it will show in the results. If something does come up indicating we could do better, we won´t look at it as a negative. Either way, this is an opportunity for us. Once we get the results, we will determine our next steps,” she says.

Like everything else during these pandemic times, the project meetings have mostly been restricted to Teams meetings, but Kosonen says it has been a pleasure working with the students.

“We have been collaborating really well with the three students on the team — Sara Lahtinen, Ida Lindholm, and Anni Paasovaara. They have been quite professional in their approach, and we are very thankful for their efforts. The work they are doing is really valuable for Gasmet,” says Kosonen.

Small steps can make a huge difference in upholding our 1.5°C sustainability commitment

The pilot project launched in the cities of Vantaa, Kerava, and Järvenpää in the Greater Helsinki region is part of a larger initiative funded by the Ministry of the Environment of Finland to develop climate cooperation between municipalities and businesses operating in the area. Their goal of reducing the region’s CO2 emissions was perfectly aligned with Gasmet´s commitment to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

“We determined our 1.5 °C strategy about three years ago and are constantly looking for new ways to do better. We adopt monthly themes and goals to encourage us to think and act sustainably and engage each other in improving our climate work together by developing environmentally friendly solutions and operating models,” says Kosonen.

I think even little things matter. You don’t have to do everything at once — just start with something and improve from there. And I think that´s what´s important — not just words, but collective action. – Kosonen sums up.

 


1.5 °C strategy

Read more about our 1.5 °C strategy and our list of ongoing actions to participate in global efforts to mitigate climate change.

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