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Biogenic Carbon Footprint Calculator for Harvested Wood Products

WWF, in partnership with Quantis, Intl., has developed a free, user-friendly calculator to calculate biogenic emissions for a variety of forest-based products. The calculator's aim is to support companies in the dynamic accounting of biogenic emissions of wood-based products, improving the quality of their greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and facilitating decision-making around the sustainable sourcing, design, and use of those products. This calculator is a beta test and, if useful and aligned with forthcoming Greenhouse Gas Protocol guidance, will be updated and improved.

Functionality

The biogenic carbon footprint calculator is applicable to a variety of products (e.g., bioenergy pellets, paper, timber, etc.) with a diverse set of end uses (e.g., renewable energy, furniture, pulp and paper, etc.).

The calculator provides reference values for different forest types along with values for different species and product use phases (e.g., < one year for pellets, 15 years for furniture). Additionally, a user can customize the calculator with location or company-specific data as appropriate.

How to Use the Calculator

Detailed instructions on how to use the calculator can be found in the "quick start guide" tab of the biogenic carbon footprint calculator and in the user manual. You can download the user manual at worldwildlife.org/GWP-User-Manual.

Methodology

The biogenic carbon footprint calculator implements a dynamic accounting approach that considers biogenic carbon in wood-based products. Compared to static accounting methods, dynamic accounting applies time-dependent characterization factors to biogenic carbon emissions and removals in a given year.

As such, the calculator calculates the biogenic carbon footprint by expanding on the concept of global warming potential of biogenic carbon (GWPbio), which takes into account forest carbon gaps (decreased carbon stocks in forests until regrowth occurs) and the benefits of storing carbon in products. The following carbon pools are accounted for in this calculator's methodology: carbon stored in above-ground biomass (AGB), below-ground biomass (BGB), dead organic matter (DOM), and soil organic carbon (SOC). Outputs are provided in kg CO2 equivalent.

The calculator does not take into account other aspects of forest biomass use (biodiversity, water, socioeconomic factors) other than biogenic emissions.

For more information about the methodology, please refer to the methodological report at worldwildlife.org/GWP-Methodology.

Other Resources

  • Quantis. 2018. Accounting for Natural Climate Solutions: Guidance for Measuring GHG Emissions from Land, Forests, and Soils across the Supply Chain.

  • Levasseur, A., P. Lesage, and M. Margni. 2010. Dynamic LCA and its application to global warming impact assessment. Time 44(8): 3169–3174.

  • Liu, W., Z. Zhang, X. Xie, Z. Yu, K. von Gadow, J. Xu, S. Zhao, and Y. Yang. 2017. Analysis of the Global Warming Potential of Biogenic CO2 Emission in Life Cycle Assessments. Scientific Reports 7(July 2016): 39857.

  • Holtsmark, B. 2015a. Quantifying the global warming potential of CO2 emissions from wood fuels. GCB Bioenergy 7(2): 195–206.

  • Cherubini, F., N.D. Bird, A. Cowie, G. Jungmeier, B. Schlamadinger, and S. Woess-Gallasch. 2009. Energy- and greenhouse gas-based LCA of biofuel and bioenergy systems: Key issues, ranges and recommendations. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 53(8): 434–447. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDX-4W7HP1J-1/2/de90c58635f09f9c405c8e4736264223.

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Quantis Team: [email protected]

WWF Team: [email protected]

Your use of this tool is at your own risk and provided "as is" without warranties of any kind. WWF and Quantis do not represent or warrant that the tool or the results it provides are accurate, complete, reliable, current, or error-free nor that the tool is free of viruses or other harmful components.

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