The Institute for Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), a BIST community centre, has calculated their carbon footprint to understand the environmental impacts of its activities. The centre will propose an action plan for reduction and will conduct the study again in 2025.
The BIST community centre ICIQ has carried out an extensive study on the impact that its daily and research activities had on the environment in 2022. The centre analysed its its carbon footprint, which is “an indicator of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG),” according to the Department of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda of the Government of Catalonia, “associated with the life cycle of a product, service, or organisation.”
The results show that ICIQ’s approximate emission of equivalent tons of carbon dioxide in 2022 was 14,552. Or, in other words, about 48 tons per centre user.
To perform the calculation, the working team gathered data from various consumptions and different aspects of the centre. Together, the different departments and staff at ICIQ collaborated to collect data on electricity consumption, supplier transportation, commuting mobility, refrigerant gas consumption, waste generation, and professional travel, among others.
Precisely these professional travels are the factor that, by far, generates the most emissions. Business-related displacements account for over 80% of the centre’s total emissions. They are followed by electricity consumption, at 6%. It’s important to note that as a leading chemical research centre in Europe, it is vital for ICIQ researchers to travel worldwide to establish synergies with other institutions and scientific talent.
Despite being a standardised and internationally recognised indicator, calculating the carbon footprint is voluntary for research centres, and there are few organisations that perform this exercise. In this regard, ICIQ shows its commitment to continuously improve its processes and minimise the impact of its activities on the environment. An example is a new research project in which the Government of Catalonia invests up to 5 million euros to decarbonise Catalan industries. This pioneering initiative proposes a research and technology unit to advance decarbonisation, where ICIQ and chemistry play an indispensable role.
Based on these data, the centre will draw conclusions and generate an action plan to reduce its impact. Among other measures, one that has already been implemented is opting for an electricity supply from renewable energy sources, a step that would have already reduced the footprint in 2023.