The calculation of carbon emissions is becoming increasingly common for the operations of various organizations and companies. But there are still few tools specifically developed to calculate the carbon footprint of healthcare organizations.

To help IHF Members understand the features of carbon footprint calculation tools, this page provides a summary of three tools. Each tool was designed with application to the healthcare sector – explained in the key information below.

  • Aga Khan Health Carbon Management Tool

    Specifically developed by Aga Khan Health Services and the Aga Khan University of the Aga Khan Development Network to calculate and track the carbon footprint of healthcare organizations. Although it was designed for low- and middle-income countries, any healthcare organization can use it.

    The tool is available in Excel spreadsheet format, and healthcare organizations can access it by sending an email to request it.

    Features

    • Applies the GHG Protocol and tracks Scopes 1, 2, and 3.
    • Takes data quality into account (Tiers 1, 2 and 3).
    • Allows reporting data for different periods of time (e.g., 3, 6, 12 months).
    • Can be used at multiple levels (e.g., organization, project, actions).
    • Enables organizations to include information of up to 30 buildings.
    • Allows inputting background information from buildings (e.g., name, location, size in m2, number of petrol or diesel generators, sources of energy supply for cooling and heating).
    • Covers different areas of operations.
      • Energy (considering different energy sources).
      • Travel and vehicles (taking into account different fuels).
      • Anaesthetic gases.
      • Refrigerants (considering different types of gases).
      • Waste (including types of disposal process).
      • Water (including different types of supply).
      • Inhalers (considering different types of devices).
      • Contractor logistics (considering type of vehicle and distance travelled).
      • Construction materials.
    • Uses emissions factors are derived from the UK government data sets.
    • Allows specific actions tracking to estimate carbon savings.
    • Generates results and graphs automatically.
    • Generates information regarding GHG emissions other than CO2.
    • Continuously updated.
    • Tracks errors and identifies inconsistencies.
    • Allows spending data entry.
    • Includes local currencies conversion sheet.
    • Includes user guide.
    Get this tool
  • The Humanitarian Carbon Calculator

    Developed by a collaborative project led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Humanitarian Carbon Calculator allows humanitarian organizations to assess the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with their activities. This tool was not originally designed exclusively for healthcare organizations, however, it incorporates several healthcare aspects because the activities of many humanitarian organizations involve medical elements.

    The tool is available in Excel spreadsheet format and it is publicly available on the Humanitarian Climate Charter website.

    Features

    • Applies the GHG Protocol and tracks Scopes 1, 2, and 3.
    • Takes data quality into account.
    • Allows reporting data yearly.
    • Enables organizations to include information of up to 30 entities, delegations, country offices, and regional offices.
    • Covers different areas of operations.
      • Energy (considering different energy sources and electricity emissions factors for most countries on all continents).
      • Travel and vehicles (including detail of business travel and employee commuting).
      • Refrigerants (considering different types of gases).
      • Waste (including types of disposal process).
      • Healthcare goods and services (including pharmaceutical products and medical equipment)
      • Transport and distribution (including upstream and downstream, and by transport mode).
      • Construction (considering emissions factors of type of building, e.g., offices, detached house, parking facilities).
      • IT equipment.
      • Food and catering.
    • Generates results and graphs automatically.
    • Generates information regarding GHG emissions other than CO2.
    • Contains database of emissions factors used by the tool with a detail of the source of each factor.
    • Allows users to share new emissions factors.
    • Allows users to provide feedback.
    • Allows spending data entry.
    • Considers inflation rates.
    • Includes user guide.
    Get this tool
  • Climate Impact Checkup Tool

    Health Care Without Harm has specifically designed and developed this tool to help healthcare facilities and systems globally to accurately measure their carbon footprint.

    The tool is available both online and in Excel spreadsheet format and it is primarily available for members of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals and Practice Greenhealth. Health ministries that have committed to the COP26 Health Programme and are part of the Alliance for Transformative Action in Climate and Health (ATACH) have access to a standalone Excel version of the tool and an accompanying guide.

    Join this free online course, available in English and Spanish, to learn more about the tool and carbon footprint.

    Questions can be sent to this address.

    To specifically target U.S. health systems, HCWH designed the Health Care Emissions Impact Calculator using U.S. emissions factors. Click here to learn about the differences between both tools.

    Features

    • Applies the GHG Protocol and tracks Scopes 1, 2, and 3.
    • Includes national and subnational electricity values of more than 200 nations and territories.
    • Covers different areas of operations.
      • Energy consumption.
      • Transport.
      • Travel (including detail of business travel and employee and patient commuting by type of transportation and km traveled).
      • Waste management (including types of disposal process, breaking it down by hazardous and non-hazardous waste).
      • Water and sanitation.
      • Procurement.
      • Healthcare goods and services (including pharmaceutical products and medical equipment).
      • Anaesthetic gases (including the type of gas and size of bottles).
      • Inhalers (including treatment and disposal of inhalers waste).
      • IT equipment.
      • Construction.
      • Food and catering.
    • Generates results and graphs automatically.
    • Enables users to benchmark their carbon footprint against similar facilities in their country and compare metrics (e.g., CO2eq/patient/year).
    • Allows inputting detailed information about the healthcare facility (type of healthcare institution, climate information of the region where it operates, number of employees and patients, and financial information).
    • Includes database of supply chain emissions factors for different countries.
    • Allows users to provide feedback.
    • Includes user guide.
    Get this tool

If your healthcare organization plans to use another tool, we recommend considering the following criteria in your selection.

  • Criteria to consider when using another tool
    • Applies the GHG Protocol and allows reporting across Scopes 1, 2, and 3.
    • Gives users the flexibility to input data for individual scopes, making it possible to begin with just one scope if needed.
    • Enables users to determine the percentage of Scope 3 emissions covered, providing insights into the percentage of the entire carbon footprint accounted for.
    • Takes data quality into account (e.g., uses Tier 1, 2, and 3 approach).
    • Details the emissions factors used for the calculation and allows entry of regional, national, and local emissions factors where available.
    • Allows reporting data for multiple years and facilities.
    • Allows data entry in different units (volume, spending, km, etc.)
    • Covers different areas of operations, such as:
      • energy, including the differentiation by energy sources;
      • travel, considering the breakdown by business travel, employee and patient commuting;
      • refrigerants and cooling agents by different types;
      • on-site energy generation (petrol or diesel back-up generations);
      • healthcare-specific activities, such as anaesthetic and other medical gases (e.g., SF6), inhalers, pharmaceutical products, and medical equipment and instruments;
      • water usage;
      • waste management by different types of waste (hazardous and non-hazardous) and disposal processes;
      • contractors’ type of transport for distribution;
      • soft facilities management related products and services (e.g., food and catering, cleaning, laundry).

Written by:

Carmen Menéndez

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