In this blog series, with the help of the Green Games Guide - the UK's first resource for tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint - I’ll be answering the all-important question: what can your game business do to tackle climate change?
Last month, I outlined your first step to reducing emissions and waste across your office and operations. Now, following on from Step 1 in the Playing For The Planet's five step process, it’s time to talk about Step 2: Calculating Your Carbon Footprint.
“YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOUR COMPANY HAS IF YOU WANT TO EFFECTIVELY CUT YOUR EMISSIONS”
STEP 2: CALCULATING YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Measuring your carbon footprint is a crucial step towards making your business more sustainable in the long term, but it can be hard to know how to do this, especially when it’s the first time you’ve tried to do it.
If you haven’t yet completed Step 1 of Playing For The Planet’s five step process for games businesses, this is a great opportunity to go back and think about the scope of your analysis. Once you have established the scope and baseline of your emissions, you should set a plan for setting goals and reporting on your performance.
Now here’s what you need to know about calculating your carbon footprint...
🍃 UNDERSTAND YOUR IMPACT
You have to understand more about the impact your company has if you want to effectively cut your emissions. It can take time but it will allow you to identify where you should focus your efforts, help establish short and long term targets and will motivate your team to own the activity required to reduce your emissions.
🍃 PICK A START DATE
When you’re ready to start measuring, pick a start date. Decide when you’re measuring from (most people go with 1 January of the last calendar year).
🍃 CAPTURE DATA
Capturing data will include energy use in your office, your employees travel and capital purchases (e.g. laptops) and, depending on your scope, could include speaking to your partners and suppliers and gathering player data from your games. As you start you may need to estimate placeholder values and improve your entries as better data becomes available.
🍃 TALK TO YOUR DATA CENTRE & SUPPLIERS
You’ll need to talk to the people running your IT and games (data centre and other suppliers) to understand your cloud or data centre servers and reach out to those providers to get a figure on the energy mix of your electricity.
🍃 UNDERSTAND YOUR PLAYER USAGE
If you want to understand the energy consumed when playing your games, you will also want to understand the total number of hours that your games were played.
🍃 USE TOOLS & ADVICE AVAILABLE TO YOU
There are a number tools and advice available to help you do your own carbon audit:
- The Green House Gas protocol - these are internationally accepted greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and reporting standards help create a better understanding of the relative and collective impact that a business has on the environment.
- The UK Government has its emissions factors database.
- The Carbon Trust has a free to use generic carbon footprint tool for SMEs.
- UN Climate Change has an electronic equipment carbon footprinting tool.
If you’re after a tangible example of how to acquire your data and measure your carbon footprint, look no further than Space Ape Games! As one of the games sector’s leaders in addressing the impact it has on the environment, the studio now offsets 200% of its carbon footprint, reduced its studio footprint by 25% in 2019 and committed to reduce it by a further 10% in 2020.
Checkout their case study in the guide, chock-full of information on how to have the biggest impact on your carbon footprint. Read more.
🌍 About the Green Games Guide
The partnership between Ukie, Games London and the Playing for the Planet Alliance will also encourage the sector to think about how it can use its huge reach - the games industry has the potential to reach 1 in 3 people on the planet - to inspire players to change how they think about the environment and to start conversations about the wider collective efforts the sector can make.