Tracking the environmental footprint of business activities
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The research reported in this paper is motivated by the concerns that have been raised for more than forty years for the deterioration of the environment associated with human activities. This paper concerns the design of a freely available online information system that would enable managers of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) to determine and track the contributions to their Environmental Footprint of their various business 'activities'. There are many online 'carbon calculators' that can help people estimate the amount of Green House Gas (GHG) or carbon emissions associated with 'things' such as vehicles for transport, equipment of all kinds, and so on. These are either direct emissions (e.g. truck exhausts) or indirect emissions due to equipment which uses electric energy from non-renewable sources. Business can take steps to be more environmentally responsible by reducing their use of 'things' that pollute the environment or by choosing equipment that is more environmentally friendly; but this will only get you so far. Further gains need a more holistic approach that looks at different ways of doing things. The project takes an approach that estimates the GHG emissions of whole 'activities' rather than individual 'things'. The research behind the project logically uses ideas from Activity Theory.