Libraries on their way to carbon neutral sharing economy

City of Helsinki

4/15/2021

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We are an expert partner in the Helsinki City Library's Public Libraries' Environmental Awareness to the 2020-century project. In cooperation, we conducted a survey of libraries on environmental management and an assessment of the industry's carbon footprint and handprint (= positive effects). The results have been published in the Libraries on the Road to a Carbon-Neutral Sharing Economy report. We learned that success in calculating the climate impact of an industry as a whole required organization from the national level to the grassroots level. We found out that public libraries have a carbon footprint of 32,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent and 56% of emissions come from electricity and heat consumption. At the heart of the libraries' handprint is information sharing and life content without consumption. Experiences instead of materials. We also found out the carbon footprints and handprints of the borrowed paper book and e-book compared to the purchase.

At the same time, the library industry's carbon footprint and handprint report is a description of how industry-specific emissions can be assessed and presented transparently, so that the calculation methodology, data sources and even working methods are transparent. When CO2 calculation is open, it can be challenged and discussed and accounting models can be developed together - allowing the climate impact assessment models to evolve and produce results, those essential emission reductions.


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