Everything you need to know about Bilan Carbone Entreprise

Everything you need to know about Bilan Carbone Entreprise

Are you interested in carrying out a carbon assessment for your company, but don't have a clear idea of how to go about it, or how much it would cost? This article summarizes what you need to know on the subject.

Thomas Guyot

Thomas Guyot



What does a Bilan Carbone Entreprise involve?

A company's carbon footprint reflects the quantity of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) generated by its activities. For simplicity's sake, we usually reduce these GHGs to carbon dioxide (C02), but there are many different types. Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20) and so on.

A carbon footprint is a diagnostic tool that measures your company's greenhouse gas emissions, both direct and indirect. Data collection, measurement, analysis and reporting on a company's CO2 emissions are generally carried out on a yearly basis.

The term Bilan Carbone® is a registered trademark that designates a certain carbon accounting methodology. Today, there are a number of different standards and methodologies for measuring the carbon footprint of companies, which are nonetheless tending to harmonize. The Bilan Carbone® methodology is a tool developed and made available by theAssociation pour la transition Bas Carbone (ABC).

How are greenhouse gas emissions calculated in a Bilan Carbone Entreprise?

The principle of carbon footprint calculation is relatively simple in theory, but potentially tedious in practice:

  • We list the activities induced by the company: heating premises, purchasing raw materials, machining objects, transporting employees, etc . Each of the activities induced by the company is generally referred to as an "emission item". Each of the activities induced by the company generally constitutes what are known as "emission stations".
  • We collect the associated raw "activity data" : energy consumption, quantity purchased, kilometers traveled, etc.
  • These raw activity data, each with different units of measurement, are multiplied by a conversion factor to express their impact in terms of carbon emissions . These conversion factors are called "Emission Factors". For example, to calculate emissions linked to our own electricity consumption, we can multiply a raw data figure "number of kWh of electricity consumed" by an emission factor "weight of CO2 emitted for 1kwH of electricity".

    However, thegranularity of the raw data and the emission factor must be adapted to the importance of the emission item. In our example, it would be more interesting to multiply the "number of kWh per source of electricity" by the emission factor associated with each of these sources of electricity (nuclear, gas, coal, photovoltaic, etc.)

    This granularity is essential in order to have actionable levers
    that will be reflected in the company's future carbon footprint (e.g.: increasing the proportion of electricity from low-emission sources) and to pragmatically define the data to be collected.
  • All emissions are then consolidated into a single unit. The emissions of the various gases are converted into "CO2 equivalent" (CO2e) in order to have a universal unit of measurement (in the same way as we would consolidate $ into €).
  • For analysis purposes, the various sources of emissions are generally classified into categories grouped into three perimeters, or "scopes".

What emissions are included in a company's Bilan Carbone?

As we've already mentioned, various greenhouse gases are taken into account when drawing up a Bilan Carbone: CO2, N2O, CH4, SF6, HFCs, PFCs and so on. The Bilan Carbone, like most other standards and methodologies for measuring direct and indirect emissions, is based on the study of 3 perimeters called "Scope", which will enable you to make a calculation and discover which are the most energy-intensive within your company:

  • ‍Scope 1 has the narrowest scope. It covers direct emissions linked to the consumption of fuels such as petrol, but also emissions from your buildings, fixed equipment and biomass.
  • Scope 2 concerns indirect emissions linked to the energy consumption of your production process in the form of heat, cold, steam and electricity.
  • Scope 3 focuses on other greenhouse gas emissions that are not part of your product's production process, such as the supply of raw materials, downstream transport of goods or even the use of your product!

The way in which the different emissions categories are taken into account varies according to the different carbon accounting standards in use today: Bilan Carbone, GHG Protocol, Bilan GES réglementaire, GRI 305, ISO 14064, etc.

To find out more about the differences between these methodologies, read our blog article on the subject.

Given the wide range of carbon accounting methods available today, there is an urgent need to impose on carbon accounting requirements comparable to those of financial accounting. Traace anticipates and applies to its carbon balances the main principles of reliable and fair carbon accounting: exhaustiveness of scope (no half-measures), continuity of methods (evolutions only to bring precision), non-compensation (induced, avoided and financed emissions clearly identified).

Is Bilan Carbone a simple measurement exercise?

A Bilan Carbone® must produce at least 2 deliverables:

  • Measuring the company's carbon footprint. I
    t's a question of accounting for emissions, divided into significant items. More often than not, these figures are accompanied by ratios adapted to the company's activity and size - essential to decorrelate the evolution of the carbon footprint from the company's growth.
  • The plan to reduce emissions induced by the company's activity.
    Hence the importance of having sufficiently precise information on the blocks that count, in order to define actionable levers whose results can be measured. These levers must then be managed by people in charge to ensure that they are implemented.

Traace provides "experts on demand" to find new ways of reducing induced emissions in order to achieve the objectives set by the company.

Why carry out a corporate carbon assessment?

Carrying out a Bilan Carbone company is a necessary first step, to be repeated annually as part of a serious commitment to measuring the company's environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions. It does not include the environmental impact on biodiversity or water resources, for example. A Bilan Carbone enables you to analyze your company's main sources of GHG emissions, and thus identify the action levers you need to activate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There can be many reasons for carrying out a Bilan Carbone and initiating a low-carbon transition: legal obligation, improving brand image, optimizing expenses, anticipating the impact of future climate crises, etc.

In France, the production and publication of a Bilan Carbone on the ADEME website is a legal obligation for certain companies, notably all those with over 500 employees.

As new generations become increasingly concerned about their environment and consumption, transparency in relation to your ecological footprint can give your company a real competitive edge by strengthening its image. Setting carbon emission targets with all your employees creates a common objective and strengthens cohesion. Identifying the key emissions linked to energy consumption can also help you accelerate your energy transition and make significant energy savings, particularly in electricity consumption. Finally, carrying out your company's carbon footprint is the first step in the fight against global warming.‍


Can a carbon audit be certified?

In recent years, numerous solutions for calculating companies' carbon footprints have been developed to meet the growing demand from French companies for information on their CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. Some of these players promise certified greenhouse gas emission balances, which is a misleading promise.

It is important to note that there is no official certification for a Bilan Carbone®, and that certification is only valid if it is issued by an independent third party with no conflicts of interest. However, in France, the Association pour la Transition Bas Carbone (ABC) is responsible for the Bilan Carbone® reference methodology.

After being audited and assessed by ABC in early 2023, Traace was deemed compliant with the Bilan Carbone® methodology.

You can consult the list of technological solutions certified by the Association pour la Transition Bas Carbone (ABC) and ADEME by following this link.

How much does a company Bilan Carbone cost?

A company's carbon footprint varies according to several factors:‍

  • ‍‍Fromthe provider (SaaS software like Traace or consulting firm)
  • Scope: Does the balance sheet cover all 3 scopes or is it partial‍
  • Company size (number of employees, sales)
  • Your company's sector(primary, secondary or tertiary)
  • The time spent by the service provider

How much does it cost to go through a consulting firm?

The prices charged for obtaining a carbon footprint for your company from a consulting firm are generally as follows:

  • ‍5000 for the carbon footprint of an SME covering Scopes 1 and 2‍
  • 10,000 for a carbon assessment of an SME covering Scopes 1, 2 and 3‍
  • More than €15, 000 if your company is an ETI / Large enterprise. For large international groups such as the CAC40, the price can exceed €100,000.

‍ Andwith SaaS software?

This will depend on the type of SaaS software used!

There are 2 types of SaaS software on the market: those based on physical data and those based on monetary data.

Software based on monetary data: between €2,000 and €4,000

Software based on monetary data uses data from your bank account or the Fichier des Ecritures Comptables (FEC) to calculate carbon emissions. These software packages are the cheapest on the market, costing between €2,000 and €4,000 for a Bilan Carbone.

The attractive price nevertheless conceals a number of shortcomings:

  • Analysis using monetary data, even if it complies with the Bilan Carbone methodology, is not recommended by ADEME. Your Bilan Carbone may therefore become invalid in the event of future regulatory changes.
  • Precision is very low, with 80% uncertainty. In fact, with a monetary analysis, a Paris -> New-York plane ticket at €1,500 will emit 3 times more CO2 than the same ticket at €500. But it's exactly the same flight, and therefore the same emissions!
  • Your emissions will increase if prices rise, even if your business remains exactly the same.
  • The only way to reduce your emissions with a monetary analysis is to spend less, and therefore buy cheaper. But buying cheaper is often counterproductive, as low-cost products are manufactured in developing countries with high carbon emissions.

For all these reasons, this software is mainly used by VSEs and SMEs wanting to make an initial "estimate" of their carbon emissions at low cost.

Software based on physical data: between €6,000 and €12,000

Software based on physical data, such as Traace, uses "real" data, such as energy consumption in kWh, kilometres travelled, tonnes of products purchased, etc.

The cost of this software will be slightly higher than monetary solutions, but the measurement will be much more accurate. Lastly, these solutions make it possible to identify real emission reduction levers and therefore to build a real decarbonisation strategy.

Finally, analysis using physical data is the only one recommended by ADEME and the Association pour la Transition Bas Carbone (ABC).

These tools will cost between €5,000 and €10,000 per depending on the size of the company. For a large corporate, the deployment of a SaaS solution on an international scale can cost much more.

How can I get my Bilan Carbone Entreprise subsidized?

As of January 1, 2022, ADEME has replaced the Bilan Carbone subsidy with the DIAG Décarbon'action.

This is a program run jointly with BPI to enable SMEs and ETIs to carry out an initial Bilan Carbone and identify initial avenues for reducing emissions.

How does it work?

For a fee of between €4,000 and €6,000, a consultant selected by BPI will carry out your company's Bilan Carbone and action plan.
To be eligible, your company must :

  • Have fewer than 500 employees.
  • Never having carried out an initial carbon assessment.

Prices vary according to company size:

  • 4000€ if your company has fewer than 250 employees
  • 6000€ if your company has between 250 and 499 employees.

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