A carbon footprint assesses the life cycle GHG emissions of goods and services (collectively referred to as “products”) based on key life cycle assessment techniques and principles. Similar to an LCA all life cycle stages are included, from resource extraction, manufacturing, use through to disposal or recycling.
Specific guidelines for Carbon Footprinting are currently provided in the PAS 2050:2008 (Publicly Available Specification from the British Standards Institute), but an ISO standard is under development. The requirements for a Carbon Footprint as specified in the PAS 2050 are very similar to those for an LCA. In fact, the PAS builds on existing life cycle assessment methods established through ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 (PAS 2050:2008).
The key difference to LCA is that a Carbon Footprint assesses only a single environmental impact category global warming, and does not assess other potential environmental impacts, such as non-greenhouse gas emissions, acidification, eutrophication, toxicity, biodiversity, or any other social and economic factors.
For a free copy of the PAS 2050:2008 and guidelines for PAS 2050 click here: http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/Browse-by-Sector/Energy--Utilities/PAS-2050/