Introducing Carbon Handprint Methodology in International Arenas

This report summarises the results of the project Introducing Carbon Handprint Methodology in International Arenas. The concept of carbon handprint is well known in Finland, but CLC wanted to introduce it to international actors and promote its inclusion in international standards and policies to strengthen the reliability of the methodology. Initially, this required an understanding of current EU policies with relevance to carbon handprint. Two areas were identified in which carbon handprint could be introduced as part of EU legislation: as a planning tool for policies and as a communication tool for investors. Besides policy, international standards, such as the GHG protocol, SBTi, TCFD and ISSB by IRFS, were reviewed to determinate if carbon handprint could be included.

To introduce the methodology internationally, detailed marketing material about carbon handprint was created and used in discussions. The development of the material also supported the launch of the world’s first International Carbon Handprint Award, introduced as part of this project. The competition was a collaborative effort with the Vancouver Economic Commission, and the launch date for the competition was set in March 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. The award ceremony was held as a side event at Climate Week NYC in New York, USA, in September 2022. The carbon handprint method was also introduced at the most important international climate event, the UNFCCC Climate Convention COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

In addition to the international activities conducted as part of the project, four companies were interviewed to better understand how they use the carbon handprint methodology and the benefits it provides them. This project supported discussions on how to measure climate benefits and further develop this method. The materials developed are freely available on CLC website.


This report is part of the Climate Neutral Nordics project, a collaboration between Climate Leadership Coalition, Haga Initiative and Skift Business Climate Leaders 2021-2024. This report is on the workstream known as the Nordic Handprint on a Global Market. The project was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Despite this being a collaborative project, CLC has full responsibility for the contents of this report.

The carbon handprint methodology is a positive climate impact indicator. The first carbon handprint guidebook for products and services was published in 2018, and the newest version, from 2021, is available here. The methodology was written by researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and LUT University. Climate Leadership Coalition has supported the development of the methodology and helped to promote it to companies and government authorities in Finland and abroad.

The carbon handprint methodology is known and used by a number of companies in Finland, but through this project, CLC aims to introduce it to companies in the wider Nordic region. There are many innovative Nordic companies with solutions that can reduce the emissions of other market actors, thus representing great potential for the carbon handprint methodology. In this project, companies from the region participated in workshops and a survey about the carbon handprint to contribute to a greater understanding of the reach and use of the methodology in the region. An additional aim was to find out if companies think there should be new regulations related to measuring climate benefits.

In general, the companies were positive to the idea of measuring climate benefits, however, the carbon handprint was a new concept to many of those involved in the project. The companies that implemented the methodology found it useful for communicating the climate benefits of their products or services. The majority showed a clear interest in the carbon handprint, but there were concerns related to its reliability.

First of all, some of the companies had difficulty understanding the difference between carbon footprint and carbon handprint. Secondly, the companies struggled with choosing baseline solutions for comparison. The lack of standardisation on how to choose baseline solutions and the scarcity and cost of data, as well as the complexity of conducting separate calculations for each of their solutions, diminished their enthusiasm for applying the carbon handprint concept.

Based on this project, Nordic companies want to be and are frontrunners in green innovation, and they want to communicate the climate benefits of their solutions. Being able to showcase the emissions reductions achieved through their solutions makes brands more attractive to stakeholders, i.e. customers and investors. The Nordic companies have enormous potential to help actors globally reduce their emissions, and thus they represent great potential for the carbon handprint concept.


 In 2021, CLC started a development project for cities and regions to define and describe how cities and regions can develop their carbon handprint whilst simultaneously promoting sustainable growth. Carbon handprint refers to the positive climate impact of using a product or service compared to other products or services in the same category

Cities have set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to become carbon neutral. By cutting emissions, cities have concentrated on reducing their own carbon footprints; however, there are possibilities for more widespread emission reductions through novel and innovative climate leadership initiatives, which also reduce the carbon footprints of others. In this project, the carbon handprint approach developed by LUT and VTT was applied and modified for cities and regions in order to create an indicator for community-level assessments of positive climate actions. 

With the carbon handprint approach, positive climate impacts enabled for a client or a beneficiary of a novel product, service, or project, can be quantified and communicated when compared to a business-as-usual solution. In the case of cities and regions, the carbon handprint aims to acknowledge the city’s climate leadership initiatives in order to maximise their positive impact both within and outside the city. Principally, cities can achieve a carbon handprint through three main mechanism categories: ownership, operating environment, and projects. Additionally, the mechanism category related to companies within the city can be identified, but should be reported separately. 

The Carbon Handprint Manual for Cities and Regions provides a tool for strategic planning beyond a city’s carbon neutrality goals, whilst also serving as a communication tool for marketing and branding to attract new activities, businesses, and residents to the area. With systematic strategy work, cities can continue to maximise their carbon handprint potential in years to come.

The developed concept was completed by LUT University and it is now available for cities and regions. This project was funded by Uusimaa Regional Council.


More information: Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Coalition, +358 50 453 4881 and Senni Raunio, Specialist, Climate Leadership Coalition, +358 50 3512390

AT THE CROSSROADS – leadership in the age of climate change

by Jouni Keronen and Mari Pantsar

“If we fail to mitigate the climate change on time, billions of people will suffer, having devastating effects on our economies and social peace. The book opens up the reasons for the climate change and  the way we can mitigate it. The urgency and the massive volume of needed actions – especially in ramping up investment, will challenge our governance models. There are ways for effective mitigation, but are we able to take them into use?

Dr. Jouni Keronen is the CEO of Climate Leadership Coalition, Europe’s largest climate business network. Dr. Mari Pantsar is the Director of Sustainability solutions at the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Forbes reviewed the “At the Crossroads” report on September 3, 2021. George Kell states in his review: “At The Crossroads has great educational value. It is available free of charge and it is to be hoped that policymakers, business leaders, educators and laypeople will read it and absorb its message, as climate leadership has to be everybody’s concern.” View the full Forbes review here:

At the Crossroads is downloadable for free. Authors request readers consider donating to the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation’s Climate Fund for Children and Youth:

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Climate Leadership Coalition (CLC) or its members. CLC has published views on some topics addressed in the book and they can be found here:

At the Crossroads is the updated English version of Mari Pantsar’s and Jouni Keronen’s book Tienhaarassa, published in Finland by Docendo in 2019.

For more information, please contact: 

Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Coalition,, tel. +358 50 4534881

Mari Pantsar, Director, Sitra,, tel. +358 294 618210

Press release: