The Carbon Footprint of Everything

About this product

Product footprint: 904g CO₂e

Carbon savings rating: 3/5 🟡🟢🟢

“The carbon footprint of Everything” is a entertaining and well-written book that provides a strong foundation for understanding sustainability from a holistic perspective. The author Mike Berners-Lee, does an excellent job of explaining the complex interconnections between environmental, economic, and social systems and how they impact the sustainability of human societies. The book is an ideal companion for navigating difficult everyday decisions related to sustainability and environmentally-friendly living. It serves as a reference guide, but can also be read from start to finish.

Product carbon footprint calculation

CategoryCO₂e in gSource / Assumptions
Development Process4646 (Average COe in g for a book with a volume between 1M-2.5M) [1]
Materials794930 (Average COe in g for a book with conventionally produced wood and bleached with chlorine) – 136 g for recycling paper mix [2]
Transport & Disposal1241/4* 316g CO2e (For 1kg Book, this example weights ~400g) [3]

The calculation of the carbon footprint is as follows:Starting from the average value for paperbacks, which is 1.1kg CO2e for a 300-page book, some adjustments can be made for “The Carbon Footprint of Everything”. These reductions result from the use of FSC certified paper (FSC Mix). This certification attests to sustainable forestry and the use of at least some recycled paper. The publisher “greystone books” claims to use 100% recycled paper on their website, but has not yet provided a statement. However, the book itself is exclusively certified with the “FSC MIX” certificate, so we can only assume a mix of recycled and virgin materials.

Further reductions are achieved by avoiding chlorine bleaching and using environmentally friendly, mercury-free inks.

Carbon savings rating details

This rating is supposed to give you an indication of how much positive impact purchasing and reading this book might have. Can you expect the carbon cost of production to be amortised?

There are many angles of looking at this. The way that the book is set up there are helpful tips for just about every life situation and Mike Berners-Lee is very aware that everyone is going to pick their battles in accordance with what feels okay for them.

Let’s pick some examples though to give you an idea.

Scenario 1:

  • You read and like the chapter about car commute and the impact of driving
  • You decide to do one trip to work and back by train instead of car – saving 2 miles of driving already cancels out the carbon cost of the book

Scenario 2:

  • You read and like the chapters about food (i.e. meat vs. substitutes)
  • You decide to swap out beef for chicken once = the books carbon footprint is paid for
  • Or you decide to go one week without meat = the books footrpint is paid for multiple times

Scenario 3 (unlikely but still positive impact):

  • You read the book and decide you are not going to change anything in your lifestyle
  • The time it took you to read the book (say 10h) you didn’t do any number of other carbon intense activities (i.e. going out to eat, driving somewhere) = the footprint is paid for

Of course gifting the book to someone else after you’re done possibly multiplies the positive impact. Conclusion: This book is very likely to have a positive impact, how high of course depends on you.

Alternatives to buying new:

Why did we choose this product? What about XYZ?

The Carbon Footprint of Everything is not that outstanding to us because of the way it is produced or distributed. The main reason why

its impact is so terrific is the content of course. Mike Berners-Lee empowers everyone to live life a little more sustainable everyday by changing only a few things step by step. 

He explains the advantages and disadvantages of daily choices and clears up common misconceptions. 

The whole footprint of one book will be equalized if the reader takes the bicycle instead of driving for 5.5 km (3.5 miles)* the next time due to facing the mentioned problems. 

*average car 6l gas for 100km