Defining Avoidable and Unavoidable emission

Sustainability Consultant - Heidi Fog

Recently I published an article on Localised mentioning avoidable emission and unavoidable emission. Time to expand and why not with a photo of a product we all know.

The cover photo for this article sets a fine example of how we end up with avoidable emission when the choice is unavoidable. Overall clear and confident emission reduction occurs when the sustainable choice is the first, easiest and continuously the most obvious. This applies not only to the product in the photo it applies to all products and services using energy and resources such as but not limited to:

  • Lights
  • Printers/copiers
  • Refrigeration
  • Heating/cooling

The design phase and procurement are possible times for your business to reduce/eliminate avoidable emission. They also show your standards, which you either pay for or are rewarded for. In businesses we design on our business model each and every day through continuous improvement and these days many supply chains do so with avoidable emission in mind. If your business do not, please ask yourself how your customers will act if/when a competitor offers a sustainable alternative to your business product and service?

Separating the proportion of avoidable consumption/emission from total consumption/emission is the starting point for all of my clients getting to their emission reduction targets in 2030-2050. As for them, I encourage you to factor into your business model how to reduce the proportion of your avoidable emission from for example:

  1. Consumption out of hours
  2. Requirement for refrigeration
  3. Energy efficiency of appliances

Once avoidable consumption has been managed, too often 30-50% of actual consumption, businesses are left with unavoidable emission, which is simply the energy and resource consumption you must demand to run your business.

As for avoidable consumption there are several ways to manage unavoidable emission. Please take a moment to think of the opportunity cost you deadlock, if you were to apply any of the three solutions below without permanently reducing your avoidable consumption first or at least in parallel:

  • Offsetting your carbon footprint by
    • Buying green electricity
    • Investing in a solar PV system
    • Purchasing Australian or International carbon credits

Specific solutions for your business

Ready to talk the ‘how-to’ reduce your avoidable and unavoidable emissions? Get in touch on 0400 846 566 or or visit for more information.


Heidi Fog

Sustainability Consultant - Heidi Fog

Heidi offers a unique combination of carbon and energy auditing, carbon neutrality, carbon credits and offsetting and business intelligence with excellent stakeholder engagement abilities. She is a highly experienced sustainability professional, who has worked with and enabled more than 100 businesses achieve and maintain carbon neutrality and facilitated sustainability to over sixty early learning organisations and schools. Heidi reduces the barriers to stakeholder participation by taking a common sense, business centric approach. Organisations are able to take incremental steps to improving their carbon footprint and manage their climate risks with her expert guidance.

Heidi Fog