Calculating your shipping emissions
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Estimating your shipping emissions
To estimate your emissions, Planet relies on order tracking data associated with the shipment's tracking number. This data allows for a more accurate calculation of emissions. However, if the tracking number is unavailable or the shipping carrier isn't supported, then Planet multiplies the estimated emissions by an uncertainty factor of 3. The uncertainty factor ensures that all emissions are accounted for, even in cases where data is inconsistent or missing.
Example: Using the uncertainty factor to calculate your shipping emissions
Let's consider an example to illustrate this process. Suppose you ship a package from Boston to New York. The straight-line distance between the two cities is approximately 305 km, but the shortest road route is around 350 km. If tracking data is available, then Planet uses the exact distance traveled for the calculation.
In cases where tracking data is unavailable, Planet employs the Haversine formula to calculate the distance between the origin and destination addresses. The Haversine distance refers to the angular distance between two points on the surface of a sphere. It takes into account the latitude and longitude coordinates of each point, which are represented in radians. This formula allows Planet to estimate the distance accurately, even without tracking data. The resulting emissions are then multiplied by 3 to account for variations in the route, such as distances traveled from post offices and distribution centers, as well as the route taken by the courier to deliver the package to your customer's door.
Additional considerations on how Planet estimates shipping emissions
Planet’s models and estimates rely on data input, and in some cases, data might be unavailable. To address this, Planet intentionally overestimates carbon emissions to ensure the purchase of enough carbon removal, even in scenarios where data is missing. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions account for 95% of the climate impact from burning fossil fuels for transportation. The emissions estimated don't account for the release of other greenhouse gases during transportation.
For sea transportation, the necessary data to accurately calculate emissions isn't generated by orders shipped using this method. In such cases, industry-accepted alternative methods are used to estimate emissions.
Primary factors used to determine shipping emissions
To determine shipping emissions, Planet considers three primary factors: weight, distance, and type of transportation.
- Weight: The weight of the shipment is the primary value used in the calculation. If the weight isn't available, then Planet uses an average shipment weight as a substitute.
- Distance: If tracking data is available, then Planet uses the distance recorded in the tracking information. In cases where tracking data is unavailable, Planet employs the Haversine formula to calculate the distance between the origin and destination addresses. The Haversine distance refers to the angular distance between two points on the surface of a sphere. To account for uncertainties in the route, this distance is multiplied by an uncertainty factor of 3.
- Type of Transportation: Planet determines the mode of transport based on the speed and distance traveled to assign the appropriate carbon-intensity associated with plane versus ground transportation.