TMCnet Feature Free eNews Subscription
September 20, 2023

Managing Product Carbon Footprint for a Sustainable Value Chain

In today's dynamic landscape, the concept of sustainability has transcended being a passing trend to become a critical imperative for enterprises spanning various sectors. As concerns about environmental decline and climate shifts amplify, businesses are increasingly compelled to embrace sustainable measures across their value chains.

Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions are categories used to classify and measure the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a product or organisation. Scope 1 are direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the organization, such as emissions from burning fuel on company premises or from company vehicles. Scope 2 are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heat, and cooling consumed by the organization. Scope 3 are all other indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the organization, such as emissions from transportation of goods, use of sold products, and waste disposal.

Product carbon footprintingfocuses on a particular aspect, specifically the entire life cycle of a product. It quantifies the volume of greenhouse gas emissions generated or used throughout a product's lifespan which includes emissions from all three scopes but the majority are typically found in Scope 3. Scope 3 emissions hold significance as they often constitute the primary source of emissions for numerous companies. By gauging and mitigating their scope 3 emissions, companies have the potential to make a substantial impact in curbing their overall carbon footprint.

Here are actionable strategies for business to manage product carbon footprint within the supply chain:

  1. Set Sustainability Goals: Much like sales targets, sustainability targets are vital for an organisation's long-term growth. Evaluate emission-generating practises and waste to become more environmentally friendly. This process aligns with business objectives while recognising the long-term benefits of sustainability.
  2. Collaborate with Sustainable Suppliers: Engaging with experts and suppliers can yield effective carbon reduction techniques. Collaborative strategies and training sessions can help both parties lower their carbon footprint. Prioritise suppliers with sustainability criteria and employ supplier sustainability scorecards.
  3. Encourage Transparency: Enhancing supply chain visibility is pivotal for boosting efficiency and minimising waste. By gaining clear insight into processes like transportation, manufacturing, and storage, companies can easily spot bottlenecks and opportunities for effective carbon footprint reduction.
  4. Conduct a Carbon Footprint Analysis: Performing a carbon footprint analysis involves measuring your supply chain's emissions using a guide like the GHG Protocol. This analysis helps pinpoint areas where carbon footprint reduction is feasible.
  5. Make Data-backed Decisions: Data is a powerful tool for reducing carbon footprints. It aids in measuring and tracking emissions, optimising transportation, promoting renewable energy, and encouraging sustainable behaviour. Scrutinise data to identify patterns and eliminate carbon emissions, even analysing returns and reverse logistics.Carbon management solutions can make all the difference here.
  6. Embrace the Cradle-to-Cradle Approach: Recycling and contributing to the circular economy are crucial for sustainability. Reusing and recycling resources instead of discarding them can greatly impact the circular economy. Transition from cradle-to-grave to cradle-to-cradle (C2C) by leveraging renewable energy and recyclable materials.
  7. Evaluate Transportation Methods: As mentioned earlier, transportation is a major source of carbon emissions in supply chains. Evaluate transportation strategies to explore more sustainable options, like electric or hybrid vehicles. Also, consider consolidating shipments to reduce trips.

In summary, product carbon footprinting provides clarity regarding the greenhouse gas emissions linked to products. However, it is just one component of a broader sustainability evaluation. Comprehensive assessments of product sustainability encompass environmental, economic, and social considerations.

» More TMCnet Feature Articles
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


» More TMCnet Feature Articles