GHG in your supply chain

Jan. 17, 2012

It seems that many people are rather concerned about the quantity of carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, fluorocarbons, and other greenhouse gases that a manufacturing plant dumps into that ocean of pristine air we so love to breathe.

It seems that many people are rather concerned about the quantity of carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, fluorocarbons, and other greenhouse gases that a manufacturing plant dumps into that ocean of pristine air we so love to breathe.

While your company might have in place an initiative to prove yourself a better corporate citizen by reducing emissions of those nasty gases, believe it or not, you’re responsible for so much more of that effluent in amounts over which you have no control. It’s a matter of where you draw the line.

What I’m talking about here is the amount of GHG that comes from the supply chain you use to bring raw material and other economic inputs into the plant and the supply chain that carries your product from the loading dock to its ultimate destination. This idea came my way via an article by Tiffany Stecker and ClimateWire titled “Supply Chain Emissions Make for a Bigger Carbon Footprint.”

However, still undeterred from trying to make that grand corporate initiative a physical reality, you and your colleagues soldier on looking for the next hero-making breakthrough in GHG reduction measures. You might already have investigated dozens of suggestions provided by the business press, webinars, trade associations, and the other surces of consummate environmental wisdom. Here’s where I want to toss in another of my measly two cents.

Consider the next online resource by Charles Schmidt “Lowering Industrial Carbon Emissions: What’s Really Needed” is a brief recap of a study that Julian Allwood and his associates conducted to bring some clarity to the idea of reducing GHG emissions at the plant level. The group evaluated five big-picture options to get an idea of their practical reality. You might find some of the conclusions interesting, disturbing, or obvious.

Finally, it was your tax money that produced the next resource, “2011 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report,” a 459-page document published by the good folks at the U.S. EPA. I was intrigued by a blurb I read that indicated the report details both GHG sources and GHG sinks. What I discovered was that the various GHG sources are so very plentiful in number and the sinks, although they’re quantifiable, are surprisingly few in number.

If you check these three citations, you’ll have a bit more knowledge that might come in handy as you pursue the grand corporate initiative.

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