Data Sharing for Product Carbon Footprint Transparency

Blog by Purvish Shah
Published on August 19, 2023

Sustainability has now become a key driver for competitive advantage. In a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey, 80% of study participants reported that their company plans to transition to carbon-neutral operations. Nearly one-third (31%) plan to become carbon neutral by 2025, and approximately 60% plan to achieve this goal by 2030.

However, in order to progress in the decarbonization agenda, manufacturers are realizing that they need to go beyond carbon-neutral operations within companies’ boundaries and involve stakeholders from their value chains and business ecosystems to tackle the largest contributors to total emissions.

The challenges of Product Carbon Footprint data-sharing

In the decarbonization journey of supply chains, the first step is to gain an understanding of a product’s carbon footprint (PCF). The importance of establishing an emissions baseline is reinforced by the growing consciousness in society and the demand from consumers, investors, and governments for the correct labeling of a PCF. The challenge for many manufacturers is the accurate reporting of not only the internal emissions related to a given product but also the external supply chain emissions. These emissions may be estimated using emission factors and aggregated data from lifecycle databases and other sources whenever the required data is not available.

Granular emissions inventory through Product Carbon Footprint data sharing

To understand their main emission drivers, many companies, however, want a more detailed understanding of their emissions, accounting for parameters such as differences in geography, fuel sources, and process variations, in all areas where PCF can be measured based on real data. This granularity and correctness of data will allow firms to precisely track the impact of improvement and reduction measures from cradle to gate. Sharing data with customers and obtaining data from suppliers is therefore becoming crucial to establishing a granular and accurate emissions baseline.

Organizations showing stewardship in carbon transparency at product level

As businesses build clarity on their Scope 3 emissions, there is pressure on suppliers to provide this data to enable accuracy. At Carboledger, we are inspired by the work of a few leading organizations that have been leaders in being transparent about their practices with their customers.

Chemical sector

Chemicals sector has been one of the leaders in carbon transparency with initiatives such as Together for Sustainability (TfS) helping enterprises adopt to standardised measurement methodologies. 

Case Study : Perstorp

Perstorp is aligning with the new industry standard for product carbon footprint (PCF), developed by the industrial initiative Together for Sustainability. Perstorp can already share product carbon footprint values for about 85% of its products (based on sales volume) and is continuously adding more products. All the PCF values for Perstorp’s pro-environment products, contributing to the sustainable transformation of value chains by substituting fossil feedstock with renewable and recycled, are ISCC PLUS certified. Learn more here.

Transparently sharing this type of information with our customers is an important part of being a sustainable solutions provider and serving value chain needs,” says Anna Berggren, VP Sustainability at Perstorp. “Product carbon footprint is an important way of providing value with our Pro-Environment products; it shows how they reduce CO2 emissions by substituting fossil feedstock with renewable or recycled alternatives, which has an effect on all downstream parties and products in the value chain.

Commit to transparency by disclosing the methodology, data sources, and assumptions used in calculating Scope 3 emissions, ensuring stakeholders can understand and verify the reported figures. Companies are increasingly embracing granular data by disclosing product or service-level footprints to customers.

Case Study : Brenntag

Brenntag, the global market leader in chemicals and ingredient distribution, has started sharing comprehensive product carbon footprint data (PCF) with customers. This unique service is part of Brenntag’s sustainability strategy to promote and enhance transparency about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to drive reductions across the entire supply chain. Brenntag calculates the product carbon footprint data according to the different stages of the supply chain: The first part represents Brenntag’s upstream Scope 3 emissions, from the extraction of resources through the manufacturing of the product up to the plant gate of our suppliers.

Andreas Kicherer, Vice President Sustainability Brenntag Group, adds: “Our concept of providing extensive product carbon footprints for our portfolio provides highly valuable answers to how much GHG emissions are associated with a product along its entire life cycle. We are continuously working to enhance this system by further improving the data quality as well as the number of available data points.” Learn more here.

Brenntag’s service is built on a database that provides PCFs of high quality for a large number of products and has started sharing data with customers in the form of pilot cases. These master data are gradually refined for each product with further details from suppliers. In parallel, the integration of these data points and the creation of specific service offerings are developed to drive automation and scaling.

Automobile Sector

The automobile sector has been a leader in investing in decarbonizing their products. Companies such as Mercedes and Porsche have publicly showcased their commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in their products.

Case Study: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has a working group called Ambition39, which contributes innovative projects to the continuous minimization of Mercedes’ CO2 footprint over the entire life cycle.

With reference to Mercedes-Benz’s website, Henßler, 37, likes to work with numbers and is dedicated to environmental protection. He explains that he believes he has a responsibility to create transparency and help keep the world a place worth living in. Besides conducting his CO2 calculations, he and his colleagues also draw up complete environmental life cycle assessments for vehicles. These assessments take into account everything from the mining of the raw materials to the production of individual components, the assembly of the vehicle, the driving operation, the production of the fuel or electricity, and the recycling processes. Read more here.

Case Study: Porsche

Porsche has earmarked around 15 billion euros for the electrification, digitalization, and sustainable production of its vehicles up to 2025. The company is therefore systematically expanding its range of electro-mobility offerings. Fifty percent of all newly sold cars are to be electrified by 2025, i.e., all-electric or plug-in hybrids. An electric vehicle causes fewer CO2 emissions than a comparable vehicle with an internal combustion engine. As renewable energies can be used during an electric vehicle’s service life, one of the biggest levers for reducing the CO2 footprint can be found in this area. Porsche is accordingly looking to use sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Read more here.

How Carboledger empowers organisations to securely share data with their customer

Carboledger has an innovative distributed architecture that supports secure peer-to-peer data exchange, enabling companies to maintain 100% control over their data and automate carbon accounting for their customers. Carboledger’s secure decentralized storage enables companies to store their information securely on the cloud and make it available to customers on demand.

Our simple onboarding helps you leverage your existing digital infrastructure and ERP systems through seamless integrations to help you get started in days. Reach out to us to learn more about our solutions. Schedule a demo today!

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