What if product carbon footprint information was more accurate and could empower consumers to make smart, low-carbon choices in their purchase and use of electronic products?
Companies are beginning to take steps to enable customers by assessing how much total carbon their products emit into the atmosphere throughout their lifecycles – all the way from material extraction, through manufacturing, use, and finally end-of-life. Unfortunately, data being used in these assessments is highly variable, often resulting in product carbon footprint (PCF) results that contain a lot of uncertainty and ultimately have minimal meaning.
Often a large portion of an IT product’s total carbon footprint is emitted during the manufacture and transport of the product. This “embedded” carbon is often difficult to obtain in a large, multi-tiered supply chains such as those used to manufacture IT products. Therefore, it is very important to improve data collection within an organization’s supply chain in order to better understand a product’s embedded carbon.
This is the aim of a new method for calculating carbon data, produced in collaboration between member companies of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition – of which HP is a founding member – and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The approach includes standardized, product-specific allocation methods that link facility-wide carbon data to the specific product types manufactured within that facility. The paper that presents this method, Product Carbon Footprinting Allocation Project Results, provides readers with state-of-the-art allocation methods for several IT product subassemblies: ICs, LCDs, PCAs, HDDs and PCBs.
- Introduction contributed by Alexandra B. Degher, PhD, Hewlett-Packard Company