CICS Quick Guide to the Benefits of Product/Service Carbon Footprinting

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1 CICS Quick Guide to the Benefits of Product/Service Carbon Footprinting

2 What is a Product Carbon Footprint? A product carbon footprint is just what it says it is the carbon footprint of a product (or service). It measures those Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions produced during the whole lifecycle of a product those emissions released as part of the processes of: creating modifying transporting storing using providing recycling disposing of a particular product. This lifecycle is sometimes called cradle to grave i.e. all processes from creation of the product to its final disposal. Where applicable, an organisation may choose to have gate to gate or a cradle to gate carbon footprint. This focus upon an area of most concern helps to focus efficiency improvements and satisfy the demands of the business clients. Question: But I already measure my organisation s GHG emissions as part of a mandatory scheme why should I now measure the carbon emissions of an individual product? There are numerous benefits to measuring the carbon footprint of a product: Knowledge you know where and how your products are impacting on emissions. Management you can then manage your emissions, focusing on Reduction knowing where your emissions are coming from allows you to reduce them which saves Costs decreasing emissions usually means decreasing energy and therefore costs. Having a product carbon footprint helps you to identify where your business can be more efficient. And efficiency means improved processes, reduced costs and increased profitability. These are benefits that fall in your direct control. But what about benefits along the supply chain? By working with suppliers you can identify where emissions are coming from and work with them to reduce emissions and, as seen above, costs. Emissions and costs can be reduced in the areas of raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, retail, recycling and disposal. 2

3 Having a carbon footprint allows you to differentiate yourself from competitors; businesses are increasingly choosing to work with suppliers who demonstrate green credentials. If you are able to supply them with your product carbon footprint this saves them time and money when producing theirs. Working together to reduce emissions strengthens supplier relationships. Question: Does having a product carbon footprint influence the buying decision at all? We ve seen that more and more organisations are choosing to work with suppliers who are taking steps to measure, manage and reduce their carbon emissions but are consumers interested in whether a product has a carbon footprint or not? It would seem so. Tesco s research(1) into consumers preference for lower-carbon products indicates that 97% of consumers would actively seek to purchase products with a low carbon footprint if they were as cheap and convenient as others. In addition, having a product carbon footprint can enhance an organisation s brand and reputation being seen as a socially responsible business that is looking to limit its environmental impact, can only have a favourable influence on the consumer. Question: How can I prove that I have a product carbon footprint? CICS has developed an Assurance Mark which any business that has had its product carbon footprint independently assessed by one of its verifiers can put on its products. This signals to your stakeholders (employees, investors, media, suppliers, purchasers, consumers) that you have had your product carbon footprint independently assessed to either the PAS 2050 Standard or the WRI/WBCSD Product Lifecycle Accounting and Reporting Standard. Question: OK, I m convinced that having a product carbon footprint makes good sense for my organisation, so what are the next steps? 1. Choose a standard with which to measure lifecycle GHG emissions. The two that are currently in use are PAS 2050 and the WRI/WBCSD Product Lifecycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (the GHG Product Standard). 3

4 2. Use the framework provided in the standard to measure the emissions throughout your product s lifecycle. 3. Choose CICS, an independent assurance body, to check the integrity, validity and accuracy of your data. CICS is only one of four verification bodies in the UK that accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) to verify against the PAS 2050 Standard and the associated Code of Good Practice. 4. Once we have verified your data to PAS 2050 or the GHG Product Standard you are able to receive our Product Carbon Footprint Assurance Mark which you can use on your product packaging and in your marketing promotions to prove your green credentials. Case Study Forest Pennant The Challenge A producer of natural stone paving, Forest Pennant, recognised that potential clients and their stakeholders were becoming increasingly interested in the carbon footprints of products used in their projects and, as such, decided to benchmark the footprint of its natural stone paving. In addition to satisfying customer demand and giving the company a green edge over competitors, the process also allowed Forest Pennant to assess where production efficiencies could be introduced, reducing both carbon emissions and manufacturing costs. To achieve certification to PAS 2050, the specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services, Forest Pennant employed CICS to independently verify their claim of conformance. CICS is one of only four verification bodies in the UK that is accredited to verify against the PAS 2050 Standard and the associated Code of Good Practice by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service). What CICS Delivered CICS assessed primary and secondary data and also visited the Parkend site to view and understand the processes involved. Although verification body site visits are not mandatory under PAS2050 certification guidance they add significant robustness to the exercise and provide additional credibility to the numbers. Indeed, PAS 2050 certification without site visits from assurance providers should raise concerns from stakeholders. Value to the Client By undertaking independent assurance to PAS 2050, Forest Pennant is able to show that the carbon footprint of its natural stone paving product was accurate and valid. In achieving conformance to PAS 2050, Forest Pennant was awarded CICS PAS 2050 Assurance Mark. This can be used on any marketing literature to signify that the product s carbon footprint has been independently verified to the PAS 2050 international standard. 4

5 About CICS CICS (Complete Integrated Certification Services Ltd) provides sustainability assurance, management systems certification and training, and product certification. Services include third party independent assurance of carbon/water footprints, sustainability/corporate responsibility/environmental reports, and verification under the Emissions Trading Scheme, North American Climate Registry, WRI/WBCSD GHG protocol, Carbon Disclosure Project, PAS 2050 and GRI (Global reporting Initiative). CICS also provides ISO Certification services, including management system certification to ISO 9000, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO and Product Certification. All services are accredited to internationally recognised standards and guidelines and based upon a policy of providing a unique combination of: industry sector knowledge, specialist auditors, service orientation, cost effectiveness and global reach.

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