Calculating and profiling carbon emissions is key to reaching net zero. While this can be calculated fairly simply at a site level it can be difficult to get a full breakdown of the carbon content of products, particularly for businesses with complex manufacturing and supply chain operations.

In order to take their net zero strategy to the next level, it is essential that businesses are able to access a deeper level of carbon profiling so that they can identify products with the highest emissions and take the necessary actions to reduce them.

The data from an accurate carbon footprint calculator can support future decision making for businesses on areas such as future design solutions, supply chain locations, material selection and in-house manufacturing optimisation.

When combined with an expert team, this data can also feed directly into a robust ESG strategy and make it easier to track key KPIs as it is implemented.

Key challenges in calculating carbon emissions of products

1 Sourcing the right data

For many companies, a lack of reliable data makes accurately measuring carbon emissions very difficult. Not only do companies need access to internal data, but they may also have to rely on secondary data to complete their carbon calculations.

2 Defining the unit of the study

Based on the end goal of the carbon profiling project and the type of business, using a different functional unit (FU) for measurement may be appropriate. This could mean looking to calculate the emissions of a single unit of your product or per tonne, for example. This can be a barrier in the early stages of the project because you need to settle on an FU that not only allows you to drive value internally, but in certain cases is also comparable to the rest of the market.

3 Calculating the carbon footprint

To go from raw data to an in-depth understanding of carbon emissions, businesses must process the data using a series of potentially complex calculations. This can be a complicated process, and different calculations may be suitable for different industries or businesses. When complex manufacturing processes or supply chains are involved, multiple calculations and data sources may be involved, further complicating the process.

4 Creating an action plan

For businesses that do have access to their carbon emissions data, it can still be difficult to build an efficient decarbonisation or ESG strategy. That's because areas with high emissions are often ones that are difficult to control, and require wider input from suppliers, or the industry as a whole.

5 Other industry specific challenges

In some cases, there may be other specific challenges that will need to be considered when calculating carbon emissions, for example, factoring in land use change where agricultural products are concerned.

Calculating accurate CO2 emission data

We recently identified a need amongst our clients for more accurate CO2 emissions data. With government pushing businesses to decarbonise, many had set ambitious business targets to reduce CO2 emissions significantly in the coming years.

As experts in capturing and converting data, we developed a solution that would allow our clients to view their carbon data in a more granular way.

We developed a digital solution to support micro level carbon calculation, considering materials, manufacturing process, supply chain location, production facilitates and more. What's more, our solution is fully compliant with the ISO 14067 standard, giving you peace of mind that your carbon footprint data is reliable.

This service, which can be deployed alongside Vendigital's cost and value engineering offering to allow businesses to reduce costs alongside carbon emissions, delivers on-going, real-time insights to clients.

Reach out to our experts to learn more about Vendigital's carbon footprint calculation here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.