The carbon footprint of a product is the carbon dioxide emitted across the supply chain for a single unit of that product. Globalization has resulted in substantial increase in global trade of goods and services across countries around the world. Often, goods are produced in developing countries where labor cost is lower, and developed countries are often net importers.
The UNFCCC’s greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting system works on the basis of national production rather than consumption of emissions. This means that when goods are traded, their embodied emissions (e.g. emissions associated with manufacture) are also traded. However, these imported emissions are not counted towards a country’s reported climate impacts. It is estimated that around 22% of global CO2 emissions comprise goods and services which have been internationally traded. Better understanding and providing solutions to address the embodied carbon of traded goods will be critical in global and national efforts to decarbonize industry. In addition, large and multinational companies are paying more attention to the energy and carbon footprint of their supply chain. Also, with higher consumer awareness, end users of products are also paying increasing attention to energy and carbon footprint of the goods they use.
Global Efficiency Intelligence, LLC has extensive experience in analyzing energy use and GHG emissions as well as energy and carbon footprint of key industry sectors and products. For our supply chain energy and carbon footprinting work, we have partnered with KGM & Associates Ltd, a world renown consulting specializing in international trade analysis. Much of this work centers around KGM’s Eora model: a high-resolution global trade database. Eora model covers the domestic economies and international trade between 187 countries (capturing >99.5% of global GDP) in high sector detail, for each year 1990-2014. Eora model is used by researchers at over 800 universities worldwide. Applications include calculating carbon, energy, water, and biodiversity footprints, analyzing value added in trade, inter-industry flows, international supply chains.