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Analysis of product carbon footprints reported to CDP 2016-2017

Erika Whillas

CDP has partnered with CoClear to analyze the 2016-17 product data submitted as part of CDP’s Supply Chain questionnaire. Over 199 companies from 30 countries disclosed product information, representing 20 global GICS industry groups and totaling 506 products.

By generating carbon intensity data for each product—the rate of carbon emissions per kilogram of product—CoClear was able to identify industry trends, as well as track product performance improvements along value chains.

The analysis of 2016-2017 product data is part of an ongoing study CoClear is conducting with CDP to help analyze and communicate product carbon emissions across a range of industries.

Key findings:

  • 75%+ of product carbon emissions arise outside the companies’ direct operations, i.e., upstream or downstream in the product’s value chain

  • 20% of companies who pursued product carbon reduction initiatives in 2016-2017 did so after receiving data requests from their supply chain partners who were already reporting to CDP

  • On average, participating companies with granular life cycle data reduced their products’ carbon footprints at double the rate of companies with only total product emissions. This indicates that granular life cycle analysis may play a crucial role in enabling companies to successfully pursue science based targets through product redesign

  • 58% of companies who reported product carbon emissions in 2016-2017 did not supply a break down of life cycle stage emissions along the value chain

  • Between 2013-2017 there was a general increase in the number of companies reporting product carbon emissions to CDP

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