How much does a product we buy contribute to climate change?

With a third of consumers now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact, businesses need to engage in quantifying and communicating their environmental impact. For many businesses, implementing an environmental sustainability strategy requires them to measure their organisational environmental impact – often this begins with calculating their carbon footprint. At the same time, there is an increasing international focus on the accuracy and reliability of carbon accounting, putting pressure on businesses to report and commit to science-based targets, in line with international and national climate policy.

Tools already exist to support businesses in measuring their carbon footprint at a business level. However, there is currently no consistent mechanism for businesses to communicate the combined carbon footprint of actors along their supply chain at a product level.  Instead, claims vary depending on the preferred data parameters and boundaries used by each actor in a supply chain. This also means comparing the carbon footprint between businesses and at product level is difficult due to inconsistent methodologies – resulting in carbon claims which are inconsistent, opaque and variable for shoppers.  

Responding to the needs of existing customers and backed by an Innovate UK grant, Provenance has partnered with Carbon Analytics –– pioneers in environmental impact measurement –– to develop a blockchain-based solution to enable businesses to track and communicate supply chain emissions (Scope 3) using a consistent, industry comparable methodology.

Are you a business interested in tracking and communicating the environmental impact of your products? Get in touch.

Working with third parties, we are designing solutions that will enable businesses to both inform shoppers of the positive impact of individual products, and increase the accuracy and reliability of carbon estimates. The solution developed will allow multiple actors to communicate their carbon footprint data in a consistent way, at business and product level, along a supply chain in a decentralised way.

Did you know that the majority of a given product’s carbon emissions result from activities along the supply chain? Take this bottle of olive oil as an example.

Undoubtedly, calculating a business’ Scope 3 emissions quickly and cost-effectively is currently a challenge. This partnership, through facilitating user-lead data gathering along supply chains, aims to enable businesses to learn more about their environmental impact as well as make reliable sustainability claims to their customers. With an opportunity of €966 billion for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear, the incentive to get this right is significant.

In order to leverage existing efforts within the Climate Change and Sustainability impact community by mobilising the power of blockchain technology, Provenance is also a member of the open global initiative, Climate Change Coalition.

“Measuring and effectively communicating environmental data at a product level is a huge task that we know we can’t accomplish alone. As shoppers, we can’t pretend that what happens in the farms and factories that create our products doesn’t matter, just because we don’t have direct access to these businesses. With this partnership, businesses will be able to accurately calculate and track end-to-end carbon footprint for their products, and share these claims with retailers and their customers,” Jessi Baker, CEO of Provenance.

“As a customer, whether what you buy was produced by the company you bought it from directly or by a contracted producer is immaterial – you still want to know what happened to get your product to you and whether that was something you can feel good about.  Yet in current reporting, supply chain environmental impact is frequently omitted or given only passing attention due to complexity. With this partnership, we will be able to provide customers with the full carbon story of their products – helping support supply chains’ shift from a hidden world to something that’s bragged about.” Michael Thornton, CEO of Carbon Analytics.

We’re looking for businesses (large and small) in the Food & Drink, Fashion and Furniture industries who are interested in working with us on this solution as we develop it over the next six months. If you believe your business could benefit from a blockchain-backed, user-led carbon footprint accounting and communication tool, we’d love to hear from you! 

Are you a business interested in tracking and communicating the environmental impact of your products?

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We’re keen to hear from experts, conscious shoppers and partner organisations who want to keep ahead of the curve in this area, so do let us know if you’re keen to get involved!

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Please feel free to write about this story. You can access images of the Provenance x Carbon Analytics partnership here.