A product carbon footprint quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the life cycle of a particular product (including raw materials, manufacture, distribution & retail, consumer use, disposal/recycling). Similarly to a value chain carbon footprint, a product carbon footprint includes all sources of greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain (i.e. scopes 1, 2 and 3) but it has a particular product focus. In theory, for a particular manufacturing company, the sum of all their product carbon footprints would equal their value chain carbon footprint.

The Green House consultants have significant experience in conducting product carbon footprints (primarily within the context of life cycle assessments).

The benefits of conducting a product carbon footprint include:

  • Understanding the carbon risks and opportunities of a particular product line;
  • Benchmarking against competing products and identifying possible marketing claims: and
  • Guiding product development. A product focus is often essential here, in that improvements and innovations to a particular product will often become “lost” in a value chain carbon footprint (i.e. the reductions in carbon emissions might be relatively small in the context of the company’s overall emissions, but might be significant for that product).

Case studies: LCA of Packaging Options for Powder Laundry Detergents; LCA of Milk Production in the Western Cape