Product carbon footprinting: A proposed framework to increase confidence, reduce costs and incorporate profit incentive

Chase J. Waddell, Matthew D. Hurteau, Deborah N Huntzinger


Limiting the effects of global climate change requires reductions in anthropogenic GHG emissions. However, without regulations mandating decarbonization of industrial society, emission reduction strategies must provide opportunities for generating profit. Product carbon footprinting (PCF) has emerged as a means to identify emission reduction opportunities for all economic activity by analyzing the full life cycle of goods and services. The detailed emissions inventories obtained through PCF can facilitate identification of areas in a supply chain where GHG emissions can be reduced with a positive return on investment. Despite recent efforts to standardize PCF, a lack of data and data uncertainty remain barriers to restructuring supply chains and manufacturing processes to achieve cost-effective emissions reductions. We provide a basic framework to conceptually demonstrate how data gaps can be filled and uncertainty in PCF can be more accurately assessed, while simultaneously reducing the costs of conducting PCF and yielding positive return on investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-657
Number of pages13
JournalCarbon Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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