Emissions of key materials including steel, copper, and cement will be measured © Getty Images/Cultura RF
Emissions of key materials including steel, copper, and cement will be measured © Getty Images/Cultura RF

Coalition aims to calculate carbon footprint of consumer products

23 January 2020

A coalition of think tanks aims to build a standard method for measuring the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of products to help decarbonise industrial supply chains.

The Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET) will tackle disparities in emissions measurements by creating a “universally accepted, verifiable and comparable emissions-reporting framework”.

COMET will establish a calculation of the carbon content of consumer products, such as cars, buildings, and phones, through a clear understanding of emissions from the production of key materials including steel, copper, and cement.

The alliance was launched this week at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

COMET will work with manufacturers, financiers and buyers to promote low-carbon materials at scale by incorporating sustainability metrics into procurement processes, mitigating risks, managing targets and preparing for upcoming climate policies and regulations.

The standardised reporting framework will integrate environmental reporting metrics, support existing sustainable production initiatives, and help quantify sustainable production.

It aims to address a lack of frameworks, consistency in data collection and reporting across entire supply chains, which has been a barrier to a “universally accepted way to know the emissions intensity of products or materials”.

COMET includes the Rocky Mountain Institute, the MIT Sustainable Supply Chains initiative, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines.

Suzanne Greene, programme manager at MIT Sustainable Supply Chains, said: "Our ultimate goal is transparency of climate impacts across the supply chain.

"An emissions calculation method for mineral and industrial supply chains is an important first step for consumers and investors to understand and drive the decarbonisation of the goods we use every day."

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