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Climate footpring in the entire value-chain

How do I calculate my climate impact across the value chain?

Calculating climate impact can be a tool for improving a company's sustainability or strengthening its environmental profile. But how can a company present a fair portrayal of its total climate impact? What factors need to be considered? Where does my responsibility end?

Pressure from producers and service providers to analyse and improve their climate impact is greater than ever.

“We have never had this many requests before,” says Lisa Schwarz Bour, Head of the Environment and Sustainable Chemistry unit at RISE. “There is a great need for companies to find out more about their climate impact, either because customers or industry regulations require it, or because they want to strengthen the sustainability profile of the company itself or a specific product.”

An in-depth analysis of a company’s own carbon footprint can answer questions such as:

  •  Have we done our best to make this product sustainable from a climate perspective?
  •  What changes would make the biggest difference to our overall carbon footprint?
  •  What climate guarantees do we dare give this product?

Necessary for a fair portrayal of climate impact

For companies that want to show a fair portrayal of their total climate impact, data usually needs to be collected from subcontractors. This lets them find out more about the materials used and the materials’ history, as well as examine water and energy consumption in both production and transport. But it often requires more than this.

“A common mistake among companies is to look at their climate impact with system boundaries that are too narrow,” says Inger-Lise Svensson, Head of the Energy and Environmental Systems Analysis unit at RISE. “You may want to analyse the energy consumption during the production stage, while it is actually the product’s constituent materials that have the greatest impact on the climate. It may turn out that a certain component is a major climate culprit, which you then risk missing.”

A fair portrayal of the total sustainability footprint is formed across the entire value chain, for example:

  •  What is the total environmental impact from producing the amount of material needed in the product?
  •  How much energy, water and chemicals have been consumed to process recycled or virgin materials so that they can be used based on a certain quality requirement?
  •  How much is consumed in production?
  •  How much is consumed when the product is used?
  •  What is required for waste management or recycling?

Demonstrating that you are far better than what the law requires may offer market advantages

What degree of responsibility do you wish to have?

What footprint along the value chain will your business take responsibility for? Where does the responsibility end? Svensson offers some insight:

“In addition to the responsibility to stay within the framework of the law, I think companies must ask themselves the following: What does your sense tell you? What do you want to take responsibility for? What environmental profile do you have? Which do you want?

“Demonstrating that you are far better than what the law requires may offer market advantages.

Taking greater responsibility for your sustainability and carbon footprint is also insurance for the future.

The businesses that work continuously with these issues are automatically in a better position when stricter laws and regulations come into force, or when customers place higher demands on sustainability.”

Let RISE help

When RISE helps businesses to calculate their climate impact and make improvements, the process generally involves the following:

“The first thing we do is explore what scope we should have,” says Schwarz Bour. “For this, we use our experience and expertise to assess what is most worthwhile investigating based on the purpose. We always discuss what the customer should analyse.”

This is followed by an accepted methodology with a clear structure.

“The client is involved in the entire data collection process. We look at all the constituent parts, based on the elected scope. You must first understand the processes in order to select relevant values to measure, and our experts can assist in this. For example, if you have four components that make up a product, we can examine how much water and energy is consumed to produce each component. And if different machines are used in production, we examine how much energy each one consumes, the electricity consumed, and so on. A good calculation is carried out in good dialogue with the customer.”

If you want to get started with climate calculations, get in touch with us and we will help you.

Lisa Schwarz Bour

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Lisa Schwarz Bour


+46 10 228 48 07

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Inger-Lise Svensson

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Inger-Lise Svensson


+46 10 516 51 35

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