Product Standard

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Every product has an environmental impact. In face of the current climate crisis, it is inevitable to reduce the negative climate impacts and to increase the sustainability of products. A product carbon footprint indicates the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions, which are a core driver of climate change, that are consumed or produced during the life cycle of a product, including those presented in figure 1. A product life cycle is defined as phases comprising the whole life of a product or service, including but not limited to sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, usage and disposal. [1]


Figure 1: The sources of GHG emissions from the manufacture of a product
Source: BSI (2014). Product Carbon Footprinting for Beginners: Guidance for smaller businesses on tackling the carbon footprinting challenge, British Standards Institution: London.


There are different methods to estimate a product carbon footprint. For instance, it can be calculated on a per dosage or use basis, or it can also be presented as an annualized impact. As carbon footprint data is always an estimate and thus never perfect, depending on the calculation methodology and available data one can offer a very good estimation of the emissions from a specific snapshot in time by employing the data available.[2] The methodology for calculating individual carbon footprints proposed in the Open Payment Standard does not include product based carbon footprint data. The Product Standard therefore seeks to provide a framework for including product carbon footprint data in the calculation of consumer carbon footprints. In this sense, it can be understood as an additional approach to refine the calculation methodology by including even more data. This additional step is quite complex, as it requires two things. First, the product carbon footprint data must be available. Second, the methodology of how to include the data in the calculations must be defined.

References

  1. Source: BSI (2014). Product Carbon Footprinting for Beginners: Guidance for smaller businesses on tackling the carbon footprinting challenge, British Standards Institution: London.
  2. Ibid.