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FLEXO Magazine : March 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES 56 FLEXO MARCH 2008 www.flexography.org Practical Carbon Footprinting By Gary Miller and Riyaz Shipchandler In recent months there has been an amazing surge of interest by print- ers in being green or sustainable. Businesses of all types and sizes are re- alizing that their customers, including Wal-Mart, Target and others are requiring suppliers to provide data on the environ- mental impact of their products. Wal- Mart's Packaging Scorecard is intended to reduce packaging across its global supply chain by 5 percent by 2013. A component of that Scorecard is based on greenhouse gas emissions or carbon dioxide released per ton of production. Many manufacturers are looking for printers that can help their products be considered green or lessen their overall impact on the environment. Printers are finding themselves in a social, political and business environment that is emphasizing the need to be sustainable. Even new cars this year have an environmental empha- sis. Many states have established aggres- sive climate change goals. Many mayors have signed on to the challenge---to date, 786 have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement as of Feb. 2008. The Climate Registry currently has 39 states, along with seven Canadian prov- inces and two Mexican states as members. It has developed a draft protocol for calcu- lating the carbon footprint of businesses. This protocol addresses many complex business issues, such a joint ownership of a facility, changes in operations (i.e., installing a new press), and others. This article presents the basics of calculating a carbon footprint for a facility without get- ting into these complexities. This interest is evidenced by the ap- pearance of articles on being green all over the Internet, in newspapers and in magazines. It includes the topics of global warming, greenhouse gases, climate change and sustainability. Manufacturers are interested in having a green label on their product. Printers, in particular, are increasingly asking what steps they can take to be more green and to meet customers needs now and in the future. There are many actions a printer can take to be sustainable, in- cluding reducing wastes, using less toxic chemicals, and conserving energy. Using renewable sources of paper, inks and cleaners is another element in an overall strategy. The printing industry has made tremendous strides in these areas. A relatively new concern is to under- stand a company's contribution to global warming or climate change. The term "carbon footprint" is used to measure the impact of an activity on greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide. A carbon footprint is meant to account for the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full lifecycle of a prod- uct or service. A full lifecycle assessment can be complicated and difficult. A more simple approach is to restrict the assess- ment to emissions that can be attributed to the use of fossil fuels in buildings and for work-related transportation. This is the first approach most companies are taking to get a handle on their carbon footprint. Including carbon emissions from the en- tire supply chain, from the manufacture of FIGURE 1: CITIES THAT HAVE SIGNED ON TO THE U.S. MAYORS CLIMATE PROTECTION AGREEMENT. © 2007. The United States Conference of Mayors. All rights reserved. FIGURE 2: STATES THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THE CLIMATE REGISTRY.