McKinnon, Alan C.

Product-level carbon auditing of supply chains: Environmental imperative or wasteful distraction?

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 40 (1/2): 60-42, (2010).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1108/09600031011018037

Abstract: Interest in product‐level carbon auditing and labelling has been growing in both business and government circles. This paper examines the practical problems and costs associated with highly disaggregated analyses of greenhouse gas emissions from supply chains. It then weighs these problems and costs against the potential benefits of the carbon labelling of products. The conclusion is that product-level carbon auditing of supply chains and the related carbon labelling of products will be fraught with difficulty and very costly. While simplification of the auditing process, the use of data inventories and software support may assist these processes, the practicality of applying them to all consumer products seems very doubtful. The resulting environmental benefits are also highly questionable. The main conclusion, therefore, is that product‐level carbon auditing and labelling is a “wasteful distraction” and that it would be better to devote management time and resources to other decarbonisation initiatives.

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