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Product Carbon Footprint

The product carbon footprint is the measurement and calculation of the total greenhouse gas emissions from a product, starting from the supply of raw materials to the end of the lifecycle, in CO2 equivalents. In these studies, although the scope and limits are determined based on the product and the process, cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave are the common analysis boundaries. Metsims can calculate the carbon footprint of your product in accordance with international standards such as ISO 14067, or the GHG Protocol the Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard, identify the most-carbon intensive processes and take appropriate steps to reduce the related emissions.
The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) is the most established method for determining the climate impact of a product. Throughout the entire life cycle of a product – from raw material extraction to recycling or disposal – climate-relevant impacts arise in the form of greenhouse gas emissions. The Product Carbon Footprint helps to identify, analyse and, with the right measures, reduce or (ideally) completely avoid these impacts.

In addition to the product-related carbon footprint, there is also the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF), which considers the impact of the company. For the determination of the PCF and CCF, there are standards and norms that are constantly being further developed.

The global climate goals by 2050 aim at a decarbonized world, which is why all products and services must be evaluated with regard to their climate impact. As a result, the PCF is becoming increasingly important.

When calculating the Carbon Footprint, a distinction is also made between direct and indirect emissions (Scope 1-3): Scope 1 considers all emissions that are directly caused by the company (combustion of fossil fuels, emissions from chemical and physical processes etc.).

Scope 2 analyzes the indirect emissions generated by external providers of electricity, heat, cooling or steam. All other indirect emissions that occur either in the upstream supply chain or during product use are covered by Scope 3 (for example the purchase of products).
PCF – More than CO2

The CO2 footprint is not only – as the name suggests – about carbon dioxide emissions, but also about other greenhouse gases.

The climate impact of the various greenhouse gases is expressed in CO2 equivalents, since the gases have different global warming potentials.

  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • Sulphur hexaflouride (SF6)
  • Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

Goals of the Product Carbon Footprint

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and achievement of climate goals
  • Analysis of the climate-relevant hotspots of a production system
  • Increasing transparency in industry
  • Development of internationally binding, harmonized standards and guidelines

Advantages of the PCF for your company

  • Start a fact-based sustainability management through a careful analysis of the current state-of-the-art
  • Identify and reduce unknown savings potentials of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Serve customer needs as PCFs are increasingly demanded

Existing standards for calculating a PCF

Various standards have been developed to determine the CO2 balance of products. The best-known standards for calculating a carbon footprint are following:

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