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Whose carbon footprint are you saving?

  • by JW

You cannot simply greenwash your carbon footprint away by outsourcing it to your customers.


There are quite a few examples of ‘greenwashing’ out there:

Greenwashing Inc – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Here’s another example from a correspondent just in:

This made me laugh!

It may save the carbon footprint for Hermes but then you have to go and fetch it …. which more or less cancels out the saving …. depending on type of vehicle used/traffic at time of collection (rush hour)/weight of vehicle/ etc.

What a con: they become more productive by hiving off something where you have already paid for their costs!!

Companies have been ‘outsourcing’ their carbon footprints for some time now:

Wealthier countries ‘outsource’ their carbon emissions to developing nations, study finds (2010)

A closer look at how rich countries “outsource” their CO2 emissions to poorer ones – Vox (2017)

Do US companies outsource their carbon footprints to overseas suppliers to maintain competitiveness? | Blog post | PRI (2022)

What is interesting in the example above is how companies are outsourcing their carbon footprints, not to their suppliers, but to their end-users.

And if companies such as the one quoted above do not want to be seen as making fools of their customers, they are going to have to act more honestly and responsibly:

The carbon footprint extends beyond a company’s door to its whole operation

So we see that supply chain carbon is the next key area to be tackled to enhance efficiency and reputation, and meet compliance. The companies that have a full understanding of their carbon emissions, including from their suppliers and customers, will be better able to measure, manage and reduce them in an environment where carbon emission reduction is an increasingly business-critical issue. Through leading the market and addressing supply chain emissions now, businesses can enjoy reputational benefits. Communicating their actions to stakeholders will set them apart from the majority of businesses that have yet to make this area a priority.

The carbon footprint extends beyond a company’s door to its whole operation | Low carbon | The Guardian