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Portfolio Approach Scales Up Carbon Footprinting for Tesco, PepsiCo, Others

Sustainability consultants Best Foot Forward launched a new service to help businesses with complex supply chains and thousands of different products quickly measure and manage their carbon footprint.

The company says the launch of Product Portfolio Footprinting, which has been piloted with Tesco, PepsiCo, and Crown Paints, marks a shift from one-off footprinting studies to scaled-up sustainability management. 

“In the last 12 months there has been a shift from isolated product footprints to more strategic approaches, based on larger sets of data,” says Simon Miller, Director at Best Foot Forward. “This trend was clear from the release of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan in November last year, and now many larger businesses are looking for ways to reduce their total footprint in the most intelligent, efficient way.”

The traditional ‘life cycle analysis’ approach to footprinting – looking at the cradle to grave impact of one individual product in detail - can take many weeks for each product. Using Product Portfolio Footprinting, Best Foot Forward says it analyzed over 300 products in less than 10 weeks for Crown Paints.

“When you’re footprinting consumer goods, it makes sense to keep hold of materials and emissions data about each component, which can then be applied to different product ranges and combined with sales data,” Miller adds. “Product portfolio footprinting really represents a leap forward from the previous approach of undertaking one footprint at a time. So we’re still using process data rather than financial information, it’s just significantly scaled up.”

Multinational corporations are increasingly setting ambitious sustainability targets that go beyond their own operations, and require a comprehensive approach to measurement and reporting. 

Andrew Yeo, Head of Supply Chain Carbon Reduction at Tesco, said: "Tesco is committed to reducing the footprint of our full product range by 30%, by 2020. Meeting this target requires rapid action across our business and supply chain, and Best Foot Forward is supporting us to measure broadly and to target key hotspots - in any and all of our product categories.”

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal of Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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