Earlier this year, Wal-Mart announced goals to reduce its carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its supply chain. Wal-Mart’s GHG emissions goal was set at a 20 million metric ton reduction of GHG emissions by 2015. The implication for suppliers is clear and substantial – measure your footprint and find ways to improve.
Measuring your carbon footprint (which also refers to any greenhouse gas, measured in carbon dioxide equivalents or “CO2e”) is the first step in reducing GHG emissions, providing a baseline from which to start. A carbon footprint study can also identify areas where you can cut down on energy use. From this point, an energy audit or sustainability consultation can provide a comprehensive look at how to reduce or off-set your impact. The value of such a program is not just good PR (though the benefit of employee moral or customer goodwill should not be underestimated) – it can produce savings through reduced fuel, utility or travel costs and reduced material consumption, as well as allow a corporation to get ahead of future carbon cap and trade regulations or taxes.
Wal-Mart has realized the relationship between being a profitable business and a sustainable business. Many retailers are also taking up this charge – Target, Whole Foods and Starbucks have similar programs in place for their supply chain. Carbon Partner has seen the result of this movement first-hand in recently working with several wholesale suppliers to Wal-Mart, Target and Whole Foods to measure and reduce their carbon footprint. Carbon Partner expects this trend will continue as public pressure mounts for corporations to show measurable steps to advance their sustainability platforms.