Project Merit: Carbon Foot-printing


AECOM Technology Corp. (Los Angeles) for assisting Celulosa Arauco y Constituci┬Ę┬«n (Arauco), Chile's largest forest products company and a world leader in sustainable forest management, in the development of a carbon footprint analysis the company's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project was managed by an Arauco-appointed Carbon Footprint Steering Committee comprising key business and support staff, as well as external advisors from Fundacion Chile and AECOM.

The analysis, led by AECOM Vice President and Director of Sustainability James Weinbauer, determined direct and indirect GHG emissions from Arauco's operations and value chain across Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, and it included emissions generated by harvesting operations and the transport of raw materials and products, as well as carbon stored in sustainably managed plantations and finished products in use. Arauco has reported the results and is using the data to benchmark continuous improvement and further reduce its carbon signature to support its important climate change solutions. The carbon footprint analysis used internationally accepted protocols, including the GHG Protocol established by World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the 100-Year Method for Estimating Long-Term Carbon Storage in forest products-in-use developed for the International Confederation of Forest Products Associations.

WSP Environment & Energy (Reston Va.) for its partnership with Microsoft and Accenture in 2009, under which the companies developed standards for product carbon footprinting in accounting for the GHG emissions associated with software product life cycles.

Based on several distribution scenarios, the study captured carbon emissions associated with the raw materials, production, distribution, customer purchase, and end-of-life processes for 10 million off-the shelf retail software products. Microsoft then compared these results to the on-line delivery model for 10 million downloads, accounting for the data centers used for hosting software downloads and even the energy used by a consumer's personal computer to download the Office 2007 program. Not surprisingly, transportation and packaging materials were identified as the largest contributors to carbon emissions for the off-the-shelf product. The study concluded that downloading Office 2007 avoided eight times the amount of carbon emissions compared with producing and shipping a DVD, with its associated packaging, through traditional retail distribution channels.