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Raw Materials Major Contributor to Carbon Footprints

jacket.jpgConsumers are increasingly becoming aware of carbon footprints, but it may surprise many that the transportation of products represents only a small percentage of its CO2 emissions, Wall Street Journal reports.

In products like jackets, shoes and beer, companies thought transportation would constitute a majority of the product’s CO2 emissions, but they were wrong. CO2 emissions related to transportation represented only 5 percent of Timberland Co.’s shoes, less than 1 percent of Patagonia’s jackets and ranked fourth in emissions for New Belgium Brewing Co.’s beer.

According to the International Energy Agency, a U.S. resident emits the equivalent of about 118 pounds of CO2 per day, this includes emissions from industry.

Timberland found that an average pair of its shoes emits between 22 pounds to 220 pounds of CO2, with the biggest contributor towards CO2 emissions being the shoe’s raw material- leather. This is because cows produces lots of methane when they digest food.

Earlier this year, the company’s CSR Reporting Manger, Alex Hausman, talked with EL about the company’s journey to quarterly CSR reporting.

Patagonia began tracking the carbon footprints of some of its products last year. Although Patagonia’s Talus jacket looks like a naturalist’s dream, its carbon footprint is 66 pounds, which is 48 times the weight of the jacket itself. The jacket’s material, polyester represents 71 percent of the products carbon footprint, or about 47 pounds of CO2 emissions.

As for New Belgium Brewing Co.’s beer, the bulk of its carbon footprint comes from the refrigeration of the beer. Manufacturing the glass bottles and producing the barley and malt ranked second and third respectively. Click here for a video of the company’s Chief Branding Officer discussing the company’s achievements in sustainability.

More analysis of carbon footprints of products such as cars, laundry detergent and milk can be found on the Wall Street Journal’s site.

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