The cBalance Blog

The Carbon Emissions and Energy Use of the Indian Hotel Industry

We continue our weekly blog with another post on hospitality, this time, an analysis of the hotel industry in general in India. In 2011, USAID and the Indian government’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) commissioned a study by cBalance to understand the energy consumption of hotels in India, analyzing their carbon emissions, energy intensity, and efficiency and mitigation opportunities. The project’s goal, specifically, was to collect energy data for a robust set of hotels and hospitals distributed across all known climatic zones and recognized service-class categories in India to provide adequate data for the development of a statistical benchmarking system for buildings within service class categories of the above sectors based on their normalized energy performance index.


Project Scope:

Data set

Energy data collection was based on the following data groups:

Group 1: Business metrics

  1. Service class type and size / service capacity
  2. Area – Campus area, Built-up area, Carpet area, Common area, other use areas – conference area, restaurants etc.
  3. Overnight occupancy (customers, patients)
  4. Total occupancy
  5. Employee strength

Group 2: Energy use

  1. Purchased electricity
  2. Captive power generation and associated fuel consumption
  3. Fuel consumption for steam/water heating
  4. Fuel consumption for cooking/catering
  5. Other fuel consumption
  6. Air Conditioning – installed capacity under all AC technology types
  7. Lighting Load – installed capacity under all lighting technology types
  8. Water pumping load – installed capacity under all lighting technology types
  9. Other plug loads – Equipment, computers etc.
  10. Sub-metered electricity consumption for AC, lighting, water pumping, plug load equipment, office equipment, electric geysers, kitchen equipment, laundry equipment, swimming pool, elevators, ETP/STP.
  11. Renewable energy generation – solar PV, solar thermal water heating, waste to energy etc.
  12. Water and Hot Water consumption.

For this project, 131 hotels across the country in various cities and climatic zones and of various services grades were surveyed . The results are displayed in the following table and map:

Climatic zone map of India

More hotels lie in the warm and humid zone than any other (40), followed by composite (38), temperate (27), cold (25), and hot and dry (17):

Hotel industry in India by zone and service grade

Energy consumption can vary significantly with respect to geographic location, and the following graph displays the results of our data collection:

Indian hotels' greenhouse gas emissions by climate zone

Warm & humid regions consume the most amount of energy per square meter. This is because the high humidity reduces the performance of HVAC systems, requiring more energy to be consumed for cooling. Cold regions, on the other hand, have the lowest emissions because their air conditioning requirements are lower. This illustrates how significant air conditioning is as a portion of a hotel’s total energy consumption.

Energy efficiency also varies a great deal with respect to the service grade of the hotel, as is shown in the next graph:

Indian hotel greenhouse gas emissions by service grade

It may seem counter-intuitive that 4 star hotels have higher emissions per square meter, but this is because they don’t use their space as efficiently as the five star hotels nor have invested in newer and greener technologies. Per overnight stay, 5 star hotels have the highest emissions due to the comfort and amenities they provide their customers with.

The following graphs break down the emissions of each service category per climatic zone. The data used below has also been normalized for whether the hotel does laundry in-house or outsources it, as this contributes a significant portion of the energy usage.

Indian hotel greenhouse gas emissions by service grade and climatic zone per square meter

Indian hotel greenhouse gas emissions by service grade and climatic zone per square meter

Potential for saving:

We calculated the amount of CO2e emissions that could be saved if all 5 star and 4 star hotels in each climatic zone improved their energy efficiency to that of the top 25% (75th percentile) of their peers:

Indian hotel industry potential savings greenhouse gas emissions

As described in the above table, when measured from the built-up area (BUA), 5 star hotels can achieve a savings of 600 to 5000 tonnes of CO2e per year depending on the region, or 400-5000 tonnes of CO2e when calculating by overnight stay. For 4 star hotels, there is a potential savings of 650 to 1600 tonnes of CO2e and 190-530 tonnes when calculated by BUA and overnight stay, respectively. The largest potential for savings is in 5 stars hotels in warm and humid regions.

Further analysis of data, such as open and enclosed space use and technology interventions, has helped us document best practices in the industry and enabled us to create best practice guidelines for others to follow.

Climate Miles understands the unique requirements and challenges of the hotel industry to provide a high degree of comfort to their customers while keeping its footprint low. We work with clients across India through data driven methods to help them realize their carbon footprints relative to their peers with similar amenities. We also help them become more efficient through a wide array of process optimization and technology interventions with minimum disruption, which not only results in emission reduction but also increases bottom lines through cost savings. Our approach towards greening is to develop property specific or hotel chain specific MAC curves which will guide customers to prioritize their green investment opportunities.

MACC analysis is used for developing greening-roadmaps that transform the operations of institutions and corporations to set them on a low-carbon pathway. This is achieved by empowering them with information related to the ‘low-hanging fruit’ alternatives that must be pursued before embarking upon token or capital-intensive programs to reduce the Climate Change impacts of operational activities. The goal is to demonstrate the inherent alignment between economically prudent and environmentally imperative alternatives and debunk the myth that environmental responsibility reduces profits. If you would like your hotel to become more energy efficient or would like us to help you develop a energy efficiency or sustainability roadmap, please contact Vivek Gilani (Founder/Director of cBalance Solutions Hub) at




The original study can be read here.

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​September 8 John McLeod Read Comments

Carbon Footprint Report of Schneider Electric’s ‘Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013’ Event

Schneider Electric Pvt. Ltd. commissioned cBalance to prepare a report showcasing the total carbon footprint of ‘Xperience Efficiency Yatra-2013,’ an event held across 44 cities that demonstrated how new energy technologies can change our lives and was attended by 11,792 customers and 3,422 Schneider Electric employees. The greenhouse gases (GHG) inventory was calculated using the sample data of 11 cities provided by Schneider Electric and generalizing for all 44 cities and accounted for the three major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). It was calculated according to the standards laid down in the GHG Protocol.


GHG Protocol Standard

In the case of this report, the operational boundary for the GHG inventory was defined as:

Activity Scope of Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 GHG Emissions

Research Methodology

The research methodology consisted of the following steps:

  1. Design questionnaire
  2. Data collection
  3. Data verification
  4. GHG inventory calculations
  5. Daya analysis
  6. Reporting


Data was obtained through a questionnaire designed by cBalance and collected by the Schneider Electric Marcom team at two levels: central and venue.

  • Central level data came from the back office of the Marcom team and included information such as hotel accommodations, communication materials, and air, rail, and bus travel of Schneider Electric employees, etc. It was available for all the 44 city events and the GHG emissions of these activities are, thus, calculated for all of them.
  • Venue level data was collected at the venues with the hotel staff as respondents. A universally applicable sample of 11 cities’ data was analyzed at the venue level.

cBalance used Footprint Reporter (FPR) to calculate GHG emissions, with the Footprint Report Emission Factor Database (EFDB) used as background data.

Electricity consumption:

Electricity consumption was calculated by using the number of hours the floor space of the venue was used for the event, with predefined electricity usage per square meter for 3 star, 4 star, and 5 star facilities being used for the analysis. It’s assumed that each session is 4.5 hours long (3 for assembly and 1.5 for disantling) and that events take place for 15 days in a month with an average of 8 hours per event.

Air travel:

Air travel activity data was calculated by estimating average passenger-km per flight (modeling that single flight by short, medium, and long haul type in FPR) and multiplying the footprint of each flight type by the total quantity of landings/take-offs (including stopovers), including circling-inefficiency (for domestic travel), per flight type. Short haul distances are defined to be between 0 to 694.5 km, Medium Haul distances defined as 995 to 1,620.5 km, and Long Haul distances are defined as 1,621 to 2,778 kms.

City travel and intercity travel of attendees:

The intercity travel of the attendees was considered to be 10% of the total attendees, with the other 90% traveling within the city. It was calculated for all modes of transport using the same data of city and intercity travel and was then estimated for the grand total attendees for all the events.


Total overnight stay of employees of Schneider Electric in 3 star, 4 star, and 5 star facilities in different climatic zones (i.e. warm and humid, hot and dry, temperate) was computed and then modeled in FPR.

Food and Beverage:

It was assumed that every attendee consumed a liter of water at the event, and the emission per meal served was considered to be 0.855 kgCO2e.

Other activity data:

This included fuel consumption for diesel generator, heavy motor vehicles used in the logistics of the event, train and bus travel of Schneider Electric employees, and the total weight of recycled bags and brochures used.


Scope 1, 2, 3 GHG Emissions:

As shown by the table and chart below, Scope 3 emissions were the largest contributor, at 57.8%, and Scope 1 emissions were the second largest, at 28.8%.

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 GHG Emissions by Scope Table

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 GHG Emissions by Scope Pie Chart

Scope 1 GHG emissions:

Heavy motorized vehicles used for event logistics were far and away the largest source of Scope 1 emissions, as is evident from the table and chart below.

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 Scope 1 GHG Emissions Table

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 Scope 1 GHG Emissions Pie Chart

Scope 2 emissions:

As demonstrated by the following table, all Scope 2 emissions are the consequence of electricity use. In terms of total magnitude, these emissions have a relatively low impact on the total GHG emissions as the events are not energy intensive and do not rely upon electrically powered machines or processes. These emissions consist of both- electricity purchased and AT&C losses.

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 Scope 2 GHG Emissions Table

Scope 3 emissions:

The table and chart below make it clear that accommodation was the largest source of Scope 3 emissions, followed by intercity travel.

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 Scope 3 GHG Emissions Table

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 Scope 3 GHG Emissions Pie Chart

Activity category-wise emissions:

Breaking down the emissions by activity gives us a different perspective from which to view the event’s carbon footprint. Accommodation was the single largest contributor to activity category-wise emissions, with 31.4 % of total GHG emissions, followed by logistics (24.0%). Intercity travel and purchased electricity consumption were also significant, at 15.7% and 13.4%, respectively. The rest were rather minor contributors.

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 GHG Emissions Pie Chart Activity-wise Table

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 GHG Emissions Pie Chart Activity-wise Pie Chart


This illustrates the total Carbon Footprint Summary of all the 44 city events as well as an average representing that for each city event. Total GHG emissions for all 44 city events amount to 388.384 Tonnes of CO2e, while GHG emissions per city event are 8.827 Tonnes of CO2e.

Schneider Electric's Xperience Efficiency Yatra 2013 GHG Emissions Carbon Footprint Summary


The original study can be read here.

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​September 1 John McLeod Read Comments

CGH Earth’s Coconut Lagoon: Ecolabelling Report


The Coconut Lagoon Heritage Resort in Kumarakom, Kottayam district, Kerala commissioned the Green Signal to provide it with an ecolabel rating, which was determined to be 4 bars out of 5.


The ecolabelling process is based on these three areas of investigation, verification, and documentation: GHG inventory assessment of the hotel (with respect to energy, water, waste, mobility, and materials), the conservation practices (of materials, waste, water, and energy) within the hotel, and the sustainability initiatives promoted/operated by the hotel.


Consolidated Activity Data and GHG Inventorying – FY 2011-12

Total annual GHG emissions: 1210.9 MT CO2e/year

Total annual overnight stays for FY 2011-2012 is 10,138, and the GHG emissions per overnight stay (all emission scopes) is 119 kg C02e/overnight stay:


Coconut Lagoon Heritage Resort CO2 Emissions per Overnight Stay


Coconut Lagoon Heritage Resort Scope 1 CO2 Emissions

Coconut Lagoon Heritage Resort Scope 2 CO2 EmissionsCoconut Lagoon Heritage Resort Scope 3 CO2 Emissions


Only taking into account Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the GHG emissions per stay are 106 kg CO2e/overnight stay, meaning that Coconut Lagoon has lower GHG emission than 87% of 5 star hotels in the Warm & Humid Agro-Climatic Zone.


Positive Environmental Impacts

Waste Reduction and Management

Waste Reduction:

-Paper reductions – newspapers aren’t delivered to each room; rather there’s common reading material provided in congregation areas. Reusable cloth bags are used as bin liners in guest rooms.

-Plastic reductions – Use of plastic packing for supplies coming onto the property by vendors is prohibited (vendors are required to package material in reusable containers/jars). Bottled water suppliers are asked to take back empty PET bottles, and soap/shampoo containers are made from terracotta.

-Other – Organic paddy cultivates eliminates the use of fertilizer and pesticides and reduces water use.

Low Embodied Carbon/recycled materials:

-Recycled paper is used for all communication materials, guest amenities, and restaurant menus.

-The on-site school for the staff’s children is built from recycled PET bottles.

-90% of BUA is comped of re-assembled ‘Tharavad’ houses.

-All laundry detergent, soaps, and shampoos are biodegradable (so that wastewater treatment plants work properly). Organic pesticides are used rather than conventional ones.

Biodegradable/non-biodegradable waste:

-Cooking waste is processed by conversion into methane by a biogas plant.

-Dry leaves are composted in bamboo bins using slurry from from the biogas as a bio-catalyst, and the resulting compost is used for farming.

-Coconut husks and other organic materials not suitable for biogas processing are composted on-site and then used for farming.

-Non-biodegradable waste is segregated and sold to scrap dealers for recycling; near 100% recycling is achieved for the majority of waste categories.

-Paper waste is recycled for envelopes, and construction material refuse is used for the construction of walking pathways. Old cloth refuse and bed linen are donated to local orphanages.

Water related practices

-Wastewater is treated by a sewage treatment plant using Expanded Granular Sludge Bed Reactor (EGSBR) and filtration technology and the effluent is used for gardening purposes.

-Push-taps are installed in staff quarters and messes and guest bathrooms are equipped with dual-cistern flush systems reduce water consumption. Instead of a conventional lawn, an indigenous variety of Buffalo Grass is used that requires less water, curbs evaporation, and enhances groundwater recharge.

-Rainwater harvesting means that Coconut Lagoon’s operation during monsoon season is entirely water self-sufficient (additional water–2700 kilos–is sourced from tankers only during the summer months of March to June).

Energy related practices

Energy efficiency:

-Lighting is more efficient because CFL bulbs are used in the gardens, and LED and T5, T8 tubelight fixtures with electronic ballots are used elsewhere.

-HVAC – the use of 30 TR VRF systems account for 22% of the total tonnage, and 28 split-unit systems of 2.2 TR capacity have an EER greater than 2.92.

-Has naturally lit and naturally ventilated restaurants; all guest rooms and bathrooms are designed to maximize natural light and ventilation.

-Capacitor banks are installed to achieve power factor improvement; power saver technology is used in all 50 rooms.

Renewable Energy Practices

-A solar thermal network supplies the hot water requirement (13,000 liters per day) for 50 guest rooms and the kitchen.

-A 2kW Solar PV on one of the guest transport boats comprises 0.50% of total connected load.

-A biogas-run cooker, running on methane from the biogas plant with a calorific value equivalent to 17kgs of LPG a day, can cook 80 kgs of rice per day. Excess methane from the biogas plant and EGSB reactors not used for cooking purposes is used to power street lamps that would have a combined load of 500 watts under normal conditions.

Sustainability Practices

Food Procurement Practices

-59.47% of annual food procurement cost comes from within the state, and 0.46% annual food procurement is spent on organic food.

Economic, Social, and Environmental Development Practices

-80% of unskilled labor comes from the community, and cloth laundry bags, paper bags, envelopes from newspapers, and terracotta waste bins are all manufactured locally.

-Coconut Lagoon has adopted two local schools and financially supports their maintenance work, station, and study materials and resources.

-Waste bins are provided for the 180 families (1 per 10 families) in the village.

-Dry waste from community bins is collected weekly for recycling, and cloth bags are distributed in the local community every 3 months as part of a ‘Plastic Eradication Programme.’ CFL bulbs are distributed within the community as well for household use.

-Staff members lead monthly clean up drives and conduct periodic environmental education classes in adopted local schools (students also take field trips to study Coconut Lagoon’s green practices). Earth Hour awareness programs are also held within the local community, as are community tree plantation drives.

Engagement in Sustainable Tourism Initiatives

-Guests are encouraged to participate in biodiversity appreciation initiatives, and an in-house naturalist at the Interpretation Centre can educate them on the ecology of the region.

-Guests are also encourage to participate in the organic rice plantation and cultivation activities as well as the tree plantation initiatives in the surrounding area.

Biodiversity Preservation Initiatives

-Coconut Lagoon has a total of 1101 trees representing 90 different species on its property.

-It also has a butterfly garden with 17 different species and a fish sanctuary with 44 different species.

-Mangrove saplings have been planted along the waterside as an effort to restore rapidly disappearing mangroves as well as spread awareness about their importance to the community.



The original report can be read here.

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​August 25 John McLeod Read Comments

Transitioning to Natural Refrigerants in India



Air-conditioners use a refrigerant to cool air, and CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), and HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) were subsequently used for this purpose. HCFCs replaced CFCs because their ozone depletion potential was lower, but eventually they were in turn replaced by HFCs, which have zero ozone depletion potential. But now HFCs are being phased out due to their high global warming potential (GWP), and with the recent negotiations regarding the HFC phase-down amendment of the Montreal Protocol, alternatives to HFCs are all the more important. These natural refrigerants’ GWP is near zero and are non-patented and highly energy-efficient; thus, adopting them will reduce costs and maximize energy and emissions savings.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) classifies the refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector into the following sub-sectors:
• Stationary (domestic and commercial) air-conditioning
• Mobile air-conditioning (MAC)
• Commercial refrigeration
• Industrial refrigeration
• Transport refrigeration

Natural alternatives are available for almost all of the above sub-sectors, with the possible exception of mobile air-conditioning and transport refrigeration, and consist of propane (R290), isobutane (R600a), ammonia (R717), and carbon dioxide (R744).


Refrigerants' Global Warming Potential

Refrigerants’ Global Warming Potential


Research Objective


This study was conducted by CSE (Centre for Science and Environment) with the support of cBalance in order to determine the the current state of refrigerant use in the RAC sector in India and the role natural refrigerants can play, focusing on thee areas: the current scenario of refrigerant use in India, the projected refrigerant use by 2030, and the potential of natural refrigerants to replace fluorinated refrigerants during the HFC phase-down. The findings were obtained through the help of comprehensive reviews of available information, detailed market surveys and extensive expert interviews.


Current Scenario:


RAC Stock in 2015
The current stock of RAC equipment in India is estimated to be 125 million tons of refrigeration (TR). Stationary air conditioning (45 percent), mobile air-conditioning (16.5 percent), and domestic refrigeration (15.5 percent) account for almost 80 percent of India’s installed cooling capacity, as illustrated in Graph 1 below.


Installed Cooling Capacity in India in 2015

Sales in 2015
The current annual sales of RAC equipment in India are estimated to be 18.2 million TR. Sales in 2015 exhibit a similar pattern to the existing stock, with stationary air conditioning (44 percent), mobile air-conditioning (20 percent), and domestic refrigeration (13 percent) accounting for almost 80 percent of India’s added annual cooling capacity in 2015, as illustrated in Graph 2.


RAC Sector Sales in 2015


Refrigerant-wise classification of sales in 2015
HCFCs and HFCs account for 90 percent of the total sales in the RAC sector in India, with natural refrigerants accounting for the remaining 10 percent. In 2015, 44.26 per cent of RAC sales was based on HCFCs and 47.29 per cent was based on HFCs. Recently, the use of HCFCs has decreased in most sectors. HCFCs are most commonly used in residential air conditioning (60 percent) and commercial refrigeration (25 percent). The reduction in HCFC use has been accompanied by an increase in the use of HFCs. The highest HFC use is in the MAC sector (40 percent), followed by domestic (19 percent) and commercial (18 percent) refrigeration, as illustrated in Graph 3 below.


Sector-Wise Refrigerant Mix in 2015


Future Scenario:


Sales projections till 2030
India’s total installed cooling capacity is slated to increase five times to 610 million TR by 2030. As illustrated in Graph 4, the most significant increase in annual sales is projected for the domestic air-conditioning sector, amounting to an almost six-fold increase over the next 15 years. This will be driven by the rising standards of living in India along with the increase in temperatures caused by climate change. Mobile air conditioning and commercial air conditioning sectors are slated to a four-fold increase by 2030. Additionally, as per National Centre for Cold Chain Development, policies are being designed to increase use of cold storage, refrigerated vehicles, and pack houses in multiple folds in India. The requirement for cold chains is double the existing number and 6 times for refrigerated trucks, while around 70000 new pack houses are required.


Sales Projection 2015-2030


Refrigerant mix between 2015 and 2030
Sales of equipment using HFCs will increase by a factor of about seven and account for 75 per cent of total sales in terms of cooling capacity in a business-as-usual scenario. The sales of RAC equipment using natural refrigerants (mainly including R290, R600a, and R717), on the other hand, is slated to increase by more than a factor of 10 and account for 25 percent of total sales. This increase in natural refrigeration will be most prominently driven by the already mandated phase-out of HCFCs, as illustrated in Graph 5.


Refrigerant Mix Projection: 2015-2030


Potential of Naturals in India
The analysis shows that other than the MAC and transport refrigeration sectors, all other sectors can be converted to natural refrigerants with the help of currently available technologies. About 77 percent of the RAC sector, for example, can be converted to naturals by using currently available technologies, as illustrated in Table 1 below.


Potential of Natural Refrigerants in India

Potential direct GHG abatement with the help of a conversion to naturals
Prioritizing natural refrigerants will result in direct emissions saving in India of 50 million tonnes of CO2e per year by 2030. This accounts for more than 50 percent of the current emissions from HCFC and HFC use. The use of natural refrigerants with currently available technologies can make a significant reduction in emissions of high-GWP HFCs in India, as illustrated in Graph 6 below.


Potential GHG Reduction Through a Conversion to Natural Refrigerants


Way Forward


The analysis above demonstrates that India and other Article 5 countries have an opportunity to phase down a large portion on their HFC demand with the use of low-GWP, non-patented, natural refrigerants. Reaching this potential, however, will require enabling regulations, updated safety standards, and market incentives for first movers. The following actions can help India prioritize natural refrigerants in the HFC phase-down:


-Amending ISO 5149 – alter safety standards to facilitate wider use of R-290 (propane)

-Supplementing India’s energy efficiency enhancement initiatives – use of natural refrigerants increases energy efficiency, a goal the Indian government is trying to work toward through various initiatives

-Using flexibility to prioritize natural refrigerants – in the negotiations for an HFC phase-down amendment to the Montreal Protocol, parties have agreed on more flexibility in implementation of the agreed-upon phase-down schedule, which will help Article 5 countries cut costs while transitioning away from fluorinated refrigerants


The original report can be read here.

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​August 18 John McLeod Read Comments

Reducing Gits Foods’ Footprint

Although it has been around for a couple of decades, the life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool increasingly being used by businesses to measure the environmental impact of their operations, products, and decisions. The LCA is defined by the USEPA as “a ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach for assessing industrial systems…[that] evaluates all stages of a product’s life from the perspective that they are interdependent, meaning that one operation leads to the next.” In recent years, LCAs have been performed at the organizational level, but typically they are used for individual products and decisions. An LCA measures everything that goes into a product from its creation to its disposal, all of the inputs and processes used every step of the way from the manufacturing of the parts used in its assembly to the chemicals added in its production to the electricity consumed during its use. (Of course such measurements could continue infinitely, so the LCA practitioner defines the boundaries during the first stage of the LCA.) LCAs are sometimes used to evaluate the outcomes of two different choices in a product’s design, e.g. using cotton that is either knit or woven in manufacturing a T-shirt, and can be extremely useful for businesses or individuals who seek to minimize their ecological footprint.


Here cBalance used the LCA to compare the environmental impacts of different food products manufactured by Gits Food, a business established in 1963 that pioneered convenience processed food in India and was one of the first food product manufacturing companies in India to have obtained ISO 9001 – 2008 (Quality Standard) and ISO 22000 (Food safety). Already a leader in terms of quality and credentials, they are looking to incorporate the principles of sustainability into their operations. ‘Gulab Jamun’, ‘Khaman Dhokla’, ‘Idli,’ and ‘Dosai’ were the products chosen for this study, and the LCA only analyzed GHG emissions.




The scope of the study included the following life cycle stages of the products’ lives:


-Supply chain

-Upstream transport and distribution


-Travel and commute

-Downstream logistics

-Use of sold products

-End of life treatment


Hotspot Analysis:


The stage with far and away the greatest impact is the raw material acquisition stage, contributing, on average, 63% of total GHG emissions. In line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol classification, this stage also includes emissions from delivery of raw materials from suppliers and marine and road distribution for export, while ‘distribution and storage’ comprises road shipment from warehouses to retail outlets. Since raw materials have the biggest impact, efforts to reduce GHG emissions should focus on this area. The production stage contributed, on average, to 10% of the total GHG emissions, distribution and storage 0.7%, use of product 22.8%, end-of-life treatment 2.5%, and office footprint 0.5%. The average GHG emissions per packet of product was 648 grams, and the average GHG emissions per kilo of product was 2.53 kilograms.


Gits Food Carbon Footprint Life Cycle Assessment


Subsequent proposed steps:


-Internal training workshop to engage employees and the suppliers on issues related to sustainability and reduction of ecological footprint through sustainable operations and food sourcing practices

-Engage in smart consumer communication on the study, conveying on what can be done individually at home to reduce the footprint

-Industry-wide events to promote environmental awareness from food suppliers to manufacturers


Products’ Greenhouse Gas emissions:


Emissions per packet of product in grams of CO2e:

-594 Gulab Jamun

-620 Khaman Dhokl

-687 Dosai

-692 Idli




There are many ways that food companies can reduce their carbon (and overall ecological) footprint. Here are some recommendations:

-Switch to renewable energy supply

-Collaborate with milk farmers to implement energy efficiency measures at their farms

-Encourage consumers to use efficient cooking practices

-Switch to bio-derived fuel additives in vehicles

-Increase use of fuel-efficient vehicles

-The potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the four products is 2000 metric tons!


Potential CO2 Savings Gits Foods' Business Practices




Businesses can leverage product LCA outcomes in a number of ways. Most obviously, businesses can use these studies to reduce their carbon (and ecological) footprints through internal operational practices, collaboration with suppliers, and communication to customers. These studies can also be used to acknowledge a business’s eco-credentials through ecolabel certification schemes. And businesses can spread these messages across the industry through stakeholder events and workshops. Finally, under best-case circumstances, LCA data can be used to benchmark performance against other products domestically and internationally, providing customers with objective data on the environmental performance of the products they’re considering purchasing. LCAs can be extremely useful tools for organizations and individuals to reduce their environmental impacts, and hopefully they continue to become more widespread.


The original study can be read here.

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​August 11 John McLeod Read Comments