Bibo Water commissioned Vivek Gilani of cBalance to conduct a GHG inventory of their operations. The results are displayed in this blog post.
The following tables lists activities that were mapped as part of the inventory project and their scope:
Life cycle Boundaries:
While many activities resulted in direct emissions (Scope 1), some resulted in indirect emissions through the generation of electricity (Scope 2), and the emissions caused by the production of goods used (Scope 3) must be included as well in a GHG inventory. The emissions of the latter group were calculated using the life cycle assessment.
Bibo Water’s physical and operational boundaries were mapped to develop a list of relevant stakeholders (internal process groups) and include their activities (i.e. direct emissions from within the boundary as well as the consumption of goods and services produced elsewhere) as part of the GHG inventory. These boundaries are summarized in the table below:
Resource Consumption Inventory:
Activity data was collected in order to record the consumption of resources for the months of December 2008, February 2009, and May 2009 and was then extrapolated linearly for an 12 month period.
GHG Inventory and Analysis:
A customized carbon ERP model was developed specifically for the project, and using the appropriate GHG emission factors, a GHG inventory was calculated. The following table summarizes the results:
The pie chart below categorizes the total carbon footprint by activity. Electricity consumption for plant production and administrative activities had by far the greatest impact, followed by emissions from distribution logistics and Scope 3 emissions from plastic use for product packaging.
The next pie chart breaks down the total carbon footprint by stakeholder (i.e. internal process groups in this project) contribution. The internal processes resulting in the greatest impact in terms of absolute magnitude (proportional to quantity of water production) were the production facility at Marvel, followed by Sangareddy and Vandana.
The GHG intensity of production across the various facilities and product lines was also analyzed. The results are displayed in the graph below. Retail production below 2 liter capacity bottles resulted in a significantly higher GHG intensity compared to the bulk production facilities/processes. Amongst the retail units, the Marvel 1 liter production line resulted in the lowest GHG intensity per liter (0.08 kg CO2e/liter) while the highest was the retail production of 300 ml bottles at Marvel. In terms of bulk production, the most efficient production unit was the 20 L production system at Sangareddy (0.005 kgCO2e/liter). The primary reason for the lower GHG intensity of retail vs. bulk units was the re-use of packaging in the case of bulk jars versus single-use PET bottles for retail packaging.
A corresponding trend, mirroring the trend of GHG intensity of Retail Production (below 2 liter capacity bottles) relative to the bulk production facilities/processes, was observed in the context of GHG intensity of logistics operations; logistics for retail units exhibited significantly greater GHG intensity compared to bulk units. The primary reason for the lower GHG intensity of logistics for retail vs. bulk logistics is the smaller network coverage (within the urban center) of the bulk operations relative to the state-wide logistics operations involved in the case of retail units. Furthermore, fuel efficiency of vehicle types used for the retail versus bulk lines had a significant impact on the consequent GHG intensity of logistics operations. The results are shown in the graph below.
The following two graphs show the carbon footprint of the different product lines broken down by activity group.
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:
-Upstream transport and distribution
-Travel and commute
-Use of sold products
-End of life treatment
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.
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
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!
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.