The Role of PLM in Tracking Carbon Footprint

In Part 1 of this series of posts from the PLM Green Global Alliance on the Role of PLM in Slowing Climate Change we identified four primary opportunities to employ Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in reducing, mitigating, or adapting to climate change from human-generated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, most importantly CO2. These four areas for using PLM strategies and solutions are in: developing Green Products, generating Green Energy, reducing Carbon Footprints, and adapting to Climate Change.

In this new Part 2 we will begin to examine one of those in more detail; the use of PLM-enabling technologies to collect, calculate, track, report, and most importantly reduce the carbon footprint of products and processes. This capability then enables a full and accurate accounting for the carbon footprint of individual companies, entire industries, and national economies that supply, produce or consume these products or services. It may very well prove to be the most important contribution of PLM by helping to lower emissions and slow climate change for the benefit of future generations to come.

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The Role of PLM in Slowing Climate Change – Part 1

This new series of posts by Klaus Brettschneider and Richard McFall, contributing members of the PLM Green Global Alliance (PGGA), will explore how Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) can be used to slow climate change by reducing human-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide and methane are the two most damaging GHG which are commonly reported on as CO2 equivalents, or CO2e, and are measured in billions of tons or gigatons. Carbon continues to build in the atmosphere due to human activities on the ground where it has now surpassed 410 ppm, nearly double that prior to the start of the industrial age. Since CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, a consensus is urgently building among climate scientists, elected officials, and NGOs like the International Energy Agency that the global economy must attain net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. This starts with a very challenging reduction of 50% by 2030, less than ten years away.

Image credit of NOAA at https://research.noaa.gov/

We begin our series by outlining the different roles and use cases that PLM can have in minimizing the carbon footprint – or “decarbonizing” – products, businesses, industries, and even entire economies. But first a brief level set on what PLM is and is not.

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The Decarbonization Journey by KPMG

Decarbonizing the economy seems overwhelming, but the KPMG white paper “The Decarbonization Journey” is a valuable resource for companies seeking to assess how to get started in the near term and developing their own long-term strategies.

The contributing author Michael Hayes, KPMG’s Global Climate Change and Decarbonization Leader, writes: “Creating a low-carbon economy over the next 30 years is going to be one of the greatest challenges ever faced by the human race – we will not succeed unless there is a total and complete focus on decarbonization across all economic sectors.”

Learn what the five pillars to net zero are by reading this report available for downloading from KPMG HERE.

Net Zero by 2050 from IEA

The International Energy Agency has published a new report “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector.”

The authors write in their introduction that “The number of countries announcing pledges to achieve net-zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow. But the pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.”

“This special report is the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth. It sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway, resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes in reaching net zero.”

The report may be downloaded HERE.