Co2 Minimization: Reducing Before Neutralizing

Minimizing the Co2 emissions from product sourcing is a key aspect of the Source For Future supply chain model. By building an effective sourcing model and continuously finding ways to reduce Co2 in both raw material use, production and transportation, we are striving for a Co2 minimized supply chain.


Next to the pressing issue of a more hostile climate, and loss of both ecosystems and species as a result of climate change. There is also a social issue that has to be a part of the discussion. Extreme weather events as a result of climate change are inevitable. And marginalized groups are posed to be hit by natural disasters whilst also having fewer resources to cope with the damage. Building resilience is essential to mitigate natural disasters. The founder of Source For Future, Fredrik Kondrup, wrote his master thesis in Economics on the effect of trade on natural disaster mitigation. He found that trade, when done right, can strengthen vulnerable groups and makes them better able to deal with extreme weather.



Raw materials

Raw material cultivation and transportation are often foreseen when considering Co2 emissions of a product. For this reason, a soap bar made in Europe with ingredients from India is often viewed as having a lower Co2 footprint than a soap bar made in India using local raw materials and then transported to Europe.


But the truth is that the soap bar made in Europe is likely linked to more Co2 emissions than the one transported to Europe after being made close to the main raw materials. The heightened Co2 can come from the fact that commodities are often transported between several locations before landing at the producer's location. In addition, the commodity trade of raw materials is resulting in a lack of rural development and increasing poverty in many places around the world. These communities are often left with a minimal part of the value of the final product, and often not even enough for the livelihoods.


Transportation of raw materials is however a small part of a product Co2 emissions. However, raw material choice does very much matter. Using raw materials that in their cultivation and processing release less Co2 emissions one can considerably reduce a products Co2 emissions. In addition, raw material choice has a large impact in terms of water conservation, soil degradation, chemical pollution, forest areas and wildlife. Some raw materials have a very low, and sometimes even negative Co2 output, as Co2 is stored in the material. This is true for jute and hemp, and the same effect comes when up-cycling using waste materials.


We assess each main raw material based on various environmental and social factors such as Co2 emissions, water use, soil degradation, farming practices, processing practices and more. We strive to get the main raw materials in the products we source from within the country of production and often in the very same area as the production itself. This means lower Co2 emissions from raw material transportation. We also try our best to support independent farmers rather than plantations, meaning lesser cultivation areas. Hence, lesser disturbance of the soil and vegetation means a higher Co2 capture as a whole.


You also have a choice when you source from us. We know price is an important factor, so in some cases, we will present different variations of a product using different raw materials. You can then evaluate what ones will be the best choice knowing your customers, their price sensitivity and demands. Regardless of the choice, it's always better to do some than to be perfect.


Production

We work with many production units that use traditional hand methods, run on renewable energy, or use technology that makes a process effective in a way that reduces Co2 directly or indirectly.


Handmade products mean reduced Co2 emissions, while also creating more job opportunities and increasing quality and uniqueness.


Packaging

Avoiding plastic and using recycled materials is a great way to reduce Co2 emissions in the packaging of your products. Plastic most often comes from petroleum and binds the polymers that make it up. It is energy-dependent whatever source it comes from. Furthermore, plastic is often transported around several factories before becoming a product. After its use, the waste transportation and management of plastic is itself a Co2 dependent process, be it if it gets burnt, dumped in landfills, or recycled.


Recycling paper is not only quite easy, but it can also be quite a low energy activity, and as long as the water for the process is used responsibly, it can


The best way to reduce Co2 emissions from packaging is by opting for paper made from agricultural waste. Paper can be made of many different materials, it does not have to be timber. Everything from banana leaves, to twigs, corn husk, coffee bean peel, and even elephant poo can be used to make paper. Hemp is also a great Co2 minimal paper option.


We have consolidated various packaging and labeling solutions that are free from plastic, and materials low in Co2 emissions. We can package and label your products for you as a part of our supply chain. This reduced the amount of transportation and effective the process of preparing your product, resulting in both lower Co2 emissions and costs.


Transportation

Transportation is as long as products are transported by sea, not the most important factor in a products Co2 emissions. Even though this does get a lot of focus, especially by those that want to promote locally made products.


The most important part when reducing Co2 emissions in the transportation of a product is to make sure it's not transported by air. Air Freight usually emits more than 10 times as much Co2 emissions as sea freight. We always ship our products by sea even though it takes a longer time.


In addition, we also strive to minimize Co2 emissions as much as possible by actively choosing local main raw materials and by consolidating products into larger shipments. Our hub enables us to join orders of various buyers into consolidated shipments, including our own brand products.


After choosing the right freight method, the most Co2 emitting part of transportation is most often what's called the extra mile, which is when only a few products are delivered to the consumer's doorstep. It's therefore important that the final seller and the consumers agree on solutions where the products are delivered in a Co2 effective way. For example by delivering the products with the postal service alongside the normal mail distribution, or by delivering the package to a local mail center rather than to the doorstep of the buyer.


We estimate the Co2 emissions from each product we source, and we neutralize what we cannot currently reduce. Read more about that here.



Our commitment

By focusing on Co2 minimization in the whole supply chain, from main raw materials to production, packaging/labeling and transportation we are making a conscious effort to reduce Co2 levels. This is a continuous process. It's impossible to be perfect, yet a lot can be done to reduce emissions.


By sourcing products in a way that helps reduce product Co2 emissions, and making sure that the raw materials and production methods do not harm the natural world, we can start supporting the eco-systems rather than hurting them. At the same time, there is a crucial need to contribute to strengthening people that are the most vulnerable to climate change. We believe that the solutions to our times biggest climate challenge come through international collaboration, that business and trade has to be an essential part of the change. In addition, since extreme climate events are inevitable at this point, the solutions at the same time contribute to strengthening vulnerable people and society so they can better withstand the changes.