Cool it! Supply Chain’s Carbon Footprint Quantified

Blog - Truck pollution3According to the Carbon Footprint Calculator found under the “Fleet Tools” drop-down menu at Fleet News in the UK, there is 11.91 Kg of CO2 created with every gallon of diesel burned. If that figure is accurate then let’s apply it to the number of miles traveled by the US fleet. According to Business Insider a single class 8 tractor/trailer at an average speed of 55 MPH uses 6.8 gallons of fuel per hour and averages 8 miles per gallon. In 2013 the total distance traveled in highway miles alone was 93,512,000,000 miles. That’s equal to 256,197,260 miles per day or 2,965 miles per second. To put those miles into further perspective, that’s the equivalent of 3,755,351 trips around the world or 195,713 trips to the moon! To add more gargantuan numbers to the list, the industry used 52,300,000,000 gallons of diesel racking up those miles. Those are big numbers to say the least!

So, if we multiply the miles driven in the year by the kilograms of CO2 produced we end up with 622,893,000,000 Kg of CO2 per year. Since there’s 2.2 pounds in a kilogram and 2,000 pounds in a ton that’s equivalent to 1,510,568,521 “tons” of CO2 per year or 3,356,440 “tons” of CO2 per day or 38.85 “tons” of CO2 per second and that’s just in the US!

Blog - India Air pollutionTransportation is the second highest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) behind energy production and includes other categories like cars, buses, etc. Now, I don’t like to pick on the Supply Chain because I’ve been in it for years but, with numbers like this, it makes me wonder what it’s going to take to put a stop to the climate change that we’ve been experiencing for the last 50 years.

I named this blog “circular supply chains” to try to describe its purpose of getting the word out on the Circular Economy. This concept is best described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit that is dedicated to accelerating the transition towards a Circular Economy. They have some major sponsors that recognize not just the environmental benefits but, also the financial benefits of this transition and I think they’re wise in their choice of this strategy.

There are some multinational players that lobby against any action to address climate change and who can blame them really? If my bread and butter came from say, energy production, then I would probably be at odds with anyone promoting the need to change for the sake of our environment too. Money speaks volumes among most humans and, if you have to answer to shareholders and your paycheck depends on it, then I might be inclined to fight it myself but, at what price?

Blog - Trucks at shipyardI wrote in a previous post about the “Tipping Point” towards a reversal in our behavior towards sustainable business practices and it addresses the same problem from a different perspective. At what point does big business recognize the value of sustainability over the value of a dollar? Are financial incentives the only “carrot” available to get them to recognize the value of a strategy that is geared towards limiting the effects of climate change?

I don’t write this blog to advertise but, the transportation sector is huge and we need solutions that are equally big enough to confront the aforementioned numbers. If you’re reading this blog then take a moment to also view our solution on our site at Watch the video and check out the drop-down menus to find out how you can help. By eliminating empty back hauls and partial loads we could cut GHG emissions dramatically! By replacing wooden pallets with our recycled aluminum “modules” we could also save countless trees as I outline in this post. We tried to raise funds through a crowdfunding campaign because corporate sponsors always want exclusive rights to our system to keep it from their competition but, we’re developing it to better the world not just one company.

The global supply chain offers an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference but, it has to be a collaborative effort because the hardest part of any new venture is taking the first step. 38.85 “tons” of CO2 per second? What are we thinking?

Take the first step and start a conversation about this post, this blog or our proposed solution. That might be a good first step towards us all collaborating on this problem!

“The greatest threat to out planet is the belief that someone else will save it” ~ Robert Shaw


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