Carbon footprinting of large product portfolios. Extending the use of Enterprise Resource Planning systems to carbon information management

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A number of global brands have committed to reducing carbon emissions and the footprint of their products by certain amounts. Attaining these goals requires that decision makers have timely and detailed carbon information across their product portfolios, and along their production processes and supply chains. However, the number of product carbon footprints in a company is typically limited since it is normally not backed up by an information system for regular carbon data collection and management. Due to their wide availability, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems represent one promising approach to managing and using carbon information. This research sheds light on the requirements of a comprehensive carbon information management system and discusses the contribution of ERP systems to carbon information management for large product portfolios. To approach the issue, a qualitative analysis of key challenges is conducted based on a case study in a multinational food company. The empirically-supported results provide evidence that large-scale carbon information management covering large product portfolios can be feasible. Feasibility is achieved by re-using existing information assets, thereby increasing the timeliness and accuracy of data and reducing the cost of carbon information generation and use. The paper thus identifies and discusses a set of implications in scaling product carbon footprinting across a company's entire product portfolio by means of ERP systems. The findings propose how the use of ERP systems in carbon information management can improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of carbon footprinting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Pages (from-to)1267-1275
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2016