Logistics and Supply Chain

Greenhouse gas emissions generated by transportation and packaging are contribution in the production chain. Transportation itself has a major share of all anthropogenic GHG emissions into the atmosphere. However for most chemicals, particularly for large volume chemicals, the fraction on the total carbon footprint is mostly small. It becomes larger for cradle ,to-grave footprints [ 19], The impact of transportation has been intensively investigated in the literature and the assessment approach is straightforward. The mode of transportation (road, water, rail or air) and the distance are taken into consideration for each raw material, precursor or product package. For liquids and gases, pipelines have the smallest carbon footprint, followed by ships, rail cars, and trucks. Many commercially available databases have a variety of transportation datasets available based on characteristics such as lorry size or locomotive engine type or the direction for river transportation for ships. Some logistic companies also provide their own information on the carbon footprints of their products.

With regard to packaging, raw materials need to be taken into consideration. The product packaging itself can or cannot be included depending on the scope. Like for raw materials, the carbon footprint of a package takes into consideration all emissions generated along its value chain. If material packaging and transportation are not separated there is a risk of lacking or double counting contributions.

In the case of reusable packaging such as pallets or intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), a rough assessment can be performed of the effort and resources required to account for reuse.

As a rule of thumb, approximations are applicable if the influence on the overall result is less than 5%. Otherwise the effort and resource requirements for transportation and packaging should be analyzed more detailed.

For the example it is assumed that rock salt is delivered by ship, distance 100 km. The impact of transportation by ship is very small. We use a rough estimation: transportation of 1 t rock salt by a fully loaded ship over 100 km means 0.0024 kg CO2e/kg rock salt. For comparison the impact of transportation by a full loaded lorry would be 0.0065 kg CO2e/kg rock salt.

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