Despite rising concerns about the emission of greenhouse gases in manufacturing and distribution, few companies are actually modeling supply chain carbon footprints. A survey conducted by the consulting firm Accenture in late 2008 found that only 10 percent of the 245 supply chain executives polled in the global survey had actually conducted an assessment of their companies' carbon footprints. Companies regarded as "supply chain masters" because of their high performance in customer service and cost effectiveness were twice as likely as others to model their supply chains and implement sustainability initiatives. Nevertheless, the research found that more than one-third (37 percent) of the supply chain executives were unaware of the level of carbon emissions in their supply chain networks.
Most of the executives surveyed, however, reported that they were involved in environmental initiatives of some sort. The majority (86 percent) of respondents have undertaken at least one "green" project in their warehouses, predominantly in the areas of recycling and lighting. Thirty-eight percent said they also have made changes in their fleet operations, such as using green fuels or vehicles with hybrid engines.
Although more and more companies are taking steps to reduce carbon dioxide, they still don't have a clear picture or plan for those efforts. "Most (companies) are implementing carbon-reduction solutions without understanding their carbon footprint and are therefore unable to measure the real impact those solutions are having on their emissions," said Jonathan Wright, a senior executive in Accenture's Supply Chain Management practice, in a statement.