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Product Carbon Footprint

With the EU climate targets, more and more companies are focusing on their own emissions and a possible climate neutrality of business operations. The calculation of the product carbon footprint (PCF) is a major factor in this context as it summarizes all emissions along the value chain which are related to the product.  

What is the PCF?

When calculating the PCF, all CO2-emissions generated by the product along the value chain, from raw materials through packaging all the way to disposal, are recorded. This method of assessing the complete life cycle is also called "cradle-to-grave". Whereas a partial calculation of the PCF, namely "cradle-to-gate", includes all processes from the extraction of resources (cradle) to the product leaving the company gate (gate).  

The cradle-to-gate approach (scope) is currently most commonly used for products whose place of use, duration of use, or, for example, end-of-life treatment is not known once the product reaches the outbound gate ready for sale.  

To enable a comprehensive and representative result, not only CO2-emissions are recorded, but also CO2-equivalents of other climate-damaging gases such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are included in the calculation. 

Why calculate the PCF? 

Recording the PCF enables a holistic understanding of a product's impact on the environment. This allows for the identification and analysis of which phases of the value chain are particularly impactful and thus determines the next course of action to reduce emissions. Furthermore, it creates transparency for customers who are environmentally conscious in their purchasing decisions. 

How does FUCHS calculate the PCF?

 

As part of the FUCHS2025 strategy, we are continuously working to further reduce our emissions. Already in 2020, all FUCHS production sites became gate-to-gate CO2-neutral1. This was extended to all affiliates and joint ventures in 2021. By 2025, this will be expanded to global cradle-to-gate CO2-neutrality2

 

Methodology

In order to support this development with data and make it transparent, FUCHS has published its own methodology for partial PCF calculation (cradle-to-gate). The methodology is based on ISO 14067:2018, which is the most common and accepted standard on PCF methodology.  

The "cradle-to-gate" scope and thus the resulting PCF include all greenhouse gas emissions from our upstream supply chain (cradle-to-FUCHS-inbound-gate), as well as the emissions at FUCHS (gate-to-gate). The emissions taken into account are defined according to the known Scopes 1-3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) (see graphic above). Since FUCHS calculates a partial PCF in the scope cradle-to-gate, any emissions from the downstream supply chain (downstream scope 3) are not included. 

The methodology furthermore aims to create transparency for our customers on the one hand by publishing how FUCHS calculates the footprint of its products. On the other hand, it is intended to serve as a technical guide for our suppliers. The resulting standardized calculation allows for the comparability of the data provided and the calculation of a meaningful PCF for FUCHS products. After all, only if the input data for the raw materials used have been uniformly calculated and delimited can they be used to calculate a representative PCF.  

Compensation is not included when calculating the FUCHS-PCF. 

Why is FUCHS developing its own methodology when there are standards such as ISO 14067?  

Recognized standards such as ISO 14067 are generally valid and provide the framework for calculating PCFs. However, these standards have a comprehensive claim to validity, which means that they must be applicable to a wide variety of products from very different and sometimes highly complex value chains. Therefore, these general standards can't provide detailed instructions for example for lubricants. In these cases, it is necessary to specify how the standard is to be applied to lubricants. To this end, the following specifications must be made:   

  • What is the objective of the calculation? 

  • What is included in the calculation system, what is not? 

  • In the case of raw materials, some of which originate from compound processes, how are the resulting emissions allocated to the large number of products that are created in parallel in the process?  

In order to uniformly address these complex issues, the standard also provides for so-called "sector-specific" standards. These provide standardized rules on how the general standard is to be applied in a very specific production sector. However, there is no sector-specific standard for lubricants at the moment. Which is why FUCHS is actively involved in national and European associations to develop a corresponding sector-specific standard that will be accepted and applied equally by the entire lubricant industry, its upstream suppliers, and its customers. 

Until this standard is established, FUCHS needs its own transparent definition of how PCFs are to be calculated at FUCHS in the meantime. With the methodology, such a definition is made available to all FUCHS business partners. 

Are there already PCFs available for all FUCHS Products? 

With the publication of the methodology, FUCHS has taken an important step in defining the procedure and, particularly, in showing our suppliers the format in which we require data from them (so-called primary data). We are working closely with our key suppliers to obtain primary data from them for all raw materials in accordance with our methodology. Only once we have received the relevant data from all suppliers for a product, we can calculate a PCF for the product. Widespread availability of PCF data will therefore still require intensive preparations. 

Generally calculated values from third parties, so-called secondary data, are only to be used in exceptional cases when calculating the PCF. For this purpose, FUCHS works with partners who can calculate secondary data with the knowledge of the process used, the regional influences and the origin of the raw materials. 

METHODOLOGY FOR PRODUCT CARBON FOOTPRINT CALCULATION
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