Davos, Switzerland — Rocky Mountain Institute, MIT Sustainable Supply Chains, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines announced the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency (COMET). This effort aims to build a standard method for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in materials, an important step in decarbonizing mineral and industrial supply chains. The COMET Method will provide insight into the carbon content of consumer products like cars, buildings, and phones, and will help both corporations and consumers purchase materials and products with fewer embedded CO2 emissions.
“We all know that you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” said Paolo Natali, director of the Materials Initiative at Rocky Mountain Institute. “Until people know the climate impact of the products they’re using, it will be impossible for them to demand lower-carbon goods, and it will be impossible to decarbonize the industrial sectors that are responsible for 40 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions.”
While climate disclosure is increasing, it remains a challenge to compare greenhouse gas emissions across companies and supply chains. Although methods like life-cycle analysis and environmental product declarations exist, there is currently no consistency in data collection or reporting across methods, and no framework that spans the entire supply chain. This means there is currently no universally accepted way to know the emissions intensity of products or materials.
The COMET Method will change that by making GHG disclosure comparable across the existing reporting mechanisms. Additionally, the COMET Method will provide a foundation for integrating environmental reporting metrics, support and enhance existing initiatives for sustainable production, and ultimately develop a clear picture of emissions from the production of key materials like steel, copper, and cement.
“Our ultimate goal is transparency of climate impacts across the supply chain,” said Suzanne Greene, program manager for MIT Sustainable Supply Chains. “An emissions calculation method for mineral and industrial supply chains is an important first step for consumers and investors to understand and drive the decarbonization of the goods we use every day.”
COMET will initially focus on developing sector-specific guidance for metals and minerals, following the template of successful collaborative carbon accounting initiatives for freight transportation (the Global Logistics Emissions Council [GLEC] Framework) and information and communication technology products (ICT Sector Guidance).