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International

New Initiative launched at Davos to Decarbonize Mineral and Industrial Supply Chains

The COMET Method will provide an important first step in decarbonizing industry by giving insight into the CO2 emissions from the production of key materials like steel, copper, and cement.

Davos, Switzerland, 22 January 2020—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 today 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).

RMI would like to invite companies and financiers active in the manufacturing and mining sectors to join us by becoming a founding member. For more information, contact Paolo Natali (pnatali@rmi.org) or Kathy Wight (kwight@rmi.org), or visit www.rmi.org/comet

Media inquiries please contact:

Nick Steel, New York
Tel: +1 347-574-0887
Email: nsteel@rmi.org

About Rocky Mountain Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

About MIT Sustainable Supply Chains

Founded in 1973, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL) is a dynamic solutions-oriented environment where students, faculty, and industry leaders pool their knowledge and experience to advance supply chain education and research. CTL believes that supply chains can be used as a tool for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, and launched the Sustainable Supply Chains (SSC) initiative to advance research on sustainability within supply chains.

About the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is the only university-based applied research center and forum dedicated to the study, practice and discussion of sustainable international investment. Our mission is to develop practical approaches for governments, investors, communities and other stakeholders to maximize the benefits of international investment for sustainable development.

About the Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines

Located at one of the country’s finest technical universities, the Payne Institute for Public Policy connects the cutting-edge research at the Colorado School of Mines to a broad audience of decision-makers. The Institute provides high-quality, data-driven, solutions-oriented research and dialogue to help inform and shape public policy on earth resources, energy, and environment.