Jason says: ‘Sustainability Bigots — Lies, Damn Lies and Green Statistics.’ Err, What?

Jason Busch from Spend Matters has written another barmy blog post on sustainability. Last year it was about the perceived futility of African sourcing. Today’s post is about – well I’m not sure what its about exactly. I had to read it a few times. I tried to leave  a comment but Jason’s comment security feature defeated me (and on two computers no less). So hoping this will link back.

Let me deal w a few select quotes:

we personally think the notion of measuring — and comparing — carbon footprints across companies and regions is absolutely absurd given that we’re currently only looking at a partial picture of actual carbon emission.’

But industry has a methodology  for complete life cycle analysis known as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This lays out a process for emissions accounting throughout the value chain from supply chain to  production to use to disposal.

Perhaps a factory powered by a nasty coal belching Mao-era plant in China might lead to a greener total product — provided its employees are kept from making a decent income — than a completely green plant powered by wind in the west (or China, for that matter) whose employees make a better living.’

But really, is that the choice for developing economies, produce in poverty or become prosperous in pollution? First – many are working hard to invest in smart technologies to conserve the energy we already have and to find new renewable sources of energy. Yes, developing markets are energy hungry and yes sustainability is also about social and economic development. That is why it is generally recognised that the developed world needs to reduce more CO2 and faster and that the developing world should have a little more slack to develop their economies.

Jason thinks that surveys and benchmarks on the environmental comparability of electronic goods such as his Apple computer are not helpful and signify little. Personally I don’t think we have half enough studies on the carbon composition in our everyday consumption. Also – you should know that recently the ‘loonies’ at Greenpeace have been quite encouraging of Apple’s efforts.

Come on Jason, supply chain sustainability is a really important matter whether human rights screening or environmental performance. It would be great to see you turn your considerable expertise to attend seriously to these problems. This can save procurement departments money and reduce risk overall in the business network.

As an aside, please do visit my main perch these days on ZDNet. This week I blogged IBM, Oracle, Google, SAP and general tech industry supply chain human rights issues.

3 responses to “Jason says: ‘Sustainability Bigots — Lies, Damn Lies and Green Statistics.’ Err, What?

  1. I fully agree with measuring carbon footprints. If we have no measure, we would never know where we are or how to improve.

    Think about driving through a 25 MPH school zone with a speedometer that says you are going ?? MPH. You would land yourself with a ticket, while the officer will be glad to let you know how fast you were going. Now realize with carbon footprints, our planet is the officer.

    A stern voice from a cop may not be the highlight of your day, but I don’t think mother nature uses words.

  2. Or imagine being fined 1000-00 pounds for dropping a cigarette end when your neighbour is tipping toxic waste into the street.The amount of money being spent on quangoes and study in a country that still has child poverty and people dying for lack of drugs is wrong.If GB reduced its energy use to 00zero the net effect would be less than 1% in world wide terms.

  3. I’m note sure I see the connection to a libertarian position. Climate change is an imposition and I’m afraid the community has to decide to deal with it or not. On an embedded carbon basis I’m sure UK consumers consume a lot more than 1% from goods manufactired abroad. Climate change is also related to poverty and it will create more poverty from not dealing with it than dealing with it.

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