Every product has an environmental "footprint" - the resources used and pollutants released over the life of the product. This includes a product's production, use and management at end of life. The "carbon footprint" is the most common type of footprint, but businesses are exploring other types of footprints as well, addressing issues such as the water used to make products, or the toxic chemicals released over their life.
The Board collorated with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the State of Washington and an advisory group of stakeholders from across Oregon and Washington to evaluate the potential benefits and challenges inherent in product-level environmental footprinting. Three projects emerged from this collaboration: Case studies, and analyses of food and concrete.
Businesses use product environmental footprinting to assess environmental conditions, identify opportunities for improvement, uncover business potential and communicate with customers. Case studies developed for the project include:
Food footprint documents are posted on the Oregon DEQ website. These studies summarize existing product footprinting literature regarding the environmental impacts of a variety of foods - some of which are produced in Oregon, and others not produced here but consumed in significant quantities in Oregon. This information may be helpful to producers and purchasers working to reduce environmental impacts of foods. To understand the context and parameters of this project, begin your exploration with the project Foreward.
There are several food study reports for tomatoes, wine, port, land-based acquaculture, beer, coffee and citrus fruits and juices. You will also find reports on transportation as well as packaging and wasted food.
Sign up for email updates on category-level product environmental footprinting of foods.
In partnership with the Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association, DEQ has made available to all concrete producers in Oregon a tool that allows them to calculate the carbon footprint of each of their different concrete mixes. The state of Oregon is also providing support for verifying these calculations so that they can be shared with customers in a format called an "environmental product declaration."