Upstream Impact Prioritization
for Green Purchasing

In an advanced industrial economy, many significant environmental impacts occur indirectly, in upstream supply chains. These slides present a method for categorizing, quantifying, and prioritizing indirect impacts by industry sector, and for identifying options to meaningfully address them. The presentation uses CEDA 4.0 data to visually profile upstream impacts and potential responses for three hypothetical institutional purchasers: a government agency, a technology company, and a food services company.


Client: Green Product Roundtable

Impact and spend profile for hypothetical government agency
Impact and spend profile for hypothetical food services company
Impact and spend profile for hypothetical technology company
For the technology company to reduce its upstream impacts, it would make sense to prioritize those purchasing categories contributing the most significant impacts.

Step 1. Reduce upstream impacts of electricity purchases through demand reduction, green energy certificates, and energy efficiency.
Step 2. Reduce upstream impacts of computer purchases through guidance from appropriate certification and recognition programs.
Step 3. Reduce upstream impacts of fuel purchases through prioritization of energy efficient vehicles.
The analysis of aggregated impacts per industry sector includes only those environmental impact categories for which weighting factors have been developed by NIST for the BEES software. Weighting factors have not been developed for a number of important impact categories (shown in grey), and these are therefore not included in the analysis.
CEDA 4.0 includes data on the additional impact categories, and their inclusion would be possible with the development of appropriate weighting factors.
The upstream impacts for each sector from which a purchaser buys goods and services is calculated by multiplying the sector's per dollar impact intensity by the total value of goods and services purchased from that sector.
In this case, the per-sector intensity of Global Warming Potential impacts (measured as a % of total Global Warming Potential impacts per $ billion)...
...is multiplied by the per-sector spending for a hypothetical government agency...
... to yield the total upstream
Global Warming Potential impacts of this government agency's purchasing per sector, measured as a percentage of total national impacts per $ billion.
This is redrawn as a conventional bar graph, with the total upstream Global Warming Potential impacts per purchasing category measured as a tenth of a percentage of total national
Global Warming Potential impacts.
Each purchaser's overall combined upstream impacts per purchasing category are calculated using the aggregated intensity of each sector across multiple impact categories, using weighting facto developed by NIST for the BEES software.
As noted previously, some significant impact categories are omitted from the analysis, because commonly accepted weighting factors have not been established by NIST.