Chapter 4: Implementing Decarbonization Strategies

[Implementing Decarbonization Strategies] Decarbonizing Operations

September 7, 2023
September 8, 2023
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Lesson Overview

This lesson explores the concept of decarbonizing operations, covering strategies such as energy transition and efficiency, transportation and logistics improvements, embracing a closed-loop economy, and engaging with the supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within an organization's operational activities and value chain.

Decarbonizing operations refers to reducing or eliminating GHG emissions associated with the operations, activities, and value chain of an organization. It involves implementing strategies and adopting measures to transition to a low-carbon or carbon-neutral state. 

decarbonizing operations

Energy Transition and Efficiency

Energy transition involves shifting away from fossil fuel-based energy sources and shifting to renewable energy sources. 

  • Installing renewable energy systems on-site
  • Entering into power purchase agreements with renewable energy providers 

Energy efficiency includes minimizing energy consumption and reducing any associated emissions for buildings, facilities, and other related operations while performing the same task or producing the same result. 

  • Use of energy-efficient technology
  • Identifying gaps in energy efficiency through audits
  • Optimizing equipment use

As discussed earlier in Module 3 Lesson 5: Creating a Decarbonization Roadmap, Quadial Inc. can act on these strategies by executing energy efficiency improvements, deployment of renewable energy, and changing to low-carbon fuels. 

Transportation and Logistics

Similarly, transportation and logistics are also included when considering operational decarbonization due to their relative feasibility and straightforwardness.

  • Reducing emissions from transportation activities
  • Adopting energy-efficient vehicles or electric fleets
  • Promoting telework options
  • Encouraging employees to use public transportation or carpooling

Closed-Loop Economy

Another important aspect of operational decarbonization is understanding what a closed-loop economy is. Embracing a circular economy minimizes waste and promotes resource efficiency. This includes strategies like reducing, reusing, recycling, and refurbishing products, as well as adopting sustainable waste management practices. 

According to the Department of Energy’s 2023 report on “Sustainable Manufacturing and the Circular Economy,” there are 10 different strategies that make up a circular economy. The following strategies, referred to as “Re-X,” can be found on page 9 of the document.

circular economy

Organizations like Quadial Inc. can be mindful of these circular economy strategies as they continue tuning and refining their decarbonization journey. 

Supply Chain Engagement

Lastly, organizations can decarbonize their operations through broader collaboration with their supply chain. Engaging with suppliers, vendors, and partners must begin from the ground level. Organizations can put pressure and influence on supply chains by prioritizing working with suppliers and vendors who show initiative and drive to reduce their carbon footprints. 

  • Focusing on suppliers and vendors who have adopted cleaner operational processes
  • Sharing emission reduction targets with supply chain participants
  • Promoting sustainable materials sourcing

Continue reading in the next lesson to deep dive into value chain decarbonization.

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