IBM Unveils Emissions Analyzer

IBM Corp. announced details of its software and service offering called Carbon Tradeoff Modeler that is designed to give businesses an idea how to lower the carbon footprint of their network of suppliers.

“One action causes unintended consequences. You have to weigh all of that and this tool helps measure all those different variables,” said Michael Maloney, IBM Media Relations.

Shipping less frequently, according to IBM Research, typically reduces transportation costs and carbon emissions, but increases inventory costs and carbon related to warehousing. Wal-Mart, for instance, has pushed companies to revamp their packaging to reduce waste.

The need for carbon-modeling supply chain software is driven by regulations to lower greenhouse gas emissions, IBM said. Even in the absence of mandatory measurements and cuts, many companies are already undergoing voluntary efforts.

Working with IBM, companies can plug in data on their operations, then model different variables to see the results of different actions. The Carbon Tradeoff Modeler uses information on packaging options, alternative operational processes, alternative transportation modes and energy sources, inventory policies, and sourcing policies to identify what actions can be taken to reduce emissions.

The analytical software is meant to be used as part of a consulting engagement. IBM has been using the software internally for some of its operations as well as an unnamed client.