One of the most-touted benefits of digital manufacturing is the ability to enhance sustainability efforts; a leading on-demand manufacturing company is upping its efforts to offset customers’ carbon footprint.
Supply Chain Carbon Footprint
We’re talking a lot about supply chain these days and, despite the new conditions we’re experiencing in 2020, it’s not wholly a new conversation. Shortening supply chains is a necessity as we weather the pandemic, with international shipping being in many cases impossible due to border closures intended to reduce the spread of the virus.
Even when those borders are open though, shortening supply chains is desirable as increasing focus is placed on ways to combat climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and overall reduce the carbon footprint of today’s established shipping practices.
Traditional supply chains tend to involve complex logistics with overseas shipping — whether by literal ship or by air, before carting cargo further by freight over land. It takes a lot to get a thing to a place, in simplest terms.
With digital manufacturing, production can be decentralized, inherently shortening supply chains. This in turn cuts down on the all-important carbon footprint of manufacturing in that particular case. But what if that carbon footprint could be not only reduced but offset in equivalence?
Xometry Carbon Footprint Offset
On-demand manufacturing powerhouse Xometry is turning its attention “to help limit carbon emissions and combat climate change,” as the company will now “provide its customers with an estimate of the carbon footprint of every order and offer the customer carbon credits to offset those emissions.”
Offsetting carbon emissions effectively compensates for the carbon footprint produced by funding an equivalent savings in carbon dioxide elsewhere. So while it doesn’t remove the carbon dioxide output of the activity, offsetting activities do balance the damage done in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
The announcement explains:
“Xometry has been offsetting carbon from its own operations since February 2020. Each time a package is shipped from Xometry or a Xometry Manufacturing Partner, Xometry works with Dot Neutral, an organization focused on connecting businesses with carbon emission offset initiatives, to invest in sponsoring a wind farm in Texas, minimizing the carbon footprint from shipping. This industry-leading program has already offset 1.4 million pounds of carbon since the program’s launch, limiting the environmental impact of Xometry’s shipped packages.”
Xometry’s carbon offset program is made possible through a partnership with Dot Neutral; CEO Randy Altschuler says that the partnership has “already offset enough carbon to charge 83.3 million smartphones.”
“We are excited to grow this program by offering our customers transparency about the total carbon footprint of their orders and give them the opportunity to offset it,” Altschuler added. “We will continue to look for even more ways to improve our environment while transforming custom manufacturing.”
It would certainly be helpful if all manufacturing companies — especially globally networked manufacturing services — were to implement such a program. One step at a time, though, for all such efforts. And Xometry’s step is a pretty big one, as the company describes itself as “the largest marketplace for custom manufacturing.” Their global network encompasses some 5,000+ partner manufacturing facilities.
That’s a lot of opportunity for one company’s sustainability effort.