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IBM software 'greens' corporate supply chain

Corporations are getting nudged to create scorecards that measure the carbon footprint of their supply chain network, IBM says.

IBM is looking to clean up companies' supply chains, part of a larger effort to make money from environmental concerns.

The company on Thursday detailed a 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.


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.

Large corporations hold significant sway over their supply chain partners in pushing them to reduce waste or energy usage. Wal-Mart, for example, has pushed companies to revamp their packaging to reduce waste.

A corporation can look at different packaging or transportation options and measure energy usage of its suppliers. Using IBM's model, a company can then decide on what steps to take to lower the overall carbon emissions from the supply chain, IBM said.

The analytical software, developed by IBM researchers, 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.

IBM last year launched a Big Green Innovations initiative to find ways to make money in environment-related areas, such as water conservation or solar technology.