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Carbon handprint - a positive indicator!

Background and motivation

Sustainability  assessment  methods  based  on  life  cycle  thinking  are  commonly  applied  to  measure sustainability impacts of goods, services and organizations. However, most of the established assessment methods,  such as LCA,  carbon footprint  and  water footprint  are focused on  measuring  pollution  and resource use, and as such,  have  a  negative  point  of  view.  To  encourage  companies  and  consumers in transition  towards  more  sustainable practices, methods  for  positive  sustainability  assessment are needed.  

These  methods  are  especially  important  for  forerunner  companies,  who  need  means  for communicating about the positive impacts of their actions and potential innovations. Measuring positive contribution towards sustainability would be useful also for SME's and start up's focusing  their business around environmental innovations. All actors along the supply chain could be motivated to improve their performance if there were an indicator to measure the good they could do.

Handprint is  a  new concept  that  has  been  proposed  as  a  measurement  of  "a net positive action and beneficial  environmental and  social impacts".  At  the moment, only a few examples of handprint related studies can be found globally, and there is a need to develop common calculation principles and guidelines which are based on scientific  methods  and  principles.  To avoid greenwashing the handprint calculation principles will be founded on life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment addressing the full value chain of a product.