We offer unique competencies in regional supply-chain, environmental impacts, environmental lifecycle and environmental footprint analysis. We possess rich empirical data on hundreds of environmental variables and have extensive experience applying this data to an ecologic-economic modeling system. Our unique data and modeling capacity can, for example, be used to estimate the carbon footprint of any given sector in any given region in the United States. These footprints include not only the direct amount of carbon generated by the sector, but also include the carbon associate with the inputs purchased by the sector to make their output.
Carbon emissions that generate from any sector are a function of the direct emissions from the sector itself and from the indirect linkages of that sector to other sectors. For example, the carbon footprint of Idaho potato production is a function not only of the amount of carbon that farms emit during potato production; it also includes the carbon that was emitted when the fertilizer was produced that the potato producer applied to the fields. On top of that, the fertilizer plant had to truck in phosphorus from a mine across the country to generate its fertilizer and the phosphorus mine emitted carbon in its extraction process. The production of potatoes, therefore, generates more carbon than simply the amount that comes off their farm.
Tracking all this carbon is a difficult task that requires accounting for the carbon emitted at each step of production for both the final demand (potatoes) and for the inputs (fertilizer, etc.). One way to calculate the entire carbon footprint is to use an environmental input-output (EIO) model that can calculate all the ripple effects that occur in an economy and, therefore, all the carbon that is generated at each step in the production process. The Alward Institute has all the data and modeling methods available to assist you in creating customized models environmental impact and footprint models to inform your region and/or industry of interest.