Product environmental impact analysis by carbon footprint is a highly recognized research method to quantitatively evaluate carbon emission intensity of industrial products. In addition to the traditional carbon footprint method, researchers have recently proposed a carbon handprint method. This method is driven by the concept of describing the positive impact of products on climate. However, the handprint method has not been applied to industrial scenarios. The guidance of this method for industrial enterprises’ emission reduction plans is not clear. The essence of handprint is to reduce the footprint. This paper proposes an enhanced evaluation method of product carbon handprint. We compare footprint and handprint methods by considering the improvement of production process. We consider both the reduction of footprint in the sense of life-cycle analysis and the positive impact of reducing the footprint of downstream customers. A plasticizer production enterprise in Zhejiang province is taken as an example. This paper establishes four carbon emission reduction methods of such enterprises and makes a quantitative comparison between footprint and handprint. The comparison results show that the input raw materials account for a high proportion of carbon emissions in both methods. However, in the scope of handprint, plasticizer manufacturers could produce modified plasticizers to generate carbon handprint and reduce GHG emissions for downstream customers. The reduction effect of plasticizer on carbon handprint of polyvinyl chloride customers reached 0.983 tCO2-eq/t, twice as much as the reduction of carbon footprint in the manufacturer. Our work shows that handprint method is a more systematic method.
Keywords carbon handprint, carbon footprint, life cycle assessment, chemical system, emission reduction