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Chain Reaction: Gravity Climate’s Jay Ruckelshaus on Leveraging Technology to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Chain Reaction is Sourcing Journal’s discussion series with industry executives to get their take on today’s logistics challenges and learn about ways their company is working to keep the flow of goods moving, efficiently and sustainably. Here, Jay Ruckelshaus, head of climate strategy at Gravity Climate—a software platform for supply chain carbon management—discusses how its reporting tools improve communication along complex supply chains while building more impact accountability into the process.

Jay Ruckelshaus, head of climate strategy, Gravity Climate

Name: Jay Ruckelshaus, PhD   

Title: Head of Climate Strategy 

Company: Gravity Climate 

What are some of Gravity Climate’s latest initiatives?

Gravity Climate helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint by measuring emissions and identifying cost-effective ways to decarbonize their supply chain and operations. We work with businesses that produce physical products, including metal manufacturers, building developers and more.

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One of our latest initiatives is our new partnership with Procore—a leading global provider of construction management software—to drive decarbonization in the construction industry.

We also announced a new initiative with Xometry—the leading marketplace for manufacturing on-demand—where we built a proprietary tool to give their customers product-level emissions data on every order. This helps procurement and sustainability teams measure Scope 3 emissions with greater ease and accuracy, and guide future product design considerations.

Which areas of logistics aren’t receiving the industry attention it deserves?  

Within the logistics industry, the impact of carbon emissions is not getting the attention it deserves, especially since transportation is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and consumers of logistic services look to operate sustainably. 

 What can brands do to reduce their emissions?

Brands can reduce their emissions by leveraging technology like Gravity Climate, which can help brands get a baseline of their carbon footprint, identify emissions hot spots across the supply chain, explore cost-effective ways to reduce emissions that make sense for the business and create reports that allow brands to gather stakeholder support.

When it comes to creating efficiencies, there are quick wins and longer plays. What are a few things your company is doing to help its partners succeed on both fronts?

For some background, textile production is responsible for emitting approximately 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. The full lifecycle of textiles accounts for nearly 7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Brands are also being impacted by climate change today. For example, agricultural inputs—like cotton—are already getting more expensive because crop production is less predictable due to climate change. This creates smaller margins that impact the bottom line.  

Short term, Gravity Climate gives brands a way to get a baseline of current emissions, identifying all the factors influencing their current carbon footprint, including electricity, gas consumption, transportation impact, etc. For many of our customers, there are quick-win reductions they can make with return on investment (ROI) to help galvanize stakeholder buy-in, such as energy efficiency measures.

Gravity Climate also helps companies identify areas to reduce costs and emissions that require longer-term planning. For example, in the fashion industry, we can identify low-carbon materials and innovative dyeing processes, as well as measures involving value chain partners. This helps brands strengthen their operations and makes them more resilient to both market pressures and climate risk.

What is your company doing to make the movement of goods more sustainable?  

We can make the movement of goods more sustainable by helping companies see the biggest emissions hot spots in their supply chain so that they can determine what to reduce. For example, sourcing local materials may increase production costs, but it also reduces transportation impacts in the long run while boosting supply chain resilience.

Are you optimistic about the state of supply chains in the next few years?  

We’re very optimistic about the state of supply chains in the future—especially when it comes to increasing visibility and creating technologies that help brands reduce carbon emissions.