The logistics industry’s impact on climate change was the focus of discussion this week at visibility provider project44’s companywide town hall, which included a chat between project44 President and COO Vivek Kundra and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

“Visibility into every part of the supply chain is a critical step in measuring and reducing climate footprints,” said Gore, co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, a sustainable management firm that co-led project44’s $80 million funding round with A.P. Moller Holding in November. 

The former vice president began his remarks Tuesday by addressing his deep roots within the industry, commemorating his father’s work as a U.S. senator from Tennessee who championed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. It became one of the largest public works projects in U.S. history at the time, granting $25 billion to build over 41,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System.

“I remember the day his subcommittee voted to make the signs green on the interstate,” said Gore. “Now every time I see one of those ubiquitous green signs on our interstate highway system, I think about that vote.”

Emissions measurement

Gore spoke of his investment in project44, noting global corporations focusing on reducing their global footprint.

“Large corporations have been making ambitious promises to reduce their climate impact and at the end of last year, more than 4,000 companies, covering over a third of the global economy’s market cap, were setting science-based climate targets,” he explained to the crowd of project44 executives and staff.

Yet, he believes that even with these great intentions, these companies do not have the tools to accurately measure their supply chain’s emissions.

“You cannot manage what you cannot and don’t measure. … In other words, visibility into every part of the supply chain is a critical step in measuring and reducing your climate footprint. Project44 helps its customers with that crucial first step so they can build a more sustainable and resilient supply chain,” Gore said. 

Government policy

Although it is important to have companies agree that emissions need to be reduced, Gore seemed optimistic about global governance admitting to the need for emissions regulations.

“Last August, the United States passed the biggest and best climate legislation that any nation has ever passed in all of history,” said Gore. “There are a few things in it that I didn’t like, but for every ton of increased emissions, the experts predict from this bill, there are 28 tons of decreased emissions, and in a representative democracy where compromise is necessary to do big things, that’s a pretty good ratio of compromise.”

Related: 4 ways the Inflation Reduction Act could impact supply chains

He went on to explain that a month after that legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, passed, Australia voted in climate-friendly representatives who went on to pass similar legislation, followed by Brazil voting out its climate-denier government and voting in President Lula da Silva, who pledged to protect the Amazon. 

But with all of that positive momentum, the climate change crisis continues to worsen. 

“We’ve got all the solutions available to us that can cut emissions in half within this decade and we still have a shot at doing that. But we are still putting 162 million tons of man-made global warming pollution every single day into that little thin blue shell surrounding the planet. Each molecule lingers there on average for about 100 years and it traps as much extra heat now as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every day. That is why we are getting all of these crazy weather events and they are due to get worse.”

As shocking as those statistics are, Gore wrapped up his comments with a positive outlook based on the participation of supply chain managers across the globe.

“Once we get to a true net zero, the temperatures on Earth will stop going up. … It really is almost like we have a metaphorical switch we can throw and if we stay at a true net zero, half of all the man-made CO2 will fall out of the atmosphere in as little as 25 years. So we can do this and for those who doubt that we have the political will to follow through and actually do it, remember that political will is itself a renewable resource.”

Watch now: Project 44 and Lineage Logistics partner for a greener future

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