Published 5 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
By generating carbon-intensity data for each product, CoClear was able to identify industry trends, as well as track product performance improvements along value chains.
A pioneering, interactive data visualization depicting the life cycle analysis
(LCA) of hundreds of commercial and consumer products has been developed by
sustainability consultancy CoClear, Inc. The data underlying this
groundbreaking tool — called the Carbon
Catalogue — represents the detailed product
submissions made by companies to
between 2013 and 2017 as part of their 'Supply Chain Climate Change Information
This comprehensive data is drawn from 145 companies from 28 countries,
representing 30 global GICS industry groups and totaling 866 products.
This is the first time an analysis of global product data has been assembled
into a data visualization, providing participating companies across industries —
GM and Stanley Black and
Decker — a platform
they can use to explore their product's carbon footprints along with those of
other companies that reported to CDP.
By generating carbon-intensity data for each product — through measuring the
rate of carbon emissions per kilogram of product — CoClear was able to identify
industry trends, as well as track product performance improvements along value
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The analysis of this data revealed the following:
Between 2013-2017, there was a general increase in the number of companies
reporting product carbon emissions to CDP
75+ percent of product carbon emissions arise outside the companies’ direct
operations — i.e., upstream or downstream in the product’s value
On average, participating companies with granular life cycle data reduced
their products’ carbon footprints at double the rate of companies with only
total product emissions. This indicates that granular life cycle analysis
may play a crucial role in enabling companies to successfully pursue
science-based targets through product redesign
20 percent of companies that pursued product carbon-reduction initiatives in
2016-2017 did so after receiving data requests from their supply chain
partners who were already reporting to CDP
58 percent of companies that reported product carbon emissions in 2016-2017
did not supply a breakdown of life-cycle-stage emissions along the value
Readers are invited to explore the hundreds of products in the Carbon Catalogue
and gain a deeper understanding of products at all stages in their supply chain.
Just click on the segments in each data set for detail on the analysis, and
search products by company, sector and year.
With CDP providing a clear set of guidelines in the questionnaire, corporations
have learned where to gather data and adopt best practices for calculating
product-related GHG emissions. In developing its analysis, CoClear recognized
that the level of detail provided by the various respondents was as varied as
the products they describe. However, the foresight to measure and develop
emission-reduction strategies is clearly entrenched in the risk management of
leading companies. For these companies, the long-term benefits stand to firmly
position their products in future markets.
By providing the Carbon Catalogue for companies to see the current global status
of LCA practice, CoClear is encouraging companies to:
Realize how many companies are just starting this journey along with them
Discover that accurate measurement pays off
Create an emission-reduction strand for the DNA of their product
By applying our data science expertise to the CDP data, CoClear was able to
reveal these teachable insights by:
Using ~50 GICS industries and other company meta data to map each reporting
organization into one of 8 broad sectors
Where not reported, mining the product descriptions and other fields to
obtain weights of products and thus calculate carbon intensities per product
Using integrity screening, filter out products that likely had errors such
as wrong units, etc.
Parsing life-cycle-stage meta data (where available) to break down each
product footprint into its bottom-up contributions upstream, manufacturing
(i.e. reporting company-owned facilities) and downstream — for a smaller
subset, the percentage of transport and end of life.
This examination of product data is part of an ongoing study CoClear is
conducting with CDP to help analyze and communicate product carbon emissions
across a range of industries. Under the guidance of chief data scientist Dr
Christoph Meinrenken, CoClear conducted its first analysis of the 2013-15
reported product LCAs in 2016. The findings were published in a 2016
report, Achieving Higher Value Chain
Efficiency Through Produce Life Cycle Analytics.
We’d love your feedback on the Carbon Catalogue, so please feel free to email
one of us at [email protected]. The second study of CDP product carbon footprints
detailing the findings, including 2016-2017, will be published in early Spring.
Published Feb 13, 2019 7pm EST / 4pm PST / 12am GMT / 1am CET
Sally Paridis is founder and CEO of CoClear.