Sustainability software and consulting firm PRé has announced a partnership with supply chain software company SupplyShift to tackle the challenges inherent in the twin fields of life cycle assessment (LCA) and supply chain sustainability, and to use the strengths of each field to support the other. These challenges involve (1) dealing with the lack of primary supplier data in LCA inventories, (2) streamlining complex data collection and management issues in supply chain efforts, (3) circumventing inefficient duplicate data requests, and (4) facilitating the use of sustainable sourcing to reduce the environmental impacts LCA identifies.
SupplyShift is the next-generation tool that helps companies manage supply chain performance data and interface with a global repository of supplier data. PRé’s SimaPro LCA software package has been the reliable workhorse for a large share of the life cycle assessment community since 1990. PRé says the partnership will harness the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing, to provide multiple benefits to both companies' user communities.
SupplyShift and SimaPro: Supply Chain Management with Reliable LCA
“From the perspective of a supply chain sustainability manager, primary data from suppliers is often difficult or impossible to obtain, especially when traceability in commodity markets is an issue or when supply chains run several tiers deep,” explains SupplyShift’s James Barsimantov. “SupplyShift includes multi-tiered supply chain data collection, but cannot fill all data gaps. The LCA community has collected large amounts of commodity data over the past several decades, such as environmental impacts of shipping and trucking, packaging materials, or energy production. Our collaboration with SimaPro will provide supply chain sustainability managers with LCA information, which can be used to fill the gaps in self-reported supplier information.”
“For LCA practitioners, the LCA is only as good as the data available in the inventory. Instead of LCAs relying solely on database averages, it is worthwhile to collect primary data from the suppliers, which will improve LCA accuracy. Supply chain management expertise will help achieve that,” says PRé CEO Mark Goedkoop. “In addition, LCA practitioners need an easy way to publish and share LCA results in supplier portals, something SupplyShift will help provide. Finally, many environmental impacts identified in a life cycle analysis could be reduced through more sustainable sourcing. Connecting the dots between LCA data and Supply Chain Sustainability will make this possible.”
Phase 1 — Exploring and Meeting User Needs
Phase 1 of this collaboration will explore how to ensure compatibility between the tools and respond to user needs around integration of LCA and Supply Chain Sustainability. It will also identify efficiencies gained from this approach, such as combining data requests and information sharing.
SupplyShift, one of the finalists for this year’s SB Innovation Open, announced in January that Stonyfield Farm will utilize the SupplyShift tool to manage its dairy supply chain, focusing on suppliers’ energy, water and waste management practices, encouraging them to set targets for reducing environmental impacts and track progress.