As the newly formed partnership of the World Resources Institute with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and the White House makes clear, science-based data is what is needed now to achieve a compelling position in the global marketplace. Called the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness, this initiative was formed to help corporations and mange environmental risks with better data and software tools.
Sphere*E is providing manufacturers of building materials with incentives and tools for providing what is being requested by larger purchasers with a program we’re calling SIMPLIFY & SUCCEED.
Janet Ranganathan, VP for Science and Research at World Resources Institute, has noted “Understanding the threats posed by climate change and extreme weather are critical to protecting people, homes, businesses and livelihoods. Data must be part of the solution.” In the US, we were faced recently with largescale potential damage to millions of people from Hurricane Matthew. The value of climate resilience planning using science-based data and data analytics provides a path forward.
For many corporations and institutions, accessing, understanding and using science-based data is daunting. All types of enterprises will benefit from increased collaboration of product manufacturers of products with specifiers and purchasers of their products with developers of scientific data and software firms making that data more useful. The key challenge here is making science-based data easy to understand and efficient to use while maintaining its quality. Simplifying these processes is key.
While we will all benefit from the valuable leadership work of the enterprises leading the PREP program and support from the White House, many others are needed to transform this challenge into an opportunity to insure the the health and well-being being of our businesses, our government agencies and our communities. A new level of collaboration is needed and enterprises of all sizes can contribute to make the goals of the leaders in the PREP program.
Here’s what one small business – Sphere*E – is doing to contribute to the solutions. We developed a software system that collects, ranks, compares and reports on performance data of products and services. While it’s applicable to all industries, we selected one for our initial focus- the building and construction sector. Our initial database includes data on 186 different categories of building products and 60,000 different brand products. Yet we have a challenge.
As machine-readable data from ISO-compliant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) was not available on most of these products, our staff had to spent over a year manually collecting, copying and adding life cycle building product from EPDs on products made in the EU and US. When we double checked this data for accuracy, we found enough errors to conclude we could not launch our software as planned. Instead, we’d have to wait for machine readable data.
So here’s how we’re transforming this challenge into a solution. We’re inviting building product manufacturers to provide us with Excel documents of their product LCA summaries from machine readable EPDs, building on the valuable work of EPD program operators in the EU to build the Eco-Platform. That will enable us to support corporate, government and institutional purchasers of their products with the data they’re seeking to make wise choices. Sphere*E will recognize each manufacturer’s commitment to collaboration by awarding them 2 points in our Collaboration Scorecard ™ for every EPD submitted.
Purchasers will value knowing how many EPDs a manufacturer has submitted to be included in our data analytics system and so manufacturers will benefit from this new recognition. As it’s centered on life cycle data meeting ISO Standards in machine-readable formats, manufacturers can be confident their product information is accurate and current. Their Collaboration Scorecard ™ will be posted on a number of websites starting on this one. We’ll all move forward toward greater success through this kind of collaboration.