PepsiCo-Columbia Carbon Software Calculates Thousands of Product Footprints

20 September 2012

PepsiCo and researchers at Columbia University have developed software that rapidly calculates the carbon footprints of thousands of products simultaneously. This new tool can help companies accurately label products and reduce their environmental impacts, according to the study, published online in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.
Researchers used a lifecycle analysis database that covered 1,137 PepsiCo products and developed new techniques that calculated thousands of footprints and “hotspots” within minutes, with minimum user input. Companies can view carbon emissions by weight, and broken down by stages of the supply chain for individual products, brands and countries. Up until now, according to the study authors, lifecycle analysis has mostly been performed for one product at a time. But by generating estimated emissions for materials, the software eliminates manual mapping of a product’s ingredients and packaging materials. This enables non-experts to approximate carbon footprints, which can save companies time and money on large-scale carbon footprinting efforts, according to the study (Newsletter Environmental Leader, 18 September 2012).