September 6, 2022 – Industry
Carbon Minds, the provider of the largest and most regionalized LCA database for chemicals and plastics, has partnered with BASF to provide comprehensive and consistent product carbon footprint (PCF) data for chemicals and plastics in alignment with the BASF PCF methodology.
The partnership is set to develop a new, wide-ranging database with more than 80,000 datasets covering over 1000 chemical products in 190 regions. While based on Carbon Minds’ existing database cm.chemicals, the new database is tailored to companies using the BASF methodology in their product carbon footprint calculations, thanks to a new system model which aligns with BASF’s existing carbon footprint methodology. Through this initiative, Carbon Minds and BASF aim to promote the harmonization of carbon footprinting methodologies across industries and create the conditions for comparable carbon footprints for chemical and plastics raw materials.
As more and more companies in the chemicals value chain set climate targets, chemical producers are under increasing pressure to provide high quality carbon footprint data with a cradle-to-gate scope on their products. To assess any given product, producers require data not only on the emissions of their own processes, but also on the carbon footprint of the raw materials they use, which often accounts for more than 80% of a finished product’s carbon footprint.
When sourcing carbon footprint data on raw materials, chemical producers have two options. The first is to approach suppliers. Currently however, suppliers can rarely provide the required data. More typically, producers turn to secondary databases. Whether data on raw materials comes from suppliers or third-party sources, the methodologies behind data on raw materials are often not fully aligned with those used by producers to assess their own processes. These methodological inconsistencies can severely compromise the quality and comparability of carbon footprints calculated by different producers.
As Raoul Meys, co-founder and CTO at Carbon Minds, explains, “When calculating product carbon footprints, one of the biggest challenges for chemical companies is finding the right data for supply chain emissions. They need comprehensive coverage of their complete supply chain, for every product, and a consistent methodology for all their data. The wide-ranging coverage Carbon Minds can provide, combined with a new system model that aligns with the BASF PCF methodology, is going to make it much easier for chemical companies to do consistent product carbon footprints for their full portfolio of products by including secondary data derived from the BASF methodology.”
Furthermore, as Alessandro Pistillo, Director, Digital Strategic Projects at BASF points out: ”The main benefit of large-scale carbon footprinting is industry-wide transparency over carbon performance. However, there is no use in transparency alone without clear standards: therefore we are actively contributing to the establishment of a sectoral standard for the chemical industry with this new partnership and other initiatives. We are also working in close collaboration with peers, customers and suppliers in the Together for Sustainability initiative and preparing a guideline for chemicals as a drop-in solution for other frameworks as well.”
Pistillo continues: “While we firmly believe that product carbon footprints should be based as much as possible on primary data, in practice companies typically still require secondary data for product carbon footprint calculations. Given the variety of different data sources companies are using, it is essential to align methodologies to a standard. We are delighted that this partnership will create a new database and give companies a further data source for the calculation of comparable product carbon footprints”.
Meys concludes: “The ultimate aim of this new database and Carbon Minds’ existing data products it complements is to enable companies to create transparency over supply chain emissions and make progress towards a successful net-zero transition.”