Global fruit giant Dole Sunshine Company has found a key to measuring future climate performance.
The company has partnered with Swedish startup CarbonCloud in a groundbreaking machine learning project.
Life cycle assessments, or LCAs, are a decades-old process to find the total emissions of a product. By diving into each individual sourcing and production step, a detailed map of emissions can be created. However, an LCA can take months for a single product, a timeline that is not feasible for enterprise companies that need the data quickly to meet sustainability targets.
“We are very happy to launch this project. As part of our Sunshine for All fund we looked for a reliable and scalable software solution to calculate the carbon footprint of our products. Our ambition is to understand our priorities to act in our supply chain and in the future to raise awareness to our consumers,” said Barbara Guerpillon, Head of Venture Transformation & Sustainability at Dole Packaged Foods, a subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings.
DSC has partnered with CarbonCloud, a leading climate intelligence platform for the food industry. The Swedish startup has created software that can automatically calculate product-level climate footprints through machine learning and the world’s most sophisticated food emissions database. The Swedish company managed to deliver 50 climate footprints for DSC in a single month, a process that would have otherwise taken several years.
“Our climate footprint is a central performance indicator for our operations, and with CarbonCloud, we can take this responsibility with confidence. Automating the mapping of our supply chain and getting full transparency marks the day when we can stop thinking about how we measure our impact and start working on emission reductions – product by product,” said Guerpillon.
“This is true innovation in action, and we are very happy to be launching this automation functionality with DSC as our client. DSC reminds the rest of the industry what emissions metrics are made for: To systematically and impactfully work towards emissions reduction,” said David Bryngelsson, CEO and co-founder of CarbonCloud.
So why are LCA’s so complicated?
The data gathering, for one, is tedious and difficult. A company must know what data to ask for, which suppliers to get it from and the suppliers must follow the task through the entire chain. A single processed product can easily include several hundred emission parameters and then comes the evaluation of several scientific studies for each parameter and the need to know how to compare the quality of those. In addition, different food stuffs need to include different parameters. Calculating the footprint of a peach is not the same as calculating the footprint of a pineapple. Finally, with data in hand, calculations must follow the same standards and system boundaries.
“If you ask two of the best LCA consultants in the world to analyze the same product they will come up with different numbers. Neither of them are wrong, but they are still not comparable because the methodology can be different, and it is extremely time consuming to figure out in what way. Our platform resolves that issue,” added Bryngelsson.
As a climate intelligence platform, CarbonCloud continuously monitors the scientific evolution to ensure that every calculation is made with the same system boundaries.
“This is our key to ensuring that you compare apples and apples, figuratively or for that matter, literally speaking.” said Bryngelsson.
The main driver of the project is DSC’s commitment to the Dole Promise and purpose to bring Sunshine for All. This includes the company’s commitment to a Zero Carbon action plan, including targets like reaching net zero in its operations by 2030 and converting to 100% renewable energy for their operation by 2025.
So far DSC has calculated the footprint of 73 products through the CarbonCloud platform. The tool not only provides the total carbon footprint for each product, but also offers a detailed breakdown of emissions from transportation, packaging, agriculture and more. The company’s R&D teams are also using the platform in the development of new products.
“These granular insights and ability to include them in early product development is absolutely critical for us to be able to reach our climate targets,” added Guerpillon.