Environmental Genome Initiative
Mapping the Building Blocks of Human Scientific Creativity
Awarded the Innovation in Smart Chemistry Award sponsored by Nike, NASA, U.S. Department of State, Estee Lauder, American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute, and U.S. Agency for International Development.
The nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative is collaborating with product manufacturers and industry associations, foundations and investors to build a transparent, open-source database to map the content, design, manufacturing processes, and energy use of the 100,000 industrial chemicals-in-commerce used to make all materials and products worldwide.
Our goal is to produce the map of the environmental footprints of all products by first establishing the carbon footprint of the industrial chemicals used, the critical base of any product. It enables the most accurate estimate of greenhouse gas emissions and provides the means for credible public disclosures of the direct and indirect emissions of manufactured products that investors, procurement professionals, regulators, and customers worldwide are moving toward.
With our next generation life cycle inventory data, companies will no longer have to risk relying on imprecise and highly variable secondary information based on industry averages – data often inappropriately used to measure environmental impacts.
They’ll be able to respond confidently to stakeholders who want better climate risk and emissions information to inform decision making. Our datasets will allow firms to more accurately measure, manage and mitigate their impact on the environment and on human health and safety, to improve their product designs and supply chains while lowering costs as they achieve greater efficiencies.
We envision that the project will also yield other important and unforeseen benefits, led by providing insights into the relationship between the environment and chronic disease (six in 10 Americans are affected,) just as we learned from mapping the human genome.
Currently, investors, companies, procurement professionals, and regulators are reliant on a life cycle industry with datasets still in development. Too often firms rely on environmental impact studies built on secondary information, based on industry averages, that are inappropriate for this use. The results are imprecise and highly variable (+/- 400 to 1,000%).
The Environmental Genome’s datasets provide the most actionable and accurate (+/- 10 to 20%) estimates available for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA’s are used worldwide to study the environmental and economic impacts of products and services throughout the product life cycle from raw materials acquisition and processing, manufacturing and packaging, distribution, use, and disposal.
Our database is the next generation in the life cycle field, providing primary data on content, design, manufacturing processes, energy use, and chemical emissions at the product level for many corporate programs. Our data files are substantially transparent and engineering-based with processes described and calculations available.
Our’s is the largest chemicals/materials life cycle inventory database in the world (with separate CAS numbers). That’s many times larger than our closest competitor, providing the means for Scope 3 reporting of the indirect emissions of a company’s suppliers and others in the upstream and downstream activities in its supply chains.