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Speeding up the life cycle assessment process

18 November 2022

Global fruit company, Dole Sunshine Company (DSC) has partnered with CarbonCloud in a groundbreaking machine learning climate project.

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Life cycle assessments (LCAs) are the traditional process used to identify 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.

Data gathering for an LCA has, traditionally been 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. 

DSC has partnered with CarbonCloud, a climate intelligence platform for the food industry. CarbonCloud has created software that can automatically calculate product level climate footprints through machine learning and a sophisticated food emissions database. The company has delivered 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 Barbara Guerpillon, head of Venture Transformation & Sustainability at Dole Packaged Foods, a subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings.

The main driver of the project is DSC’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 critical for us to be able to reach our climate targets,” said Guerpillon.

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