Covestro recently established an app for product carbon footprint calculation. The company’s investments in digitalization projects aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions show its commitment to make the circular economy a reality and become operationally climate-neutral by 2035. 

Covestro’s climate impact is assessed using a measurement of the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process for its products from cradle to gate. This can be calculated from a manual process using a life cycle assessment tool and a method certified according to ISO 14040/44 and ISO 14067 last year by TÜV Rheinland Energy GmbH. Covestro has these calculations for about 50,000 intermediate and finished products. The results are currently being validated to make the information available to customers gradually in 2024. However, the establishment of a digitalized calculation system will enable Covestro to determine the specific carbon footprints for products in its entire product portfolio and identify opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all its manufacturing, while also providing correct and up-to-date information to customers. 

In the future, Covestro plans to provide its customers with data on the products for sale, thereby contributing to an emissions assessment and a potential subsequent emissions reduction on the customer’s side. In addition to the carbon footprint, the digital solution also enables the calculation of other environmental impact categories, such as the acidification or photochemical ozone creation potential. 

The calculation considers emissions of raw materials used, energy consumed, direct emissions generated, and waste streams generated during production. It is based on Covestro’s internal plant- and site-specific data as well as external databases for raw materials. The data that is calculated includes intermediate and finished products, meaning that the entire value chain is taken into account.

Covestro has taken a major step forward in automated calculation. Information on material and energy consumption is pulled from existing data sources and systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), and merged with data from databases in the cloud. Covestro uses the Product Sustainability Platform from AllocNow GmbH for this purpose. The software company specializes in the automated calculation of life cycle assessments for chemical products. In the future, further supplier data could be reflected in the calculation. 

"In 2022, our portfolio had about 50,000 intermediates and finished products. The manual calculation of life cycle assessment (LCA) data for just one of these products took several days," said Michaela Lentz, IT and digital transformation partner for sustainability at Covestro and IT lead for the project. "By combining and using the data, we can now calculate greenhouse gas emissions in production for a single product. Annual recalculations and future process changes can be retrieved at the push of a button, so to speak. Our software solution has been developed directly in the cloud.” 

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