A Columbia researcher affiliated with the Data Science Institute and the Earth Institute has created a data-visualization tool that shows the carbon footprints of hundreds of consumer products. The tool makes it easy for everyone to explore the products’ carbon emission levels and the various strategies companies are employing to reduce emissions.
The visualization tool, called Carbon Catalogue, breaks down the carbon footprint of a product during its entire life cycle, illustrating the carbon it emits during the raw material, manufacturing and later downstream phases.
The visualization looks like a wheel with color-coded spokes, each representing a consumer product such as a cell phone, a car, or a pair of jeans. When a user hovers over a spoke, a pop-up box appears with a summary of a product’s life-cycle data, including improvements companies made to reduce its carbon emissions. Working with CoClear, Meinrenken analyzed carbon emissions data for 866 products made by 145 companies from 28 countries. The companies voluntarily submitted the data to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), a nonprofit that asks companies to complete detailed questionnaires about their products’ emissions data. The researchers used life-cycle data submitted to CDP on products from 2013-2017 to create the visualization, whose menu allows viewers to search by company, industry or year.
Direct to Carbon Catalogue