Planet Metrics Helps Method Clean Up Emissions

Planet Metrics Helps Method Clean Up Emissions

Seven months after securing $2.3 million in Series A funding, start-up Planet Metrics has released the beta version of its software that helps companies identify the embedded energy and greenhouse gas emissions in products and supply chains.

Its Rapid Carbon Modeling (RMC) Software is helping Method make more informed decisions about reducing greenhouse emissions in its supply chain -- also known as indirect or Scope 3 emissions.  In many cases, the vast majority of a company’s carbon footprint -- as much as 90 percent -- is produced outside its direct operations and facilities. A Carnegie Mellon University study found 75 percent of U.S. industries only measure a fraction of their total greenhouse gas emissions.

“We excel at the 90 percent problem,” Andy Leventhal, Planet Metrics founder and CEO, told ClimateBiz.com.

Rising fuel costs and an impending price on carbon from a U.S. cap-and-trade system will impact suppliers in the long-term, Leventhal said.

“We’re trying to help companies understand exposure to commodity price risk and climate price risk,” he said.

The new tool also helps companies design smarter products with fewer environmental impacts, Adam Lowry, Method co-founder and chief greenskeeper, told ClimateBiz.com.

The maker of home and personal care products began actively using RMC within the last few months after a period in which Planet Metrics organized Method’s primary data. The software can calculate the carbon footprint of a product or product line, and generate different scenarios for comparison, such as a change in ingredient, transportation mode, fuel cost or supplier location. It also generates a heat map that helps users visualize the hot spots.

In one instance, Method used the software while deciding whether to use a biopolymer or post consumer PET for its packaging. “What we learned is that the post consumer PET reduces overall footprint across all scopes by 60 percent,” Lowry said.

The software has also helped improve Method’s relationships with its suppliers, some of whom lack the resources or expertise to pinpoint their own emissions hot spots. Method can now better direct an internal initiative offering financial incentives to suppliers who make energy efficiency upgrades in their operations.

The tool helps companies push the envelope in designing innovative products, according to Planet Metrics Director of Product Management Jørgen Vos.

“It’s really about innovation,” Vos said. “It’s not just about cost savings, although that’s a very good driver right now. Companies that use this time to focus on innovation will position themselves as winners when the economy starts racing again.”

Leventhal expects to announce contracts with other companies in the next 45 days, which will be important for interested businesses looking for proof points. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology is targeted at the packaged consumer goods, retail, automotive and technology sectors, although it helped Planet Metrics measure the carbon footprint of the 2009 Consumer Electronics Association trade show.

“Everyone wants to know if this is a nice to have or need to have,” he said. “By clicking these seven buttons, we can help you I.D. several hundred thousand dollars in savings by changing one ingredient.”

Below is a glimpse at how the heat map identifies the largest sources of transportation emissions within these three theoretical product categories. The red areas indicate these ingredients are responsible for the largest amount of transportation emissions.

This heat map shows transportation-related emissions hot spots in red.  Planet Metrics
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