Yesterday the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) launched COMPASS, a new software tool that corporate packaging designers can use to assess the environmental impacts of packaging designs and inform decisions about packaging changes.
COMPASS grew out of an earlier software tool called MERGE that EDF developed through our partnerships with SC Johnson, Bristol Meyers Squibb and Aveda in 1996-2001. The goal of those partnerships was to create an easy-to-use software program that companies could use to evaluate the environmental profiles of different product and packaging designs. Bristol Meyers Squibb and Aveda each used MERGE to redesign packages to reduce environmental impact.
In 2006, the SPC, an industry working group of packaged goods companies and packaging suppliers, conducted a review of available environmental packaging design tools. Selecting MERGE as the most promising among them, SPC approached EDF about updating and redeveloping MERGE for use by a broader group of companies. We licensed MERGE to GreenBlue, the non-profit organization that convenes the SPC, for its use as the basis for COMPASS. Our Senior Scientist Dr. Richard Denison, who was the original developer of MERGE, served as a peer reviewer for COMPASS’ new methodology.
The new COMPASS tool is supported by updated datasets, includes additional packaging materials and environmental metrics, and includes specific packaging fabrication processes not included in the original version of MERGE. It should be a good resource for companies looking to understand and improve the environmental impacts of their packaging. A license will run you $750 ($500 if your company is an SPC member), but you can get a pretty good sense of the tool’s capabilities by using the free trial. Check it out and share your thoughts with the Innovation Exhange community!