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March 24, 2022

What is CO2Analysis?

CO2Analysis is an innovative service utilising cutting-edge AI to solve your sustainability problems. Our AI takes all your data, analyses it, codes it, categorises it and provides a carbon footprint for everything you buy. Our focus is on supply chain sustainability, or Scope 3, which until now has been the hardest area for an organisation to take on a net-zero journey.


Artificial intelligence banner


The data tells you;

  • Who are the suppliers responsible for the majority of your carbon
  • What you buy, in detail, with its carbon impact calculated and compared

These two outputs allow you to easily create a plan to work with your key suppliers and with the departments within your organisation on measurable carbon reduction strategies. The solution has an interactive reduction forecasting tool that you can use to pull together your plan and track your progress.


Tackling Climate Change since 2010

Our founder Ronald Duncan was a young ski racer in the 1980’s when he and the British Team were summer training in Austria on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Seven years later he returned but the glacier was gone.

Like many of his contemporaries in wintersports Ronald could see his world literally melting in front of him and ever since he has been trying to do something about it. This finally came to fruition in 2010 when our AI sustainability solution GreenInsight was developed.


Development of GreenInsight and How it Works

GreenInsight was developed as part of a 3-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Reading University Cybernetics Department and Goldsmith’s College London. In the process of building our AI, one MSc and three PHD’s were awarded to our research team and five of the supporting academics working on the KPT gained Professorships. KTP’s are innovative university developments aimed at creating cutting edge new technology, and at the time this was the largest KTP undertaken in the UK.

The project benefited from the purchase of coding international which gave GreenInsight access to the UK Government coding and classification system. This is a unique system as it the only system globally that goes down to individual parts and crossmaps to alternative suppliers covering Health, Education, Defence and other government purchasing.

This gave the project a huge amount of accurately classified training data that had been maintained for 20 years by the Coding International team.

The comprehensive and accurate training data was then combined with breakthroughs in classification and attribute extraction that resulted in both PhD awards and a number of publications.


How are we different?

We are fundamentally different because we have a long background of applying technology to complex supply chain challenges.  GreenInsight was part of a suite of supply chain solutions that was designed to quickly and accurately analyse very large procurement data sets at a granular level.  For large organisations the purchasing information held within the finance and procurement systems generally runs to millions of lines often with random coding and classification. Where individuals raise ‘free text’ purchase orders the descriptions of what is being bought can be quite variable.  The AI has been built to work with very large ‘dirty’ data sets, where it identifies and matches products and services from the variable information supplied.


Factory Shop concept


Once the AI has done the heavy lifting and matched, coded and classified the goods and services it then calculates the carbon footprint of what’s being bought.

This allows us to quantify your organisational carbon footprint from the bottom up starting with the individual goods and services, aggregating up to the individual supplier carbon footprints and finally a clear view of the overall organisational carbon footprint.

Our competitors work at category level where they look at high level spend and apply a carbon intensity to everything bought under different headings, e.g., stationery and office supplies.  The challenge with this approach is that lots of very different things can be coded to stationery and office supplies. In this category we commonly see everything from paper, pens, toner cartridges, and printers, right through to screens, desks, chairs, and even air conditioning units in the summer months.

Clearly each of these have very different carbon footprints and end users need to understand the carbon impact of opening another ream of paper or ordering a new desk when there are spares available in the building. On top of this it is very difficult for an organization to look at a category view pie-chart where their spend/carbon is split into large chunks, ‘Stationery & Office Supplies, Transport, Catering, etc.’ and make meaningful decisions based on it. The granular view where these chunks are made transparent and every detail can be seen is required to really make reductions and behaviour changes.


The Granular Level

To picture what we think of as the granular level, imagine a beach filled with grains of sand. Every grain of sand is something your organisation buys.


Image of a beach


Typical carbon analysis is unable to examine every grain, so it first draws big lines on the beach to cut it into categories, then eyeballs those chunks of beach to get an estimate of how much is in each section. Our focus on the granular level means that GreenInsight can count every single grain of sand on your beach, but not only that – it can also identify every grain and work out what item that grain represents. As a result, the analysis you receive at the end of the process has as much accurate information as we can find.

This process is fast, efficient, and you don’t need to try to understand procurement data or attempt to tame your scope 3 using spreadsheets.  We have taken the pain away!

To get to this point we have been training GreenInsight over many years. After acquiring Coding International and using its large item code base for the initial training data, we next trialled it with the NHS, analysing data for around 60 NHS trusts before releasing it as a commercial product. Following launch, it was used by the National Audit Office for their analysis of consumables purchases across all of NHS England, followed by the NHS Sustainability Development Unit for their Hot Spots analysis for all Trusts.

The GreenInsight database now contains the largest global repository of carbon footprinted products and it continues to grow. Whatever you are purchasing is most likely already on our system and easily identifiable to our AI – and if not, then it will be analysed and categorised to the granular level, then added to the overall information base.


Pie chart


The solution is easy for you to use, we simply need a raw download from your finance, ERP and procurement systems and the AI does everything else.  You get a fast result and the tools to start making measurable carbon reductions immediately.

We hope you now have a good understanding of CO2A and GreenInsight. If you would like to learn more feel free to check out some of our other articles, or if you would like to get started with becoming net zero, schedule a free session with us today.