A question of quality

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Courtesy of thinkstep

Can you remember the time back in school after taking a math’s test? You prepared very well, the test went very well as far as you could judge, and yet somehow you have an uncomfortable feeling until you see your actual result.

This déjà-vu kind of feeling crawled through my body recently. GaBi data was reviewed by expert organizations commissioned by the EU- JRC to check for its appropriateness within ELCD.

The results are in:

We received “very good” ELCD data quality marks.

We have long believed we deliver “very good” work, after all it’s what a lot of our clients tell us. However it is a relief to have it black on white from an externally led, comprehensive review process.

The only difference in my feeling concerning the days back in school: In class I did not like to be the “best” to prevent perception of a striver; preferring to be in the upper mid-tier to camouflage myself as an individual; team work was not normal in my school times. Today however I’m happy and rather proud to work in and for the very best LCA data provider which is significantly “ahead of the pack”.

What does very good data mean for you?

When we talk about “Quality” we qualify (and are qualified) against certain indicators covering our methods, processes and governance. In addition quality also applies to actual data entry.

Frequently we are asked why our data is different (and more accurate) to data from other providers. Let me give you some prominent examples; tetrafluoroethylene (where GaBi has factor 20 less GWP than others) or Soda (where GaBi has 4 times more impact in certain categories than others).

The reasons can be many and are often a combination of many factors:

  • Technology or supply-chain is different.
  • Production and import countries are different.
  • Methodology is different or different assumptions are used.

We never judge other providers' data, and we ruthlessly judge our data and we explicitly know why our data is like it is. That is why we implemented the annual upgrade cycle to always have the latest technology and supply chains verified and up-to-date, production and import countries adapted, methodology consistently applied and certain assumptions double checked.

So we are very happy that external organizations see the strength of our databases and rate their data quality as ELCD “very good.”

For the factual discussion on which CO2 data (and alike) given in the datasets is most appropriate is another story entirely, conducted on a process engineering level. Our data is on constant surveillance: From you, our clients, from our own engineers, from competitors and partners and from external reviewers. I think after 25 years of developing databases, gathering engineering knowledge, assuring update quality routines and improving continuously a mark “very good” should be neither a surprise nor despised.

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