WE.3.E || Applied Digital Solutions – Connecting Green and Digital Transformations?

Shevelov, Alexander; Prenzel, Tobias Manuel; Lebsack, Carina; Wehner, Daniel; Wolpert, Frank

Today, businesses need to reduce their contribution to climate change significantly along the entire value chain. Complete organisational product stewardship seems tough when dealing with extensive portfolios of several thousands of individual products varying in material, production route and location. Particularly, relevant levers for improvement are more difficult to identify with an increase of influencing parameters. And while a quantification of sustainability performance is required to derive sound management decisions, traditional LCA approaches fail to provide effective, time efficient means of assessing more than a couple of scenarios per study. Consequently, it is vital to find approaches that can handle vast amounts of products. Simultaneously, workflow automation is crucial for continued easy usability when portfolio elements change. In this context, Fraunhofer IBP conducted an assessment of over 24,000 individual screws in the portfolio of the world market leader for assembly and fastening materials Würth. Goal of the study was identifying key hotspots along the value chain to point out levers for improvement of the portfolio’s overall environmental performance as well as displaying results in a transparent way. This contribution offers first insights into LCA modelling principles for portfolio analyses with large amounts of individual products though proven methods and tools from data science. This modularly built integration of data science based LCA might not only help Würth to gain a better understanding of the company’s environmental impacts but also enable identification and analysis of environmental weak points more easily, as well as identify optimisation potentials that lead to cost and risk reduction. Moreover, the usage of this scientific methodology might help Würth to become more convincing in their internal and external communication, particularly with regard to fulfilling sustainability requirements of customers and government.