The multinational food and drink giant said product life cycle assessment was the most widely used method for determining the overall effects of making a product on the environment.
However, Anne Roulin, Nestlé's head of sustainability for research and development, said they could be costly and take several months to complete.
“Ecodex was created by our own life cycle assessment experts in partnership with an information technology company called Selerant.
‘Rapid and accurate data’
“The tool uses information specific to the food and beverage industry to provide rapid and accurate data that allows our product development teams to assess sustainability performance across multiple product lines.”
In addition, she said Nestlé had helped Selerant make Ecodex commercially available to other food and drink firms.
“In parallel with the development of Ecodex, we’ve also reinforced the way we train our product developers to encourage them to take a holistic approach across all the different stages of the value chain,” Roulin continued.
“Over the past two years we’ve set up and trained a global community of sustainability champions within our worldwide research and development network. Part of their role is to support the introduction and deployment of Ecodex.”
Moving forward, Nestlé said it would continue to educate its teams involved in different stages of product development on sustainability issues.
This would include holding specific ‘design for sustainability’ sessions to help teams think about where the key opportunities were in the company’s value chain to reduce environmental impacts.
“By linking our designers to the life cycle assessment process, and providing them with superior tools and a more flexible way of working, I believe we’re putting them in a better position to create even more efficient, lower-impact products for our consumers,” said Roulin