A global challenge

  • Including sustainability information in rational decisions requires accessible and unbiased information on alternative options. Currently, sustainability information on products – “product footprints” – is not easily available.
  • When available, current “product footprints” are often incomparable, biased and misleading, resulting in irrational decisions.

    This is caused by inappropriate procedures for obtaining and processing the underlying activity information. The underlying information is often:

    • incomplete,
    • based on out-dated information,
    • generalised from a limited number of data sources reflecting only specific local conditions,
    • calculated and presented without uncertainty information.
  • Many different calculation procedures are currently in use to come from the activity data to the final “product footprints”. Many of the resulting systems are unbalanced and unrealistic, providing biased and misleading results that are not comparable and do not reflect the impacts per additional unit of product consumed.
  • Currently, the exchange, use and reuse of the sustainability information are hampered by proprietary or commercial data and data formats, requiring special permissions and tools.

A global vision

  • The aim of BONSAI is to make reliable, unbiased sustainability information on products – “product footprints” – readily and freely available whenever and wherever it is needed to support product comparisons and decisions.
  • Already in its starting point, BONSAI is a complete database, covering all human activities and interactions between these activities and the social, economic and biophysical environment.

    BONSAI uses modern data harvesting and social networking techniques, continuously and automatically combining all relevant available data, from the web, from domain-specific databases, and from stand-alone contributions from enterprises, researchers and the general public, to maintain complete, updated, and generally applicable information.

    BONSAI presents data with uncertainty, and with geographical and temporal validity bounds.

  • BONSAI uses open source calculation methods based on current best scientific knowledge, resulting in mass-balanced systems, fully compliant with the ISO norms, providing comparable “footprints” showing the impacts per additional unit of product consumed.
  • BONSAI uses open formats and technologies, and provide data that are free for others to use and reuse.