Blog header reading, "How to avoid carbon tunnel vision."

How To Avoid Carbon Tunnel Vision

The metrics by which we measure sustainability are increasingly important. But which metrics are most important as environmentally conscious consumers seek out more sustainable alternatives? Water positive commitments, goals centered on reducing water usage, for example, were virtually unheard of more than a few years ago yet carbon emissions are still king when it comes to measuring environmental impact. Focusing solely on carbon emissions, however, may lead to “carbon tunnel vision” and it could be hurting the Earth in the long-run. So how do you avoid carbon tunnel vision when analyzing the environmental impact of your packaging? 

Net-Zero is a Buzzword

Although net-zero is a widely used term, it may resemble a more restrictive approach to environmental sustainability than most people think. Net-zero generally refers to the goal of eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from the start. It does not allow companies to finance or offset their emissions, instead, companies aim to turn off the tap at the source by simply emitting no greenhouse gas emissions. Companies may choose to abandon all fossil fuels or use only electricity from renewable sources as energy. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses have an immense impact on our planet but should they be our sole focus? When multiple stakeholders need to be considered, the choice between reducing greenhouse emissions or reducing impact on biodiversity is not always easy. Many companies proudly tout a net-zero approach to climate change, while the true champions for protecting our planet understand there will be tradeoffs that require a holistic approach.

Action on Climate Change Requires a Dynamic Response

If we achieve net-zero but negatively impact other indicators of human and environmental health in the process, what are we really achieving? Perhaps a dynamic approach is required to achieve bold action toward climate change. Companies who focus solely on carbon emissions miss important links to other impacts such as human health, water use, biodiversity, and others. The Sustainable Development Goals and the framework of ESG both imply that there is an important balance between many different metrics.   With EcoImpact-COMPASS, you can track up to eight environmental indicators alongside functional attributes such as damage rate and shelf life. Running comparison LCAs early in the design phase against multiple LCA indicators and functional attributes helps you avoid shifting the burden from one indicator to another. Altogether, utilizing multiple indicators (LCA and functional) helps companies like yours view your impact from a holistic lens. 

The invitation to Step Up

Here is your invitation to step up, to be a true champion in protecting our planet. A holistic approach to climate change requires data and lots of it. Companies who are taking a holistic approach to climate change utilize the EcoImpact platform to manage, track, and report their sustainability. They reduce time and costs of data collection by integrating with their specification management and similar tools to pull data directly into EcoImpact. From there, companies can leverage the data to run life cycle assessments, track sustainable packaging goals, and report their metrics to stakeholders and external parties.  EcoImpact-COMPASS is the sustainability data solution. 
  • Eliminate the data gap by connecting with your PLM/Spec/ERP system
  • Run LCAs across eight indicators to take a holistic approach
  • Evaluate tradeoffs early in the design phase
  • Operationalize sustainability by considering metrics such as damage rate, shelf life, and cost
  • Track progress and report to CSR, ESG, SDGs, US Plastics Pact, Walmart’s Project Gigaton, and How2Recycle
  • Run EPR fee reports
  • View business insights through customized dashboards
EcoImpact-COMPASS is a comprehensive sustainability solution to help companies like yours take a holistic approach toward climate change. 


When we expand our vision, the opportunities in front of us are tremendous. Avoiding tunnel vision by taking a holistic approach to climate change enables companies to not lose sight of other important indicators of human and environmental health. To manage a broader range of sustainability metrics, companies need solutions like EcoImpact-COMPASS. Trayak has been helping leading brands of all sizes make data-driven sustainability decisions for over 10 years. If you would like to learn more about our tools and services please contact us.

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