COMPASS began in 2005 with a review of existing tools applicable to the packaging supply chain. During the review process, MERGE™ (Managing Environmental Resources, Guidance and Evaluation), developed by Environmental Defense Fund was identified as a potential platform from which to develop a new tool. MERGE was originally developed for both package design and chemical formulation. In 2006, Environmental Defense Fund granted an exclusive license to GreenBlue to redevelop the package design portion of MERGE. The COMPASS project was guided by principles identified by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s (SPC) Definition of Sustainable Packaging.
Since 2011, GreenBlue has contracted with Trayak Trayak www.trayak.com to develop and manage the COMPASS application. To encourage continuous growth, ongoing development and investment in COMPASS, in 2015, GreenBlue transferred all the COMPASS assets to Trayak.
In September 2006, the SPC was awarded a $150,000 cooperative agreement from the U.S. EPA to redevelop the MERGE tool. Additional resources were needed in order to complete the project, so GreenBlue directed $50,000 to this project from a grant received from the Summit Foundation. SPC membership dues have provided the remainder of the funding needed for software development and data verification.
Today COMPASS is operated only through subscription revenue with zero funding from the SPC. The goal is for COMPASS to be completely self-sufficient and fund all future growth and development through subscription revenue alone.
This project was divided into three stages of development: 1) Data Collection; 2) Metrics Development and 3) Creation of the Tool.
As part of the redevelopment in 2006, a survey of publicly available life cycle inventory datasets was conducted for the main classes of packaging materials. During this assessment, it was noted that much of the data available was ten years old or older and not transparent (meaning it was not reported at a unit process level). The SPC joined efforts with the Wal-Mart Packaging Scorecard Development and the U.S. EPA in the development of the WARM and ReCon tools and launched an effort in March 2007 to collect new datasets from industry including paper, plastic, biopolymers, metals, and glass. This effort is ongoing.
During the summer of 2007, the SPC convened a group of twelve stakeholders from across the packaging supply chain to develop new metrics for COMPASS. The objective of this process was to develop a set of metrics that:
- Supports the SPC's Definition of Sustainable Packaging
- Is accessible to the target audience of packaging designers and engineers
- Is informed from the guidance found in ISO 14044 Sections 188.8.131.52.1 - 184.108.40.206.4
Since that time, the metrics have undergone both an internal and external peer review involving government agencies, companies, consultancies and environmental nonprofit organizations. Full metrics documents are available to paying licensees only under the resources section.
Creation of COMPASS
Version 1.0 of COMPASS was first released in early 2009. Over the years, additional functionalities and UI improvements have been added to the solution based on feedback from users and SPC members.