Product lifecycle management tools take on green business ideals

Product lifecycle assessment software has been around since businesses first started using technology to run their companies better. Now, many of these applications are being updated with sustainability in mind.

Product lifecycle assessment software has been around since businesses first started using technology to run their companies better. Now, many of these applications are being updated with sustainability in mind.

Which ones matter? There's a new report out from market research firm Verdantix that identifies 18 "smart innovators" that are addressing issues such as green materials, green procurement considerations, and the greening of corporate supply chains. Here's how Verdantix defines the category in its report ("Smart Innovators Product LCA Software):

"Software designed to collect, store, audit, report and analyze the potential environmental impacts of a product throughout its life cycle, from the extraction of resources, to production, use, recycling and disposal, with the aim of managing and enhancing the environmental performance of the product."

That includes manufacturing and processing, distribution and transportation, reuse and maintenance, and (of course) recycling considerations.

The companies mentioned in the report (in alphabetical order): Bluehorse Associates, Bureau Veritas, CleanMetrics, e3 Solutions, EcoMundo, Granta Design, ifu Hamburg, National Institute of Standards and Technology, PE International, PRe Consultants, PTC, PwC, Quantis, SAP, Sinum AG, SolidWorks, Sustainable Minds, and WSP Environmental & Energy. Any software that DID NOT include the International Standard Office (ISO) 14040 standards for products was excluded from the report.

Said Verdantix director Rodolphe d'Arjuzon in the press release for the report:

"For the last two years, an influx of new product LCA software and services suppliers have tried to stimulate market demand. The green shoots of demand for product LCA solutions are just starting to poke through a muddy patch in the market. Growth will continue to evolve slowly in 2011 until more powerful market drivers boost demand in 2012. Our research suggests that product LCA software will remain a niche market."