Environmental databases are gaining key momentum for today’s industries. Companies use such databases in order to benchmark their operations, develop eco-innovations, perform forecasting, make regional assessments, monitor their performance and gather data in order to ensure their compliance to environmental standards. The variety of environmental databases found online is very wide (i.e. WTO, UN, ECOINVENT, MRIO, EUROSTAT, GED, EORA, etc) and choosing the right database for a specific company is crucial.
This choice must take into account various parameters (starting from the scope of the environmental data usage, application area, existing IT systems of the company, knowledge of the staff working on this matter, etc) and it will often be the case that multiple databases need to be integrated in order to achieve the intended goal. Nevertheless, companies need to be aware of the main limitations and risks that these databases bring: unknown quality and data coverage, outdated data, lack of integration, credibility, etc.
The ultimate aim for today’s European (and global) industry is to steadily progress towards the concept of open science where all (suitable) data should be shared for the benefit of the entire society (and thus the environmental databases could benefit from constant realistic data uploads – in order to satisfy the data usage/retrieval demands).