How green are your suppliers? AI software aims to find out

AI is being used to assess a company’s suppliers list to help them choose more environmentally-aware firms.

Tugby-based Pure Table Top, which creates specialist ceramics homewares working with brands such as Joules and Kew Gardens, is working with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s experts on the project.  

pure table top team

DMU’s partnership with Pure Table Top will develop a matrix that will enable the company to score the sustainability of their supplies based on 70 different data points, such as material wastage, energy, and water consumption.

The project is one of the first to be funded through QUiDS – Quick innovation Developers – a programme at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to help local businesses, charities and public organisations trial new ideas and innovations.

Tom Sellicks, Sustainability Officer at Pure Table Top, said “We have been working with DMU and the QUID's programme for over six months now in order to develop a bespoke tech solution for recording and analysing the social and environmental performance of our global supply base.

“This kind of solution does exist for larger companies with hundreds of suppliers however, we hadn't found a scalable alternative.”

The new collaboration will use artificial intelligence and algorithms to help find the optimum way of analysing variables that reflect the sustainability of a product, in a way that is also transparent to the consumer, so that they can make more informed decisions on the goods that they are purchasing.

Darsheet Chauhan, Knowledge Exchange Officer at DMU, said: “We began with developing an understanding of what Pure Table’s Tops challenges and aspirations were in relation to increased sustainability in its business operation and then sought different solutions from the many disciplines in DMU and the various mechanisms of support on offer to them.”

 “Pure Table Top have proven to be a very committed and dynamic local company who are at the front of sustainability within their sector. In fact, a lot of leading high street names are now looking to work and follow on the exemplary journey started by Pure Table Top.”

 B Crop

DMU’s knowledge exchange team recruited experienced researcher, Dr Mario Gongora, to collaborate with the team at Pure Table Top in researching and developing new ways of measuring environmental concerns.

Dr Gongora’s expertise includes the application of computational intelligence techniques to a variety of complex processes.

Mario has previously worked on a variety of knowledge exchange projects with industry, applying his research outcomes in the analysis of consumer behaviour and other complex industrial processes.

Mr Sellicks of Pure Table Top, added: “We believe that Mario's expertise (combined with that of the computer, engineering and media faculty) will enable us to develop a product which can be adopted by other UK SMEs to measure the sustainability performance of their supply base”. 

Posted on Wednesday 15 February 2023

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