World Economic Forum January 2021 Insight Report Features Columbia-IBM Researcher, Christoph Meinrenken

February 01, 2021

Christoph Meinrenken is a 2021 recipient of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency Research Seed Funds Program. His project is titled: Towards Publicly Available Trusted Carbon Footprints.

A recent analysis by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on pathways to meet the net zero carbon challenge used data from the CarbonCatalogue, a publicly available global database and visualization of product carbon footprints. The database was developed as a collaboration of Christoph Meinrenken, affiliate of the Data Science Institute and a Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Research Program in Sustainability Policy and Management (SPM), and CoClear, a carbon data start-up founded by Columbia alumnae Sally Paridis and Erika Whillas. The CarbonCatalogue is based on raw data from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Its interactive visualization features were further honed during a Data Science Institute hackathon. The WEF report, co-authored with the Boston Consulting Group and available here, focuses on the role of corporate supply chains in the global climate challenge. Meinrenken, who contributed to the WEF report, has been working on data science approaches to reveal the role of commercial products in global carbon emissions since he joined Columbia University in 2009. Says Meinrenken: “A lot of hard work by a team of fellow researchers, students, and entrepreneurs went into the creation of this database. Our goal was reliable, yet easy-to-use, easy-to-share data. It is rewarding to see how these efforts at data transparency end up paving the way for this data to play a tiny role in the global fight against climate change.”

Christoph Meinrenken

Christoph Meinrenken
Associate Research Scientist, Earth Institute; Adjunct Professor, Sustainability Management, SPS; Affiliate, Foundations of Data Science Center at the Data Science Institute

Christoph Meinrenken is an associate research scientist at Columbia University's Earth Institute, adjunct professor in Sustainability Management in the School of Professional Studies, and affiliate of the Foundations of Data Science Center at the Data Science Institute. He also co-chairs the Columbia University Seminar on Complexity Science, Modeling, and Sustainability.