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Questions for analysis of tools

Questions for analysis of tools for environmental assessment

The selection of a specific tool or method for environmental assessments is a strategic decision that influences the company's future ability to steer towards sustainable development. The questions that are provided below can be used as a guidance in this selection process. The information on this page is based on experiences gained at the research group Industrial Environmental Informatics at Chalmers University of Technology.

Provider of the tool
  • Who is providing the tool and for what purpose (earn money, goodwill, scientific purposes, governmental support, etc)?

  • Who is providing the basic data used in the tool?

  • What are their interests in this area? Are they neutral/objective? 

Scope of tool and data
  • Is the function of the tool in line with your needs?

  • Is the tool based on a certain policy and is this policy in that case in line with your company policy?

  • Which concepts are used in the tool and how are they defined? Are the definitions in line with definitions used in standards etc.?

  • What input data is needed?

  • What output data is generated?

  • Are the data gathered for a certain geographical area and is this area the same as the one you want to analyze?

  • How does the tool relate to other tools which are already in use within your company? Is it cost-efficient to integrate this tool or share data with other tools? 

Maintenance of tool and data
  • Is the tool supported and updated?

  • Is the basic data maintained and will this data be updated, in that case to which costs?

  • Identify those who acquire, review, maintain, and publish new data to be used in the tool

Usage of the tool
  • Is the tool user-friendly for the target group?

  • Is the provided user manual understandable and sufficient for using the tool?

  • Is the work flow of the tool understandable?

  • Are the calculations performed understandable?

Results from the tool
  • Are the results useful for your purpose?

  • Is the value of the produced output from the tool much larger than the costs for the input?

  • Is it possible to trace the calculations to the basic data?

  • Is it possible to verify the results generated using the tool and is the tool in other words transparent?