Upgrades planned to Forest Industry Carbon Assessment Tool (FICAT™)

 

In 2009, under contract to IFC (International Finance Company), a member of the World Bank Group, NCASI completed development of the Forest Industry Carbon Assessment Tool (FICAT™). FICAT™ assists companies in calculating the carbon footprints of their facilities or the entire company. It is available to the public, free of charge, at www.FICATModel.org.

Since the release of FICAT™, users have identified a number of potential enhancements that would improve the user experience with the tool and increase its flexibility. IFC, with support from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has extended its agreement with NCASI to allow these enhancements to be made. Some of the most important enhancements are outlined below.

  • The program will be updated to make it compatible with 64-bit computers (Note: This change has already been made and a 64-bit compatible version is now on the FICAT™ website.)
  • The process for creating and saving files will be simplified and made more consistent with the process most familiar to computer users.
  • The approach for estimating emissions related to forest management will be improved so that these estimates can make use of company-specific data on a) the use of fire in forest management; b) the use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides; and c) fossil fuel consumption in forest management.
  • Internal checks will be added to ensure that the product output entered by the user is consistent with the wood and other fiber input entered by the user.
  • Guidance will be added on options for estimating the upstream emissions associated with recovered fiber.
  • For estimating upstream emissions associated with non-fiber inputs, companies will be able to enter grade-specific “recipes” of chemicals used in the production process rather than relying on default recipes.
  • FICAT™ will be modified so that it is possible to develop cradle-to-gate footprints in addition to cradle-to-grave footprints.
  • The calculations for carbon stored in products in use will be enhanced to allow the user to select either the simple 100-year first-order decay method (the approach now in FICAT™) or the 100-year weighted average approach (which is included in, for instance, the British Standards Institute specification for carbon footprints).
  • A series of short training videos are being developed to assist users.
  • An auditing guide will be prepared.

These enhancements will be completed by the end of the year, and many expected to be available earlier.

NCASI and IFC are interested in knowing of other enhancements that users would find helpful. If you have suggestions, please contact Reid Miner at the NCASI Headquarters office.

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