Data Is the Answer to Most Sustainability Problems

A standardized and accessible set of digitized data is key to empower waste reduction and sustainability programs, says IME South speaker Matthew Wright, Specright's founder and CEO.

Susan Shepard

May 6, 2024

3 Min Read

At a Glance

  • At IME South, Wright will discuss the importance of data in bridging the gap between reducing waste & driving sustainability.
  • His talk will address CIOs, CTOs, & anyone working in R&D sustainability, operating, or procurement roles.
  • IME South features ATX South, Design & Manufacturing South, MD&M South, SouthPack, Plastec South, & Powder/Bulk Solids South.

“I think oftentimes people look to jump past the value of data and try to go to solutioning,” Matthew Wright, founder and CEO at Specright, tells Design News. “But the standard DNA of product and packaging needs to be understood, accessible, and usable to therefore impact downstream effects like sustainability. It’s really all about the data and the strength and value of that data,” he explains.

Wright will explore the importance of digitizing data in his presentation at IME South, “Success in Sustainability Starts with Digitized Specification Data.”

The first step in organizing data, he said, is digitization. “Digitization is not Excel. It's not PDFs. It's not file folders or Google Drive,” he says. “It's really organizing data at the very granular DNA level or specification level.

“What we find today is most of this information is on five or six different legacy systems, whether the system being used is a spreadsheet or PDFs or vendor reliance,” he continues. Wright’s company, Specright, offers a specification data management platform built around packaging first and aimed at getting at that DNA level of data, elements, and attributes. “That’s the digitization effort and it’s on a platform that is accessible for everyone to work from one single source of truth,” he says.

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In his presentation, Wright will explain that companies should no longer consider sustainability a project, but rather a continuum. “The rules and the expectations of governments, companies, and consumers are going to continue to evolve,” he explains. “And the only way to be able to handle that complexity, which is a very high level today, is with organized data to allow you to change as these definitions continue to change. It’s got to be ongoing and built into the company’s DNA of how they do business.”

When asked who he would like to see attend his presentation, Wright says that it will be suitable for a broad audience. “Definitely more and more from the CIO, CTO desks, in terms of their really trying to understand the technology landscape and the options today,” he says. He also thinks it would be beneficial for anyone in R&D sustainability, operating, or procurement roles who are looking to improve their business. “Whether it’s to be more sustainable, to drive ROI, drive costs down, or they’re just in a general digitization path,” he says. 

Wright hopes his attendees take away two main points. “As basic as it sounds, the data is the answer to these problems, and that they get their data captured correctly in an organized and efficient manner is the solution to everything,” he says. 

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His second point is urgency. “The regulatory landscape for sustainability is complex and it's only getting more complex,” he concludes. “These companies are going to really be more challenged than they are today.” 

Wright will present “Success in Sustainability Starts with Digitized Specification Data,” on Tuesday, June 4, from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. in the Packaging and Processing Theater at IME South. Specright will also be at Booth #808 at the show, with live demonstrations and Q&A for companies who wish to learn more about the value of a spec-first approach to their master data management strategy.

About the Author(s)

Susan Shepard

Susan Shepard is a freelance contributor to Design News and MD+DI.

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