Since October 1 2020, we are not selling GaBi databases on Nexus any more. This is due to a decision from the Sphera company, new owner of thinkstep, who do not foresee selling databases to resellers (as we are). Sphera stresses that it is not linked to us especially as a company.

I regret this decision to some extent; GaBi databases contain processes for some interesting products that you don´t find in other databases, and further, I initiated the connection to GaBi databases about 10 years ago also with the idea to bridge different communities and “silos” that we had then and still have now in the LCA world.

However, it was also always a bit difficult. For technical reasons, we received GaBi database updates only several months after they were available for GaBi software users, our latest version now is the version from February this year. The modeling approach and also the flows and LCIA methods are so different from other databases, that we provided the latest releases fully original in GaBi nomenclature, which contradicts the initial “bridging” idea and motivation obviously. And finally, GaBi databases are provided as system processes only, and thus require that you trust modeling of a German SME (now part of a larger company though), without the possibility to investigate, or even better change, what has been modeled. For us, being proud providers of open source solutions, this is also a bit of a stretch.

What does this mean now for users?

  • New user: If you want to use openLCA, and are interested in the GaBi databases in openLCA as a new user / have not obtained the GaBi databases from us before, we cannot offer you the GaBi databases directly, but we can support you concerning the integration. Please contact us.
  • Existing user: If you have already obtained a GaBi database for openLCA from us, you can continue to use it provided the database license and maintenance allows. We will obtain new versions of the GaBi databases from thinkstep / Sphera, and will make these available on Nexus, as usual, for users with a valid GaBi license and maintenance from us, so up to five years. Although we do not get any compensation for this work from thinkstep (since we are not allowed to sell the databases) I think we owe this to our users.

Overall, as said, this is a decision of the new thinkstep owners, and is not linked to our company, openLCA, or me, in any way. But, when I was made aware of this decision, which resulted in an ordinary cancelation of our GaBi reseller agreement, I must say I agreed, also because it allows us now to act somehow cleaner, and focus on distributing databases that better fit to our own standards. And it definitely triggers our own database development.

I only hope that for you as users of openLCA, this does not cause too many inconveniences, and with my colleagues at GreenDelta, I remain of course available for any feedback and questions.

Addition, December 2020: Thank you all for the enormous and positive feedback. I just want to emphasize that my intention was not to put Sphera or anybody in a “bad corner” (since I also received some feedback in this direction). Not at all.