There is a clear theme in the future of sustainability, and that theme is transparency. In today’s economy, integrating sustainability into products and processes is not enough. Full transparency in manufacturing allows consumers to make educated purchasing decisions. As a result, Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) are an emerging focus in the sustainability marketplace. An increasing number of organizations— such as Wal-Mart, 3M, Unilever, and Apple— are utilizing LCA data to evaluate products and suppliers; and there is growing demand to quantify and publish the life cycle environmental impacts of products.
There are many uses for LCA data, both internally and publicly. LCA is a core component of a sustainable product innovation program, assisting designers and engineers with improving the environmental performance of a product beginning with product inception. LCA data has been utilized by our clients to reduce environmental impacts and identify cost savings in their manufacturing plants. The holistic view of a product enabled by LCA empowers our clients to implement product stewardship in a meaningful way; and in doing so, foster a more sustainable business model.
All Life Cycle Assessments are conducted per ISO-14040/44 standards and are comprised of four phases: goal and scope definition, life cycle inventory, life cycle impact assessment, and interpretation. LCA is an iterative process and requires an understanding of all
A detailed LCA is a powerful tool, but that level of detail is not always required. A higher-level life cycle screening analysis may be appropriate if you are only looking to understand the approximate impacts of your product (or segment of products) across its life. This type of analysis can be an economical preliminary step to help determine whether you want to proceed with a full LCA. A Life Cycle Screening requires less data from your team, does not require a site visit, can be conducted in a shorter time period, and is less costly than a full LCA.
A Product Carbon Footprint is similar to an LCA, but is singularly focused on global warming potential impact of a product across its life cycle. This analysis is conducted according to the PAS 2050 standard (and soon-to-be-published ISO 14067 standard). This analysis can help your company fulfill regulatory or voluntary reporting requirements, as well as communicate this well-known environmental indicator to customers.
ISO standards require LCA results to be critically reviewed in some situations. SSC will review your LCA according to the appropriate standard and provide meaningful feedback to correct gaps and improve the quality of your results.