How Life Cycle Assessment
can make your business
Meet Raminta Karabitski, environmental engineer and Senior Associate at Position Green.
What is Life Cycle Assessment, how is an LCA study conducted and how can it benefit your business? We asked Raminta to share her insights and the process involved.
What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
LCA is a methodology designed to help companies measure and quantify the environmental impacts of a product or service. The process involves a thorough investigation of each stage of the life cycle – from sourcing raw materials to manufacturing, use and disposal – while also considering the potential for reuse, recovery and recycling. The main aim of an LCA study is to identify possible areas for improvement and to support the development of more sustainable products and services.
What are the benefits of an LCA study?
The most immediate benefit for a business is identifying environmental “hotspots” at different stages of a product or process. This may relate to the global warming potential of a particular material, transportation factors, or waste treatment method. LCA findings can then be used to prioritise areas for improvement and focus efforts on reducing these impacts, such as resource reduction, waste reduction, or energy efficiency.
Another important benefit is regulatory compliance, given that LCA studies may be required by law or regulation to demonstrate compliance with environmental standards. Furthermore, a LCA study can help businesses through increased transparency and credibility in relation to stakeholders and customers.
How is LCA carried out?
A life cycle assessment includes four phases, which are defined in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards 14040 and 14044. The study itself is an iterative process that allows you to tweak and revise things as you go.
The first step in an LCA study is defining the goal and scope, where the objectives and boundaries of the study are established. The second step is life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis, which identifies and quantifies the inputs and outputs of the product or process. The third step is life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). In this phase, the environmental impacts of the product or process are assessed based on the data collected in the LCI analysis. This may include climate change, ozone depletion, eutrophication, acidification, human toxicity, land use, or biodiversity, among others. The final step is interpretation and evaluation. Here, the results of the impact assessment are analysed and interpreted, resulting in recommendations for improvements.
How long does it take to conduct an LCA study?
In our experience, the development of an LCA study usually takes between two to six months. Of course, this timeframe depends on the complexity of the product or process, the availability of data and, where applicable, the verification process. Data collection is typically the most time-consuming phase, therefore it’s vital that experienced personnel are involved throughout the process. However, if the study involves products that are not overly complex, the modeling can be completed in just a few days.
Environmental engineer and Senior Associate at Position Green.
How can we help?
Would you like to take your product sustainability to the next level?
Position Green helps companies develop valuable data and actionable insights on their LCA journey. Our expert advisors will assist your company in undertaking product carbon footprints and product environmental footprints, which will reduce your GHG impacts, inform sustainable decision-making, and let you monitor your improvements over time.
We can also help your company generate Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) by modeling life cycle assessments. This will ensure the smooth and timely publication of your EPD in cooperation with the European EPD Programme Operators.
Practical use of an LCA study
- Assessment of diverse environmental impacts associated with products/services
- Improvement of product development, marketing and strategic planning
- Development of data for Environmental Product Declarations (EPD)
Want to know more? Please reach out to our environmental engineer, and we will figure out the best way forward for your business.
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