Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Ecodesign
Customers increasingly request information on the environmental (or C02) footprint of the products and services they buy. The environmental footprint, calculated with Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), is internationally accepted as the ‘scientific’ standard to measure the environmental performance of products, from cradle-to-grave.
Environmental footprinting is driven by the new ISO14001 standard, Green Procurement practices and regulatory developments in the EU such as the:
- Ecodesign Directive
- Product Environmental Footprinting initiative (PEF)
- EU action plan for the Circular Economy
But many companies also have internal reasons for applying LCA, e.g. to support their sustainability ambition to ‘green’ their product portfolio. LCA’s help to find ecodesign ‘rules of thumb’ for the product development department or support green marketing.
Environment & Safety, one of the key areas of expertise of Philips Innovation Services, is the Ecodesign and LCA competence center for Philips, but it regularly works for other companies as well. Our experts have broad and extensive experience in Life Cycle Analysis, Ecodesign and Design for Circular Economy.
Philips & LCA
Philips has used LCA as a basis for its green product development program. Green products are products that meet quantitative requirements in the so-called green focal areas (Energy, Packaging, Substances, Weight & Materials, Circularity and Lifetime). These green focal areas are derived from LCA studies.
LCA can be used to:
- Identify environmental hotspots in your product portfolio and value chain. These insights can be used as a starting point for your strategic sustainability program
- Demonstrate good environmental performance of your product/service, to be used in your green marketing, sustainability reporting and/or to gain advantage in (public) tenders and sustainability ratings like the Dow Jones Sustainability Index
- Compare product or production process alternatives and steer Ecodesign or Design for Circular Economy activities
- Support supplier sustainability and green procurement programs, for instance by helping you to select commodities and suppliers with lowest environmental impact
- Determine your significant life-cycle environmental aspects in the realm of ISO14001:2015
What our customers value
“We were working on measuring Corporate Social Responsibility levels when we contacted Philips Innovation Services Environment and Safety, who have a high level of environmental awareness and a good track record. Their team started the Sustainability Scan followed by Life Cycle Assessments, and was attentive to our needs throughout the process.”
Henk van Houtum
Director Strategy and Innovation
Van Houtum B.V.
- LCA assessments (including carbon footprints) according to ISO14040 and ISO14044 standards, both detailed and screening assessments
- Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) according to ISO14025 to be used for external communication purposes
- Environmental Profit & Loss accounts (EP&L): monetary valuation of the environmental footprint of your company
- Conduct your own LCA workshop: gain basic knowledge about LCA and perform a basic LCA of your own product
- Ecodesign workshop: gain basic knowledge about Ecodesign, Design for Circular Economy and LCA and apply it to actual case studies in interactive exercises
- LCA intelligence platform: organizations that regularly perform LCA studies might benefit from a structured
Dutch paper company Van Houtum targets exceptional environmental performance. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) helped optimizing their processes and products.
New ISO14001 standards trigger ecodesign. Thales Netherlands wants to boost internal awareness on ecodesign within the engineering community.
Get an idea of the benefits of a Life Cycle Analysis. Get insights by downloading the Environmental Product Declaration for Philips Lighting.
The team of Environment & Safety applies the following steps in performing LCAs and EPDs:
1. Definition of the functional unit and scope
The functional unit is the unit of comparison, e.g. a 1.5T MRI scanner with a lifetime of 20 years performing 6 scans per day in a Dutch hospital.
2. Life-Cycle Inventory (LCI): data collection
For each life-cycle stage data on material and energy consumption, waste and emissions and transportation need to be collected. We provide a template that guides you through the data collection process.
3. Calculation: Environmental impact assessment
Simapro or EcoChain software and the internationally recognized methods like ReCiPe and IPPC for global warming potential are used to translate the inventory data into environmental impacts.
4. Interpretation and reporting
The results and its sensitivity to uncertainty factors are evaluated. On basis of the evaluation and sensitivity analysis conclusions and recommendations are reported.
5. Verification of results (optional)
We facilitate third-party verification of the LCA study, e.g. in case your company wants to communicate LCA results externally. We also provide type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) according to the ISO14025 standard.
We apply the following steps:
1. LCA screening assessment
Identifying the environmental hotspots in the value chain of the product.
2. Assessment of current ecodesign performance
Identifying existing ecodesign practices and current circular design performance using the Ecodesign Strategy Wheel and Circular Economy scorecard.
3. Assessment of ecodesign opportunities
Based on the previous two steps opportunities are identified to minimize the environmental impact of the product by applying ecodesign strategies.
Practical tooling, design rules and procedures are identified and developed to support the embedding of ecodesign in the daily business activities.
Environmental Profit & Loss account (EP&L)
An EP&L is based on a monetary valuation of environmental impacts identified in Life Cycle Assessments. There is no internationally recognized method yet to monetize environmental impacts. For the time being, Environment & Safety is using the environmental (damage) costs as developed by CE Delft (Handboek Milieuprijzen 2017). These costs are average values that apply to the Netherlands only but are applicable to LCA studies based on the internationally recognized ReCiPe method for LCA.
These are the steps to generate an EP&L:
1. Determine scope and value chain
In this step it is determined what business activities and products and what part of the value chain is included in the scope of the assessment and what environmental impacts will be calculated.
2. Collect data
Data on of products and operations are being collected, like material composition of products, energy consumption, waste and emissions from factories, transportation of raw materials and products, business travels, end-of-life disposal scenario’s etc. These data are collected via internal ERP/PLM systems, (desk) research and via suppliers.
3. Calculation of environmental impact and monetary valuation
The data is processed with LCA software. The environmental data are converted in monetary impacts by multiplying them with economic valuation factors, e,g, 100€/tCO2eq for greenhouse gas emissions or 0,4€/m3 for water consumption.
4. Interpretation and reporting of results
We evaluate the results and its sensitivity to uncertainty factors. On basis of the evaluation and sensitivity analysis, conclusions and recommendations are reported.
Life Cycle Analysis and Ecodesign in the spotlight
Circular economy is currently the magic word in the sustainability arena. The danger of this is that the sustainability concepts take on a life on their own and become a seedbed of greenwashing.
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