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:

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.

Sustainability consultant Michela van Kampen

Your benefit

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.

We deliver

The business value of Life-Cycle Thinking and Analysis

Proof points

How Van Houtum relies on LCA to optimize sustainability

How Van Houtum relies on LCA to optimize sustainability

Dutch paper company Van Houtum targets exceptional environmental performance. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) helped optimizing their processes and products. 

Read more

Hands-on workshop helps Thales engineers to internalize ecodesign thinking

New ISO14001 standards trigger ecodesign. Thales Netherlands wants to boost internal awareness on ecodesign within the engineering community.

Read more 

Environmental-product-declaration

Environmental product declaration: an example of Philips Lighting 

Get an idea of the benefits of a Life Cycle Analysis. Get insights by downloading the Environmental Product Declaration for Philips Lighting.

Download pdf

Our approach to Life Cycle Analysis and Ecodesign

LCA assessments and EPDs

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.

life cycle analysis

Ecodesign

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.

4. Implementation

Practical tooling, design rules and procedures are identified and developed to support the embedding of ecodesign in the daily business activities.

lca ecodesign strategy wheel

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.

Philips Environmental impact 2017. EP&L

Life Cycle Analysis and Ecodesign in the spotlight

We contributed to the Royal Philips Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) account. This is the first EP&L ever that obtained highest assurance level from an independent auditor.

If the business relevance and data infrastructure are not assessed they may introduce unnecessary costs. Which life cycle approach is ideal for you?
Upcoming ISO standard 14001:2015 brings major changes by putting emphasis on leadership, supply chain approach and governance – but it doesn’t provide a blueprint. How to best take timely action?

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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Get in touch with our experts

Michela van Kampen Senior Consultant Ecodesign & Circular economy

Michela van Kampen
Senior Consultant Ecodesign & Circular economy

+31650744032

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