Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments: A Primer for Business Owners

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This presentation provides a brief background on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in business contexts. It describes the important role of the LCA: Before you can begin to efficiently and effectively green your business, it is essential to conduct an LCA. The LCA will clarify your company’s current impacts and set out steps to prioritize your next initiatives and what goals will make the biggest difference. Many businesses are now using the LCA to keep up with the green market and this presentation and supporting white paper lays out the LCA process in detail to aid you in both conducting and deciphering an LCA. The full white paper will help you identify an appropriate strategy while illustrating the different approaches you have available to choose from.

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Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments: A Primer for Business Owners

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION TO LIFE CYCLEASSESSMENTS:A PRIMER FOR BUSINESS OWNERSSSC White Paper
  2. 2. Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments:A Primer for Business Owners Before you can begin to efficiently and effectively green your business, it is essential to conduct an LCA. The LCA will clarify your company’s current impacts and set out steps to prioritize your next initiatives and what goals will make the biggest difference. Many businesses are now using the LCA to keep up with the green market and this white paper lays out the LCA process in detail to aid you in both conducting and deciphering an LCA. This paper will help you identify an appropriate strategy while illustrating the different approaches you have available to choose from. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments:A Primer for Business OwnersThis presentation provides a summary of the white paper Introductionto Life Cycle Assessments: A Primer for Business Owners, whichprovides information on the LCA process to aid you in bothconducting and deciphering an LCA. This paper will help you identifyan appropriate strategy while illustrating the different approaches youhave available to choose from. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments:A Primer for Business Owners The white paper provides information on:  Defining a Life Cycle Assessment  Why the LCA is Important  Who is Utilizing the LCA  The Process: Four Phases Explained  The Full Service Approach  The Self-Assessment Approach  Questions to Ask Yourself Moving Forward Download this complimentary white paper to learn more! www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Defining the LCA
  6. 6. Defining the LCA A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that allows companies to evaluate the level of environmental impact produced by their services or products. The LCA looks at the entire life cycle of the product, including the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, distri bution, transportation, and end-of-life disposal. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Defining the LCA Many companies use an LCA to develop a sustainability strategy that improves operational performance, and as a commercial and promotional tool. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. The Importance of the LCA
  9. 9. The Importance of the LCAAn LCA can help a company identify areas for improvement in bothperformance and efficiency, and thus help reduce costs. Additionally, thisassessment can help provide substantive support for marketing claims madeby a company and thus help improve corporate image.By performing an LCA, a company also gains a set of metrics by which it cancompare year-to-year performance as well as the performance of suppliersand partners. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. The Importance of the LCATo learn more, download the complimentary white paper in it’s entirety by visiting the SSC website today: Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments in Business Contexts www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Who is Using the LCA?
  12. 12. Who is Using the LCA? Companies across a myriad of Apple used an LCA to industries are engaging in LCAs determine the origin of its and integrating the results into greenhouse gas emissions. Regarding their business operations. manufacturing, Apple Some of the largest and most developed smaller, thinner, and lighter influential companies have products, necessitating taken proactive steps to lessen fewer materials and their environmental impact subsequently fewer carbon through LCAs. emissions. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. The Process
  14. 14. The Process Phase I Phase II • Defines the purpose, goal, and boundaries • Collects data and performs inventory of the assessment analysis • Lays out the parameters of the study and • A labor-intensive data collection of indicates to whom the assessment will be quantitative and qualitative data for every delivered unit process system related to the product • The goal and scope define exactly what is • In most cases, this stage of the LCA will being studied, which functional areas are include a flow model of the activities being being analyzed, and which precise inputs assessed and will accurately depict the and outputs are related to the product or inputs and outputs addressed in Phase I service. • The results of Phase II take the form of a Life • Phase I also lays out the environmental Cycle Inventory, from which some initial impact categories to be included as well as interpretations can be made. the limitations and assumptions of the study. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. The Process Phase III Phase IV • Evaluate environmental effects including the classification of results • Interpret results and identify key issues • Designed to evaluate the significance of the • Results of the three previous stages are results of the environmental impacts verified, quantified, analyzed, and evaluated discovered in Phase II • Includes a final summary that outlines the • Selects environmental impact categories to significant issues identified in the demonstrate how each category affects the process, limitation inherent to the study, a environment, as well as which human set of conclusions, and recommendations activities contribute to each category • Sorts the inventory into the environmental impact categories • Characterizes the inflows and outflows into a common metric unit that can then be summed into an overall total impact number www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Different Approaches
  17. 17. Different Approaches The next step is to decide how to approach performing an LCA. There are two main methods for engaging in an LCA: using a full-service tool that requires either training or hiring a third- party firm to perform the assessment, or purchasing do-it- yourself software and performing the assessment yourself. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Different ApproachesFull Service Approaches SimaPro: GaBi: This tool allows companies to The GaBi assessment tool supports a perform an LCA on products with large amount of data and provides complex life cycles. The tool is able companies with solutions related to to set parameters, return interactive process optimization, cost results, and provide access to a large control, environmental criteria, and database. Some main benefits of the external representation of results. SimaPro tool include an intuitive and The tool allows for the use of easy to learn interface, the ability to parameters in the calculations as well immediately compare two or more as the ability to create various products, the capability to diagrams from flexible inputs and parameterize your model, and a outputs. sophisticated impact assessment. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Different ApproachesSelf-Assessment: Industry Specific The Global Emission Model for Integrated BEES 4.0 is software aimed at Systems is a life cycle analysis program designers, builders, and product and database for energy, material, and manufacturers as a way to balance the transport systems. The database offers environmental and economic performance information on fossil of building products. fuels, renewables, processes for electricity and heat, raw materials, and transports . The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated IDEMAT is a tool for material selections in Emissions, and Energy use in the design process. It provides a database Transportation (GREET) model allows with technical information about researchers to evaluate various engine and materials, processes, and fuel combinations on a consistent fuel- components, and allows users to compare cycle basis. information . www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Different ApproachesSelf-Assessment: Cross Industry ECO-it 1.4 software comes with over 500 Sustainable Minds is limited to one ReCiPe environmental impact and carbon approach, in which all the environmental footprint (CO2) scores for commonly used impacts are rolled into a single number or materials such as indicator. This simplifies the results and metals, plastics, paper, board, and provides clear information to act glass, as well as for upon, which is very useful for LCA production, transport, energy, and waste beginners. treatment processes. TEAM™ is a professional tool for WISARD™ is an LCA software tool designed evaluating the life cycle environmental and to help inform decision making and cost profiles of products and technologies. evaluate policy options concerning the It contains a comprehensive database of disposal of household waste. over 600 modules with worldwide coverage. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. The Bottom Line
  22. 22. The Bottom Line • What do I want to accomplish? • How detailed of an analysis do I After understanding the need?LCA process and various • How strict are the levels of compliance in my particular approaches, simply industry? • Do I need a product that emphasizes answer a few reflective optimization and cost reduction?questions and you will be • Do I want a product that assists in the design process? well on your way to a • How flexible do I want to be in my assessment output? greener future! • Will I require a product that will help in the marketing or communications aspects of my company? www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments:A Primer for Business OwnersThis presentation provides a summary of the white paper Introductionto Life Cycle Assessments: A Primer for Business Owners, whichprovides information on the LCA process to aid you in bothconducting and deciphering an LCA. This paper will help you identifyan appropriate strategy while illustrating the different approaches youhave available to choose from. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Download the complimentary white paper in it’sentirety by visiting the SSC website today:Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments in BusinessContextsWhat are your thoughts? Join theconversation on twitter @jenniferwoofter!

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