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Life Cycle Management/ Column

Protecting the value of financial investments with sustainability assessments
Now even the Dutch central bank clearly reports* that climate change, water stress, raw material scarcity, biodiversity loss and human rights controversies present risks to the financial sector, institutional investors worldwide are looking for ways to safeguard the value of their investments through sustainability analyses. But how can you do that?
Life cycle seeds taking root in Chilean energy policies
Life cycle thinking is becoming more well-known everywhere on the planet, but not everywhere at the same rates. Chilean sustainability firm Regenerativa, one of the official partners in the SimaPro Global Partner Network, has taken the time to explain how life cycle analysis (LCA) is gaining ground in Chile, where government involvement and encouragement is setting the stage for more growth.
The 2018 Handbook for Product Social Metrics is available now!
Product social metrics, also known as social life cycle assessment (social LCA), is the next frontier in life cycle thinking. For products and services to be truly sustainable, it is important that companies minimise both their negative impacts on the environment and on people. The Roundtable of Product Social Metrics, providing guidance for companies wanting to measure their social impacts, is proud to announce the 2018 edition of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment.
How can we scale up LCA studies without compromising on quality?
LCA is becoming more popular, with more and more initiatives turning to fact-based approaches to sustainability. This is great! But is there enough LCA expertise in the world to serve these initiatives and ensure the quality of these numerous LCA requests?
Boosting collaboration for supply chain LCA
As a manufacturer, you want to know what your suppliers are doing, and how, so you can fully understand the environmental impacts of your products. But for your suppliers, sharing this information can be very detrimental to their negotiating position. How do you cross that gap in perspective, so you can do reliable, robust supply chain LCA?
LCA and SimaPro training plans for 2018
For LCA and sustainability practitioners it's important to be up-to-date. If you are thinking about upgrading or updating your LCA knowledge, then Laura Golsteijn would like to draw your attention to one of our trainings. Laura is back from her maternity leave, energetic as always, she starts the year with an invitation to check what's new and updated in our LCA trainings of 2018
Recycling e-waste in the Netherlands: New publication on circular economy of e-waste
There is a wide range of strategies for creating a circular economy. Recycling may not be at the top of the list, but it has its part to play. And within recycling, it is important to understand what the recycling of electronic waste, or e-waste, involves, and what benefits it can bring. This short article presents a brief outline, but it also links to a longer research article that fleshes out the picture.
LCM 2017 outcomes – life cycle management is the mindset to embrace circular economy
With speakers ranging from pioneering innovators, to business representatives, to LCA experts, LCM 2017 really succeeded in bringing two worlds together. Many of the sessions of this year had a strong focus on the implementation and assessment of circular economy trough Life Cycle Management, at different levels: From science to innovation. In this piece, Laura Golsteijn talks about innovation and what that has to do with Life Cycle Management to embrace Circular Economy.
Connecting LCA experts and business people at the LCM conference
I always enjoy conferences as a way to see how LCA and sustainability works ‘on the shop floor’ – to see how businesses and LCA experts alike grapple with making sustainability happen. This September, PRé and some of our clients will be speaking at the Life Cycle Management (LCM) conference, where we hope to see as many of you as possible. In this article, I’d like to introduce the focus area I’ve been working with: connecting business users and LCA experts.
PRé is the platinum sponsor of the Life Cycle Management 2017 conference in Luxembourg
The 8th edition of the international Life Cycle Management conference, recognised as one of the most important conferences in the field of sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment, is going to be held this year in Luxembourg. LCM 2017 will take place from 3 to 6 september at the European Congress Center, hosting decision-makers from science, industry, NGOs and public bodies worldwide. PRé Sustainability is proud to be present as Platinum Sponsor.
PRé and BRE develop LINA 2.0 - Tool for compliant EPD with EN15804
LINA is a tool that enables companies and trade associations to assess their products in line with EN 15804, the European Standard for Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for construction products. LINA 2.0 is an enhanced version that makes it even easier to comply with standards for the construction sector.
Mitigating climate change towards disaster risk reduction
Climate change is often linked with long-term effects, such as: polar caps melting, disasters and rising sea level. This week, the Global platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is being hosted in Mexico, where countries will look at the progress made within the Sendai framework agreements. But how can the SDG agreements complement and help prevent disasters? We looked at SDG 13: Climate action, and how sustainability practitioners can help companies take action against climate change; using LCA metrics and indicators.
Calculating the biodiversity footprint for the banking sector
For ASN Bank, PRé and CREM developed a methodology to calculate the biodiversity footprint of the bank's investments from simple spend data, bringing the complexity of biodiversity down to manageable level.
Bringing two worlds together: sustainability strategy and LCA
More and more, we see companies struggle with the divide between corporate, high-level sustainability strategy and detailed bottom-up analyses on a product level. For financial purposes, those worlds have come together a long time ago. For environmental performance and social metrics, strategy and life cycle assessment (LCA) have not found each other … yet.
BioScope: visual representation of biodiversity impact in your supply chain
What is good enough in LCA? What is too much? Something is needed for visual representation of ‘flat’ models, like a list of investments, for example. That was the reason to develop BioScope, driven by Platform BEE (Dutch Platform for Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Economy). BioScope, a free access web tool, which provides a simple user interface where companies can enter data that are simple and easy to gather.
Sustainability in 2017- Are We at a Tipping Point to Become Mainstream?
As we are nearing the end of the year, we’d like to reflect on how sustainability initiatives have progressed in 2016. What is the state of the art in sustainability for business? And what can we look forward to in sustainability in 2017?
PRé and SAC develop tailored tools for sustainable product development
CASE | For the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a global alliance of apparel, footwear and home textile companies, PRé developed three tools for sustainable product development. The tools focus on material sustainability, ecodesign and data gathering.
Global Guidance for Life Cycle Impact Assessment Indicators and Methods - On Track
One of the downsides of LCA is that LCA results are difficult to interpret for those sustainability practitioners who aren’t specialised in LCA, but do rely on it on the battlefield. That’s why the LCA community has been striving so hard to find consensus and decide on standardisation, aiming to make LCA more efficient and easier to interpret. An important initiative is the Flagship 1b project of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative, which aims to build global consensus and guidance. This article shows the exciting progress so far.
3D printing guarantees efficiency. Myth or not?
As a science-based method, LCA is an excellent tool to bust the myths that surround sustainability. In this monthly series, we look at some common sustainability ideas to see if they are myth or true. In today’s episode of Sustainability Mythbusters: Is 3D printing the efficiency miracle solution everyone says it is?
Measuring The Environmental Footprint Of Organisations In The PEF Initiative
In 2013, the European Commission started testing the environmental footprint rules in what is known as the environmental footprint (PEF) pilot phase. However, this pilot phase contains more than just PEF. Although the focus is predominantly on the product level (24 out of 26 pilots), this 3-year initiative also aims to test the development of environmental footprint rules for organisations. In this article, I will briefly describe the organisational environmental footprint (OEF) in the European Commission’s initiative.
Carbon Modelling In The PEF Initiative
The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) approach aims to standardise and simplify LCA practice while maintaining its high quality. To enable all LCA practitioners to use the same approach, Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) are being developed. In this edition of the PEF series, we describe the state of the art of carbon modelling.
Electric Cars Guarantee Green Mobility: Myth Or Not?
As a science-based method, LCA is an excellent tool to bust the myths that surround sustainability. In this monthly series, we look at some common sustainability ideas to see if they are myth or true. In today’s episode we discuss electric vehicles. Are they really the best option?
Growing Biofuels Causes Food Shortages: Myth Or Not?
As a science-based method, LCA is an excellent tool to bust the myths that surround sustainability. In this monthly series, we look at some common sustainability ideas to see if they are myth or true. In today’s episode we discuss the concerns about the recent rapid increase in global biomass production.
5 Roads To A Circular Economy - Part V: Circular Supplies
In a circular economy, the intention is to produce no waste or pollution. Instead, products, parts and materials are used, cared for, repaired, reused and recycled as much as possible. This requires new and innovative business models. In our circular economy miniseries, we’ll address five ways to apply the circular economy in your business and how LCA can contribute. Today: circular supplies.
5 Roads To A Circular Economy - Part IV: Sharing
In a circular economy, the intention is to produce no waste or pollution. Instead, products, parts and materials are used, cared for, repaired, reused and recycled as much as possible. This requires new and innovative approaches to business, and assessment methods such as LCA to measure the effect. In our circular economy miniseries, we’ll address five ways to apply the circular economy in your business. Today: sharing in the circular economy.
5 Roads To A Circular Economy - Part III: Reusing Waste
In a circular economy, the intention is to produce no waste or pollution. Instead, products, parts and materials are used, cared for, repaired, reused and recycled as much as possible. This requires new and innovative approaches to business, and assessment methods such as LCA to measure the effect. In our circular economy miniseries, we’ll address five ways to apply the circular economy in your business. Today: reusing waste.
5 Roads to Circular Economy Part II: Product as a Service
In a circular economy, the intention is to produce no waste or pollution. Instead, products, parts and materials are used, cared for, repaired, reused and recycled as much as possible. This requires new and innovative approaches to business, and assessment methods such as LCA to measure the effect. In our circular economy miniseries, we’ll address five ways to apply the circular economy and lca in your business. Today: product as a service.
5 Roads to Circular Economy - Part I: Product Life Extension
In a circular economy, the intention is to produce no waste or pollution. Instead, products, parts and materials are used, cared for, repaired, reused and recycled as much as possible. This requires new and innovative business models. In our circular economy miniseries, we’ll address five ways to apply the circular economy and lca in your business. Today: product life extension.
Why the Succes of Circular Economy is Owned by Chemicals
Chemical substances are everywhere around us and essential components of our human bodies. Yet, in order to protect biodiversity as well as human health, it is important that we use them in a safe manner. And that might have a circular form…
Reaching Your Ecodesign Goals Through Collaboration
Trying to influence product design as an LCA expert is a well-known challenge. Assessing sustainability at the early design stages is very difficult: the design is still evolving and you don’t have all data yet. Assessing it at the end is much easier, but then your role is limited to ‘environmental book-keeping’ – it is too late to extensively change the design. So, what can you do?
Using LCA To Support The Circular Economy
Here at PRé, we’ve had an ongoing discussion about implementing a circular economy approach to product sustainability. We’ve explored the benefits and challenges of blending LCA and circular economy, and we’ve looked broadly at how the two can be complementary.
Packaging Is The Bad Guy: Myth Or Not?
As a science-based method, LCA is an excellent tool to bust the myths that surround sustainability. In this monthly series, we look at some common sustainability ideas to see if they are myth or true. In today’s episode: the impact of packaging.
What Can You Do To Start Working With Your Suppliers?
I am captivated with the momentum that sustainable supply chain initiatives have built up. There is a lot going on in initiatives such as the Sustainability Consortium, the Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH, and the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council.
Stop Showing The Money, Start Sharing The Values
There are so many initiatives to measure natural, social and sustainable capital that you would almost trip over them. At a recent sustainability congress, a researcher stated that they had identified over 60 methods for measuring sustainability. And that’s probably not even all. There seem to be over 130 initiatives worldwide.
The State Of LCA In Business
To accelerate the adoption rate of fact-based LCA, we conducted a study to find out which are the struggles and drivers that are moving LCA practitioners in the business arena. This infographic is based on the most relevant outcomes from our study 'The State of LCA in Business in 2014'.
Life Cycle Assessment And Cradle To Cradle: Friends Or Foes?
There are many different sustainability tools, ranging from simple to complex and covering the various aspects of sustainability: environmental, social and economic sustainability. The popularity of these tools waxes and wanes.
What’s more important than Life Cycle Innovation?
Recently we saw the announcement of a new membership organisation which promises us the be “the voice of the LCA community”. It will be focusing on growing the market for LC based approaches, through advocacy, market expansion and what is called “advancing application”. LCA definitely needs to keep innovating and rethinking, so we agree on that. But, are the priorities set by this initiative right?
How A Life Cycle Driven Business Model Can Accelerate Sustainable Value Creation
Peter Bakker from the WBCSD declared that corporate social responsibility is dead and urged us to create new definitions of success. The change to a more holistic approach is already happening. However, shouldn’t we place the shared value that we create at the heart of what we do?
Why “It Depends…” Is Often The Right Answer
Environmental footprint assessment is a highly detailed technical tool for evaluating the environmental performance of products or organisations. This level of technical detail, however, often makes it difficult for sustainability professionals to give decisive answers to decision makers.
Coming soon: Sustainability Mythbusters
The relevance and popularity of sustainability has increased tremendously over the last decade. Where sustainability was initially a topic for a small group of change makers, now it’s firmly in the mainstream. Unfortunately, that also means a large number of myths have sprung up around it.
Why Food And Beverage LCAs Are Difficult To Do
Compared to several other sectors, such as the packaging, household and personal care, transport and building sectors, food and beverage LCA are only just catching up. What is it about the food and beverage sector that makes it so difficult to do good LCAs?
Measuring sustainability. Part I: the basics of a sustainability index
This is the first article in a series that will explore in more detail the ins and outs of creating a sound, useful, and robust sustainability index for your organisation.
Bad Labor Footprint | Social Impacts in the Supply Chain
As many products are being exported to other countries, and as the products that we consume are often produced elsewhere, the question arises: “How does consumption relate to bad labor conditions around the globe?”. Laura Golsteijn, Technical Analyst for PRé, contributed to the development of the new study: “Bad Labor Footprint”. In this article, she explains how the study offers a new perspective on how to account for the social impacts of globalization.
Social Sustainability – Integrating Measurements Of The Intangible
Your company is developing systems for gathering and using environmental data. Your insight into your products’ environmental footprints and impacts is growing. Where to look next? This article discusses getting started with product social footprinting.
How Understanding Your Products’ Social Footprints Helps Your Business Create Value
Many global standards and guidance documents exist that allow companies to investigate impacts at an organisational level. Although these initiatives have many benefits, they provide limited guidance for companies to assess the social impacts of products in a more comprehensive and harmonised way.
Business Decision Making | Materiality Assessment vs. Hotspot Analysis
Implementing a sustainability programme or choosing a new, sustainable business model can be somewhat of a conundrum. Without data, it’s impossible to choose. But if you do a sustainability assessment, you get so much data that you still can’t choose. Materiality assessments and hotspot analyses can help you move forward.
How To Make Sustainability Data Work For You | Article Featured by Sustainable Brands
In the business world we are inundated with data on a daily basis, certainly in the sustainability arena. We all recognize there is big data embedded within our business systems, but the real question is, how do we turn all this data into information that feeds into intelligent decision-making?
Normalisation: New Developments in Normalisation Sets
This is the second in a series of articles where PRé's own consultants explain a step in the LCIA process and the way their own expertise fits into that step. Tommie Ponsioen is a technical consultant at PRé, with expertise in LCA methodology and database development. This article explains normalisation, the third step in LCIA, and describes new developments in the field.
Quantifying Sustainability II – Natural Capital and Monetisation
Part I of this article series explained why companies might want to monetise sustainability, expressing impacts in monetary value to make them more tangible. This part shows the steps required to do monetisation, and discusses the drawbacks and advantages.
Life Cycle Driven Business Models To Increase Sustainable Impact
Many companies have embarked on the road to sustainability and are looking to adopt sustainable business models. That’s great news. However, there's a big risk in following the latest trends without making sure that that’s the right choice for your business.
Combination of LCA databases solves challenges for measuring environmental impacts satellite mission
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an organisation gathering knowledge about the earth, its immediate space environment, our solar system, and the universe. It also develops satellite-based technologies and services and promotes European industries.
Quantifying Sustainability - Supply Chain Sustainability and Minimising Risk
This is part I in a two-part series on quantifying sustainability. Part I outlines how quantifying supply chain sustainability is a powerful way to manage business risks. Part II will give an overview of the tools available.
New, Sustainable Business Models and Their Impacts
Sustainability is not just important on the product level, but needs to be supported by a sustainable business model. Eric Mieras, Managing Director at PRé, dives into what that means.
The Footprint of Food: Consolidating Data
The first LCAs were done on rather irrelevant subjects like baby nappies, milk packaging, and looking at whether you should use paper or washable cups for your coffee. Over the years, we came to realize that there are much more relevant areas.
On Developing Globally Relevant LCA Databases
As LCA becomes a more globally important and accepted way of measuring our environmental impacts and quantify sustainability in business, we will have to face our many problems.
Updated Carbon Footprint Calculation Factors
Scientific insight is continuously improving, providing us with information that helps our impact assessment calculations be more accurate and better able to predict environmental impacts and how much our products contribute to climate change.
Blending Big Data and Sustainability Business Goals to Improve Your Positive Impact
Big data is heralded as the next frontier for discovery, innovation, competition, and productivity. As sustainability experts, we can learn from that to use sustainability data to (co-)create shared value with new products and business models.
Don’t follow the leader, choose your own path
Eric Mieras, PRé Managing Director, shares his view on the importance of not following the crowd when it comes to achieving your company’s sustainability goals. Finding and following your own path are key to maximizing the benefit of your sustainability efforts for your company and the LCA community.
Dinner is served
Normally I dislike stereotypes and get pretty bored with trite assumptions about Italians (I am Italian, for the record), so it feels a bit like scoring an own goal to talk about food and the ability – my ability – to recognize a really good meal and to know what it means to prepare one. But since this column talks about data collection and its role in LCA studies, you will agree that the link with food is pretty automatic, right?
How to Innovate for Sustainability in Product and Business Model Alike
The Sustainable Brands London conference will serve as the center of gravity for companies that are committed to leveraging sustainable innovation as a driver of business and brand value. Learn how companies like yours are measuring and managing Social Sustainability by partnering with PRe, the company at the forefront of sustainability metrics for more than twenty years
Understanding the landscape for sustainability metrics
A sustainable future for your organization starts by understanding your business’s sustainability landscape. In this article Simon Evitts explains how to start with an integration roadmap and a sustainability metrics SWOT analysis.
How to Select Relevant Indicators for Decision Making in Sustainability
Though many companies are increasingly assessing the impacts of their products, the focus is often only on climate change. Yet, decisions made solely on the basis of a carbon footprint may result in the shifting of burdens.
A brief on the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint Guide
The European Commission released the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Guide in April, 2013, along with the Organizational Environmental Footprint (OEF) Guide, under the premise of the “Single Market for Green Products Initiative.” The objective is to support a single metric for a single market, thus enhancing transparency and fair competition.
PCR Guidance Review for the Sustainable Apparel Coalition
PRé was commissioned to review the internal PCR Guidance documents for the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. This coalition spans about one-third of the apparel (clothing and shoes) sector. Their aim is to create a Higgs index for all apparel, reflecting the environmental impact
What does an LCA do, anyway? A 20 Year perspective
What do carbon footprints, water footprints, environmental product declarations, the GHG protocol, and PAS 2050 all have in common? These metrics, B2B communication platforms, and standards all adopt a life-cycle perspective.
Deciding for Sustainability
Product information — or making the invisible, visible — and clear sustainability goals are at the core of making informed and better sustainability choices. This is the second in a serie of columns in which Simon Evitts gives his insight on the importance of Sustainability Metrics Integration
TRAINING
Sep 25-26 | SimaPro and LCA: essentials
Sep 25-27 | SimaPro and LCA: in-depth
Oct 17-18 | Product Environmental Footprint
Nov 20-21 | SimaPro and LCA: essentials
Nov 20-22 | SimaPro and LCA: in-depth
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