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The basics of the LCA methodology

So, you have heard about life cycle assessment and how beneficial it is for sustainability in business. But how does that work exactly? How can a request for a report or a call for insight into your supply chain help your competitive position? And how would you get started with any of this? Since all our sustainability consulting services, from corporate-level consulting to single-product assessments, are based around life cycle assessment (LCA), we will give you a quick overview of the methodology.

LCA methodology applications

 

What is LCA?

Life cycle assessment is the factual analysis of a product’s entire life cycle in terms of sustainability. With LCA, you can evaluate the environmental impacts of your product or service from cradle to grave.

LCA is a standardised methodology, which gives it its reliability and transparency. The standards are provided by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in ISO 14040 and 14044, and describe the four main phases of an LCA: goal and scope, inventory analysis, impact assessment and interpretation.

 

Goal & Scope definition

The goal & scope definition ensures the LCA is performed consistently. This is what ensures that your LCA is performed consistently and does what you are trying to achieve.

Read how defining the right goal & scope helped The European Space Agency to drive value.

 

Inventory analysis of extractions and emissions

In the inventory analysis, you look at all the environmental inputs and outputs associated with a product or service, such as the use of raw materials and energy, the emission of pollutants and the waste streams. This is where you get the complete picture.

Read how the inventory analysis helped Lucite understand the environmental impacts of plastic products.

 

Impact assessment

In the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), you draw the conclusions that allow you to make better business decisions. You classify the environmental impacts, evaluate them by what is most important to your company, and translate them into environmental themes such as global warming or human health.

Read how the LCIA step helped AISE determine the hotspots in the life cycle and define advanced sustainability profiles of their products.

 

Interpretation

During the interpretation phase, you check that your conclusions are well-substantiated. This way, you can share your results and improvement decisions with the world without any surprises. 

Read how the C'APEM project applied interpretation to develop an online tool for decision making on building materials.

 

Learn more - Get in touch!

Read our manual to learn more about using LCA applications or let our consultants help you get started with LCA. Get in touch with us, leave us a message in the form below, we will be happy to hear from you!

Download the Manual  

“PRé was able to make complicated methodological concepts very clear for non-experts, which was really useful when they moderated the group of stakeholders, with different levels of understanding of LCA. This resulted in common understanding and team focus on the shared goals. PRé uses a pragmatic approach, keeping things practical and elegant, but basing their work on really robust, scientific methodology.” 

Jodie Bricout, Development Manager CAP’EM.
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