Life Cycle Assessment: finding the best approach for your company
If the business relevance and data infrastructure are not assessed they may introduce unnecessary costs. Which life cycle approach is ideal for you?
Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) are designed to bring transparency. But if the business relevance and data infrastructure are not assessed they may introduce unnecessary costs. Which life cycle approach is ideal for you?
By Michela van Kampen, Senior consultant Sustainability, Philips Engineering Solutions
Realizing compliance – without overspending
LCA is a scientific method for assessing the environmental impact of a product or service associated with a product’s cradle-to-grave lifecycle. EU regulations, international (green marketing) standards and market demand are increasingly urging manufacturers to provide greater transparency on the composition and environmental performance of their products.
The potential danger of this is the proliferation of certified LCA schemes such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) as a means in itself, imposing excessive costs to companies.
How to make the right decision for your organization?
Critics claim that underlying assumptions and choice of scope and data can steer the outcome of any LCA towards a result that best suits the owner. Several mutually reinforcing developments will counter this whilst increasing the necessity of using (simplified) LCA within businesses. Philips Environment, Health & Safety advises companies to assess whether formal LCA and/or certified schemes such as EPD are needed and if so to what extent and for what purpose. In many cases, qualitative life-cycle thinking or internal simplified LCA tools can be sufficient.
Find out which approach best fits your situation
Would you like to know more? Do you need assistance in assessing LCA relevance for your company?
- For the latest developments in LCA download the extended version of this article (pdf).
- Find out more about LCA in practice
- The upcoming ISO14001 standard incorporates the life cycle approach. What might this mean for you?