Various options are available to assess the environmental impact of products or production processes, depending on the purpose and envisaged size of the project. Therefore we offer a number of different services in relation to impact measurement. A CO2 footprint, an LCA Quickscan and a full LCA (Life Cycle Assessment).
An analysis of a process based on a single indicator, CO2. A CO2 footprint has the advantage that work can be done faster, because a single indicator is considered. This is also the disadvantage, since the environmental effects other than CO2 emissions are not included. In terms of communication, the CO2 footprint does offer advantages, as this is the most commonly used indicator and is therefore known to many people.
Lead time: ± 1 month
An abbreviated LCA to provide insight into a process and to identify the focal points or impact hotspot within it. An LCA Quickscan provides an intital insight into a number of environmental indicators in a more simplified and faster way. In terms of duration and scope, a quick scan therefore falls between a CO2 footprint and a full LCA. It can be used to identify the environmental bottlenecks within a process, where the process can be improved.
Lead time: ± 1 to 3 months
The most comprehensive option, in which the main processes are mapped and the effects of the process steps are included for a large number of indicators.
An LCA can provide support in finding the total impact of products, make a comparison between products or by optimizing process steps and associated impact. In principle, a full LCA study consists of four phases: Definition of the Goal & Scope, Life Cycle Inventory, Life Cycle Impact Assessment and Interpretation. It is important to clearly define the intended purpose and scope of the study in advance, as many of the choices made in the LCA process depend on this definition. In the (data)inventory phase, the input and output flows from the product system to nature are collected. In the next phase, the impact of each of the flows is determined on the basis of a number of impact categories. The fourth and final phase runs simultaneously with the entire process and is used to check assumptions and reliability, draw conclusions and make recommendations. The standards for a full LCA are described in the ISO 14040 series.
Lead time: ± 3 to 6 months
European developments for future ecological footprints – Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)
Ideally, in the future there will be full transparency of the carbon footprint for every product and service on the market. This requires a system that is globally consistent and can guarantee the quality and accuracy of the data. Fortunately, such a system is (slowly but surely) on the way!
The European Commission is currently developing the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF), an improved and harmonized methodology for calculating the ecological footprint of products. The initiative aims to clear up consumer confusion as there are currently multiple LCA standards within the European Union.
The system has been under development for several years now and is currently in the transition phase. This phase will be continued with the implementation and communication phase at the end of 2021. The PEF will eventually be able to provide a standardized impact assessment method, a database with background LCA data, and calculation rules for different industrial sectors. The results of a PEF will be suitable for communication to consumers / purchasing parties and “eco-labeling”; and thus offers complete visibility into the environmental impact of a product.