What is an LCA and 10 reasons to use it

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a method to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product, process or activity over its entire life cycle. This includes the extraction of raw materials, the production of the product, its distribution, its use and its disposal phase. LCA is a holistic approach that considers all environmental impacts of a product or activity, including impacts on air and water quality, land use and natural resource depletion.

There are several reasons for using LCA, including the following:

  1. LCA provides a complete picture of the environmental impacts of a product or activity, enabling a more informed decision-making process.
  2. LCA can identify potential hotspots and areas for improvement in the life cycle of a product or activity so that targeted action can be taken to reduce environmental impacts.
  3. LCA can be used to compare the environmental performance of different products or processes so that more sustainable design choices can be made.
  4. LCA can be used to support the development of environmentally friendly(r) products and processes.
  5. LCA can be used to support the implementation of environmental regulations and standards.
  6. LCA can be used to support the development of environmental management systems.
  7. LCA can be used to support environmental labelling and certification systems.
  8. LCA can be used to support marketing and communication.
  9. LCA can be used to support the integration of environmental considerations (e.g. ESG policy) into strategic decision-making.
  10. LCA can be used to support the transition to a circular economy.

The latter point, by the way, is still a fairly new application route. By nature, LCA is a rather static way of calculating impact. Applying LCA in a circular production chain requires much more dynamic aspects. At Ecoras, we are working on developing these circular LCA aspects to assess not only the sustainability but also the circularity of materials.

Wondering how we do this? Contact Micha Klaarenbeek at m.klaarenbeek@ecoras.nl or call: +3150 317 5550