In this article
Understand the environmental impact of your products and build consumer trust around your brand
 3 min read

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systematic evaluation of environmental impacts, such as CO2 emission, use of water, energy and land, waste production and biodiversity. LCA is validated and science based. It calculates the environmental impact of the production, distribution and use of a product. The quantification of the impact makes it possible to compare several production methods, ingredients and packaging materials. Doing LCA, it becomes clear how you can reduce the environmental impact of products effectively and how to monitor progress in a transparent way.

Prioritising actions

LCA aims to evaluate the whole life cycle of a product, from the raw materials to the end-of-life. A pilot LCA identifies the most environmentally unfriendly phases, the so-called hotspots. For example, the production of the raw materials is the biggest environmental burden for pasta production, see figure below. Such information guides to prioritise actions, therefore serving the businesses’ strategy. As a result, your product portfolio becomes more sustainable. This process may even unlock a new way of thinking that results in a new set of products that appeal to consumers.

 

Fostering collaboration

Companies can influence the processes during food production, but have limited influence on the use of products by consumers. Therefore, it is advised to start the LCA process by taking measures during food production. LCA is an appropriate tool to identify the potential for joint projects with your suppliers to reduce the environmental impacts of products. Together, you can then monitor the success.

Create persuasive communication

The absolute scores of an LCA are often difficult to communicate to non-experts. Thus, we strongly recommend developing a range of benchmarks to help the audience understand. It is recommended to engage stakeholders across the value chain, such as suppliers, clients and consumers, to develop persuasive communication. Engagement with consumers can be achieved in consumer focus groups, which have been identified as a valuable source of information for marketing. Marketers can then tailor the communication to the consumer’s understanding and perception and create a compelling, fact-based story, illustrated with graphics or data visualisation. The example aside shows the impact reductions after packaging improvements.

Burden shifting

“Carbon Footprint” or “Product Carbon Footprint” is a known methodology that gives an idea of CO2 emissions. In practice, LCA is frequently applied to identify greenhouse gas emissions. Taking action on measuring and reducing carbon impacts is an excellent first step; nevertheless, when defining actions to reduce the carbon footprint, it is essential to avoid an increase of other environmental impacts, the so-called “burden shifting”. Therefore, after measuring carbon, most companies take the next step to address additional environmental impacts such as water footprint, impacts on biodiversity, the portion of land used or energy used.

Get started

A pilot LCA can be performed within 6 weeks without extensive data collection. You can read more on conducting a pilot LCA by pressing the “read more” button below. As a leader in food LCA, Quantis can help you get started. Quantis collaborates with diverse organizations to apply the science of environmental measurement to sustainability strategy, engagement and training activities, IT development, as well as reporting and communications. Get in touch at the end of this article or visit www.quantis-intl.com.

Want to get more information about this topic?
Get in touch
Contact person:
Michael Spielmann
Function:
Managing director
Company:
Quantis
Country:
Germany


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