The LCA, or Life Cycle Assessment, is a method for objectively assessing and quantifying the environmental footprint associated with a product, service or activity throughout its entire life cycle.
Importance of LCA calculation
- The European Commission has defined LCA as the most appropriate method for assessing environmental impacts (IPP (COM (2003) 302);
- The LCA calculation is the first essential step for a company that has reduced the environmental impact and increased the sustainability of a product, service or activity, to be able to communicate this from both an ethical and a normative point of view;
- LCA is a standardised and internationally recognised methodology governed by the ISO 14040 series of certifications.
The LCA calculation can be applied to a product and encompasses all of its life stages starting from the extraction of raw materials, through their transformation and processing; transport; sale; use, reuse, recycling of the product; up to its final disposal. In addition, the LCA method can also be applied to a service, to measure the environmental footprint generated at the different stages leading to its delivery. Finally, the LCA calculation also allows an impact assessment of specific activities, such as events.
The LCA method functions as a first picture of impacts. Through this calculation, it is possible to identify the stages that have the greatest environmental impact throughout the entire production chain of organisations or companies. This allows action to be taken to reduce the impact where there are hotspots and implement strategies to compensate for the residual impact.
Not only that, LCA analysis can also generate economic benefits by highlighting inefficiencies and opportunities to improve one’s competitiveness in the market and in communication. Demonstrating a concrete commitment to sustainability generates more trust and loyalty from customers.
Based on the ISO 14000 family of standards governing LCA calculations, the analysis consists of four steps: Defining the objective and scope of the analysis (ISO 14041); Creating an inventory that includes inputs and outputs for each stage of the product life cycle (ISO 14041); Assessing the environmental impact of the product, process or service (ISO 14042); Interpreting the results (ISO 14043).
zeroCO2 and the LCA calculation
Among the various services zeroCO2 offers companies is the LCA calculation applied to the carbon footprint, which measures the climate-changing potential of an activity by quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in terms of co2.