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Taking Life Cycle Assessment further

LCA is a powerful tool for understanding the environmental impact of a product or service from cradle to grave, but by working with other approaches it can help drive sustainability deeper and further adding real business value to organisations.

Take the Circular Economy for example. Large corporations and governments alike agree that keeping products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times it is one of the paths to a sustainable future. Making it happen requires rigorous knowledge of these materials, which is where LCA comes in. Barbara Nebel, thinkstep’s Managing Director Australia/New Zealand, will present how LCA can help to assess the environmental impact of a product when designed to be part of a circular solution at the ALCAS 2015 Conference Series.

thinkstep, a global player in sustainability performance management, is a bronze sponsor of LCM Australia 2015 and AusBuildLCA. Barbara will use real results from a building material study to show the potential impact on businesses when implementing circular solutions or business models, based on inputs in the production process, utility during use phase, destination after use and the efficiency of recycling.

Another interesting crossover is between LCA and natural capital accounting (NCA) in product design. Whilst the costs of pollution, ecosystem depletion and health impacts now exceed almost $3 trillion for global companies, these natural capital costs are still largely externalised and not tracked by companies. Linking NCA with LCA helps to quantify and therefore mitigate this risk. Again at LCM Australia 2015, Barbara will use the production of aluminium to show how to quantify these dependencies on natural capital and put a price against it. This type of accounting helps product designers and other decision makers choose more sustainably.

With more than 20 years’ experience, thinkstep enables companies to succeed sustainably through the use of proven and easy to use software, peer reviewed and annually updated data and professional services based on learnings and experience from every major industry. thinkstep’s GaBi Life Cycle Assessment software permits over 10,000 users to do precise sustainability calculations across all parts of the supply chain. Clients in Australasia include the Timber Development Association, Dairy Australia, David Trubridge, New Zealand Merino, Bluescope Steel, Fletcher Building, Knauf Plasterboard, WE-EF lighting and Bega Cheese.

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