Here’s how we’re taking our Life Cycle Assessment capabilities to the next level
We have recently upgraded our Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) capabilities to quantify the environmental impact of our products more accurately and better share these results with our customers.
Quantifying reliable lifecycle environmental impact
“We have been working with LCA for many years,” says James Maxted, Global Product Sustainability Director. “What’s new is that we are using a more versatile platform which enables us to significantly improve the accuracy of our LCA data so it is more specific to our operations and products.”
Measuring both the footprint and handprint of our products and processes is increasingly important to our stakeholders. Many of our customers use sophisticated LCA tools and they want reliable and digital data from us for their product Environmental Performance Declarations (EPDs). Decarbonisation is now a big driver, which is prompting our customers and end users to ask for more renewable raw materials in their coatings that have a lower impact on the environment and people.
“LCA is very important because it reliably quantifies the environmental impact across the full lifecycle of a product,” says Gavin Bown, CTO. “We have to avoid false economies, or example circular economy or renewable materials requiring very high energy consumption during their production. LCA gives us the ability to do just that by accurately and transparently quantifying sustainability performance.”
“Our customers are demanding more accurate LCA data, external verification and greater comparability,” says Maxted. “And this is what our new tool and improved data provides.”
Introducing our new LCA tool
We have chosen to use Sphera Solutions‘ GaBi Professional software, which is the same LCA platform that many of our customers already use. This makes it easy to exchange data on common environment impacts in a format best suited to our customer’s needs – from carbon footprint and ozone depletion to the use of resources and eco toxicity. GaBi generates a package of aggregated data from reliable and internationally recognised data sets such as Ecoinvent as well as ones that are specific to the coatings industry. “Importantly, GaBi enables us to incorporate our own data sets that are specific to our production and products to provide even greater accuracy for our LCAs,” says Maxted. “This provides customers with real Beckers data in a format they can easily use. It is clearly in our own and our customers’ interests to have more representative data on environmental impacts.”
“LCA also supports our own Beckers Sustainability Index, which gives a very holistic view of sustainability and aims to help our customers to make more sustainable choices,” says Bown. “LCA supports our index, but I believe we will increasingly use them together going forward.”
Toward more sustainable coatings
As we move to more sustainable coatings, it is crucial that we can quantify their footprint to verify their sustainability performance compared with conventional products. We are collaborating with a leading LCA consultancy and work closely with our customers and suppliers.
“From a cradle to gate perspective, our suppliers and raw materials are responsible for a large proportion of our products’ environmental impact,” concludes Maxted. “So properly capturing accurate data throughout our value chain is fundamental to what we are trying to do at Beckers in terms of sustainability.”