The road to sustainability: how Life Cycle Assessment drives green innovation

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life cycle assessment

The road to sustainability: how Life Cycle Assessment drives green innovation

In the age of environmental awareness, sustainability has become a core principle in business. There are several tools to achieve this goal, but one of them stands out for its completeness and applicability: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This is a structured, scientifically based, internationally recognized method for quantifying the environmental impact associated with a product, service, or process, from the origin of raw materials, through production, distribution, and use, to recycling or final disposal.

Life Cycle Assessment in the sustainable world

LCA is a complex approach, based on ISO standards 14040 and 14044, to quantify and understands the environmental impact (carbon footprint), including energy and resources consumption, air, water, and soil emissions, and waste generation.

The 360-degree view provided by the LCA is fundamental for planning actions to reduce the ecological footprint and increase sustainability.

Indeed, not only does this tool play an essential role in assessing the environmental impact of products, but it also helps identify opportunities for improvement along the entire value chain and, consequently, generates an important competitive advantage in the market.

By using specific indicators, such as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for climate change or acidification risk potential, it is possible to detect critical points and develop mitigation strategies.

How LCA drives responsible innovation

Applying this method at the development stage can influence the selection of materials and production processes. Through data analysis, it is possible to opt for materials with a lower environmental impact, promote the use of renewable energy and minimize waste production. In addition, it can support the implementation of circular economy strategies, such as recycling or upcycling end-of-life materials.

LCA leads not only to an improvement in environmental product quality but also to a reduction in costs. This is achieved through greater efficiency in the use of resources, optimization of production processes, and reduction of disposal and regulatory compliance costs. In a market that is increasingly sensitive to environmental issues, integrating LCA into business strategy can generate a competitive advantage, increasing the attractiveness of products for environmentally aware consumers and B2B customers who adopt sustainability criteria in their purchasing decisions.

The influence of Life Cycle Assessment on environmental policies

LCA plays a fundamental role in environmental policies: at the institutional level, it can guide the drafting of sustainability-focused laws and regulations, promote the introduction of energy efficiency and foster green innovation.

Furthermore, it can also facilitate the creation of specific instruments for the promotion of sustainability. One of these is the ecolabels, distinctive symbols awarded to products or services: these certifications, based on Life Cycle Assessment, reward attention to environmental impact in the production and use of goods and services.

Another area of application of LCA is the definition of sustainability criteria for public procurement. Administrations can use LCA to select suppliers and products that comply with specific environmental guidelines, thus helping to stimulate the market towards more environmentally friendly solutions.

The influence of Life Cycle Assessment on environmental policies

LCA plays a fundamental role in environmental policies: at the institutional level, it can guide the drafting of sustainability-focused laws and regulations, promote the introduction of energy efficiency and foster green innovation.

Furthermore, it can also facilitate the creation of specific instruments for the promotion of sustainability. One of these is the ecolabels, distinctive symbols awarded to products or services: these certifications, based on Life Cycle Assessment, reward attention to environmental impact in the production and use of goods and services.

Another area of application of LCA is the definition of sustainability criteria for public procurement. Administrations can use LCA to select suppliers and products that comply with specific environmental guidelines, thus helping to stimulate the market towards more environmentally friendly solutions.

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