Assessing environmental and social impacts across the product life cycle
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique that enables companies to profile and compare the environmental performance of new technologies or products. ERM worked with LUKOIL Marine Lubricants, in Hamburg, Germany, to apply international LCA standards to a bespoke new technology that will enable shipping vessels to reuse used lubricant onboard. The LCA results are being used to communicate the product’s environmental credentials by using less resources and producing less waste alongside traditional business metrics such as cost savings. ERM provides LCA services to clients in a wide range of industries to identify and analyze the ways their products affect the environment.
Similarly, social LCA is an emerging offering that applies LCA methods in a sociological context, to help determine a product’s impacts related to social issues such as health and safety, human rights, working conditions and child labor, and other socioeconomic factors. ERM is working with WBCSD’s Sustainable Lifestyles group to identify cross-sector collaborative opportunities that will improve product sustainability performance through the application of social LCA and a series of innovation workshops designed to identify impact-reduction solutions. We are assessing what issues are relevant for high-impact products being consumed at exponential rates in new growth markets such as Brazil, India and China. The goal of the work is to enable consumers in these markets to increase their standard of living in a sustainable way.