Product Carbon Assessment
Embodied carbon of a product provides valuable information to help improve sustainability. Carbon footprint is one measure of sustainability, and quantifies the emissions associated with producing a product. Carbon footprint calculation can be a complex process, but with the help of digital technology and qualified professional, it has become much easier to quantify and track emissions.
Lifecycle analysis is a part of carbon footprint analysis which considers both direct and indirect impacts of a product throughout its entire lifecycle. Life cycle assessment involves the four stages of the product's life – manufacturing, use, end-of-life, and recycling/reuse – to evaluate the environmental burden of each stage. Furthermore, lifecycle analysis can help identify environmental opportunities and make informed decisions about product design.
ISO 14040-2:2010 provides a comprehensive guide to lifecycle assessment. This International Standard specifies the requirements for carrying out Life Cycle Assessment in accordance with ISO 14040‐1. It provides an overview of the LCA process, including a definition of terms and an introduction to relevant concepts. The requirements of this International Standard are based on the principles and procedures defined in ISO 14040‐1. However, additional guidance and additional requirements are specified to take into account specific features of LCA carried out in support of environmental management systems.
LCA can be performed in an individual company or as part of an environmental management system (EMS). Environmental performance indicators that capture key environmental impacts of products can be used in an EMS to evaluate and improve the sustainability of a business' operations. LCA can also be used to identify opportunities for reducing environmental impacts, and it is an important tool in product planning and design.