Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Sustainability is responding to basic needs and fostering a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources, pollutants, emissions, and waste over the life cycle of the product or process so as not to jeopardize the needs of further generations.

A surge of legislation, development of standards and consumer awareness has increased the need for companies to demonstrate innovation in design, transparency and reporting for their products and packaging. Intertek’s team of sustainability experts support companies as they navigate issues of compliance, efficiency and management in their sustainability efforts. Comply with building certification material requirements (e.g. LEED®, WELL Building Standard, BREEAM, Estidama, etc.) or jurisdictional and international eco-labeling guidance (e.g. recycled content, environmental impacts, etc.), with Intertek’s sustainable claims support, certification and verification assurance services.

Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has emerged as an essential and widely recognized framework to understand and measure the environmental, social and economic attributes of a product, material or process. The framework uniquely identifies impacts in the context of established categories that are indicative, replicable and comparable. Our integrative approach to LCA includes; identification of objectives, compliance support, reporting and critical review, bolstered by the use of globally recognized LCA software and databases. LCA tools can be leveraged to support supply chain decision-making, production optimization, compliance reporting, facility and supplier management. LCA has a variety of applications which Intertek’s experienced practitioners support, including:

  • Product development and improvements
  • Circular economy thinking and decision-making
  • Support of marketing claims
  • Improving brand or corporate image
  • Aiding in stakeholder communication
  • Identifying appropriate performance indicators
  • Certification and reporting.

Several frameworks for LCA have been developed, each distinguished by the desired goal, certification or prescribed methodology. Established ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards for the LCA framework provide the baseline for most requirements and are internationally recognized.

Other familiar and sustainability initiatives that adopt LCA fundamentals and are offered through Intertek’s Sustainability expert services, such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), carbon & water footprinting, recycling & waste declarations, sustainable claims support, and sustainable packaging solutions.

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a standardized method of quantifying the environmental impacts of a product or system using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework. EPD’s have stringent labeling requirements and must be subject to independent verification of the declaration and data, as per the following standards:

  • ISO 14025:2006 Environmental Labels and Declarations – Type III Environmental Declarations – Principles and Procedures
  • ISO 21930:2007 Sustainability in Building Construction – Environmental Declaration of Building Products
  • EN 15804: 2013 Sustainability of Construction Works. Environmental Product Declarations.

EPD’s are often sought after in the building and construction products and materials industry, made popular by market-driven sustainable building certification programs, such as LEED®, WELL Building Standard, BREEAM, Living Building Challenge, etc. A verified EPD can contribute to compliance with credits and requirements in these programs.

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