Carbon Footprint Awareness
'Our LCA model shows you how to lower your carbon footprint'
Sustainability is one of Trioworld's top priorities. One of the ways we make that happen is through our life-cycle assessment (LCA) models. But what are they exactly and how can our customers benefit from this? We asked Christin Liptow, Group Sustainability Expert at Trioworld.
Christin Liptow has a lot of experience with biobased materials and focused on life-cycle assessment in her PhD. For nearly a year now she's been working on LCA in films.
LCA is a method to assess the environmental impact of a product, from the cradle (when e.g. drilling for the oil or preparing recycled film) to the grave (when e.g. incinerating the film). LCA uses the input needed to produce the product (such as oil or electricity) as well as the output (such as wastewater) and translates them into environmental impact potentials, such as climate change.
Carbon footprint awareness
Life-cycle assessments aren't actually new; the packaging industry has been working with them for more than thirty years. Over time, awareness of LCA and carbon footprint has been increasing, and today more and more companies are asking for product options with a lower carbon footprint.
At Trioworld, working with LCA has several purposes. One of them is to find opportunities to lower our impact, Liptow explains. “Let's say you have a raw material with a high carbon footprint, which has a big influence on our overall impact. You can then try to replace it with something that comes with a lower footprint.”
LCA results are also applied in policy making. “For example a lot of information from the LCA of biofuels has gone into the policy making process of biofuels”, Liptow explains.
Helping our customers with their sustainability
One of the major reasons why Trioworld uses LCA is to support their customers in choosing a film with the lowest carbon footprint. “We can support our customers when it comes to the environmental pillar of sustainability”, Liptow says. “We can provide alternatives to products that have a higher environmental impact, or compare different generations of the same product.”
At the same time it's a good way of creating awareness regarding developments in film. “We can actually show the impact with numbers, you can really make it tangible. For example, we can help our customers realise that there's also PCR material for the type of film they want.”
The focus of a life-cycle assessment could be many things, but for Trioworld's customers it's all about the product. If you want to concentrate on product level, LCA is the preferred method, Liptow says.
“There are other methods that examine sustainability, but LCA is able to give you a more complete picture. The standard LCA looks into environmental impact, but you also have new developments of investigating social and economic impact.” Because sustainability is about more than just the environment, Liptow says. “We need to be aware there's a difference when talking about sustainable and environmental. Environmental impact is one of the three pillars of sustainability, the other two being social (e.g. child labour, fair wages), and economic impact.
At Trioworld we currently focus on the environmental aspects of the LCA. In the future, however, it would be worthwhile to look into the other two aspects as well.”
Liptow is convinced that using LCA would be beneficial for companies, “as it's a good way to gain an insight into your own environmental challenges and what you could work on to lower your impact.”
“My feeling is that the sustainability awareness in society will increase, also when it comes to the social impact. But right now, the environmental aspect is the entry point for a more complete sustainability picture.”
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