Life Cycle Assessment & Carbon Offsetting
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product or material from across its entire lifecycle. LCAs account for the entire life cycle: from resource extraction and manufacturing, through to use phases and end-of-life scenarios. Studies are usually undertaken either from Cradle to Gate (resource extraction through to manufactured product) or Cradle to Grave (entire life cycle, including use and end of life). This provides a holistic and multi-criteria approach to quantify the environmental impacts which occur because of resource consumption, emissions to the environment and other physical exchanges.
Impact assessment enables quantification and visualisation of environmental impacts across a wide range of categories. The main focus is often greenhouse gas emissions/carbon footprint, however, multiple other impacts can be quantified such as water use, land use, acidification potential and human toxicity.
LCA can assist in:
- Benchmarking and comparing of products
- Identifying environmental ‘hot spots’
- Identifying opportunities for improvement
- Informing decision-making
- Product circularity studies and circular economy appraisals
- Marketing; supporting environmental statements, ecolabelling schemes and certification schemes such as LEED and BREEAM and Environmental Product Declarations
With experience conducting LCAs across a variety of industries and applications, our team is able to undertake bespoke LCAs to meet your needs. Some of our previous projects include:
- Apparel and textiles
- Buildings and construction products
- Marine biodiversity management
- Transportation services
- Food stuffs and fauna
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are standardised documents which provide data on the environmental impact of a product. The LCA method is used to produce EPDs for all manner of items. Producing EPDs is voluntary, but is an invaluable way to provide transparency and promote awareness of the environmental impacts associated with a product’s consumption and use.
The demand for products with EPDs is growing and EPDs are increasingly becoming a way to provide product differentiation for the consumer which will enhance the likelihood of selection or specification as public sector bodies and some private companies set minimum environmental standards for the products in their supply chains.
EPDs are third party verified by the relevant body within a given geographical region. Our team’s role is to gather all of the relevant product data, undertake the LCA, report in the standardised format and liaise with the relevant body to get the EPD published.
Carbon offsetting is the process of compensating for the emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases by providing for an emission reduction elsewhere. CO2 removal from the atmosphere can be achieved by an activity such as planting, if the removal of CO2 from a project is equivalent to that emitted by an activity, then the activity can be classed as “carbon neutral.” The key is that the activity that removes CO2 must be in addition to what would have happened anyway.
The challenges with many existing offset schemes is the sponsor of an offsetting activity often has little or no visibility on where exactly the funds go and whether the CO2 removal and ecosystem benefits were actually achieve in practice.
We do things differently. Eight Associates has been working with conservation and biodiversity enhancement schemes around the UK and abroad. Our approach is to identify and evaluate nature-based offsetting Projects, these Projects are intended to be as local to your geographical region or ecosystem as possible. Our priority is to create a scheme which is more local to you and one where you will be able to see where your contributions are going, and the benefits being realised.
As greenhouse gases are emissions that have global influence, the impact on climate change occurs regardless of where the emissions are. Consequently, CO2 offsetting schemes often achieve better cost-benefit in countries outside of the UK. Our approach is to use a combination of Projects in the UK and abroad to maximise the environmental benefits for your budget.
Our team specialises in quantifying ecosystem services. Many offset or nature-based schemes focus purely on CO2. We do things differently. Environmental sustainability is about a lot more than CO2, our environmental specialists use an ISO compliant LCA methodology to verify the benefits of biodiversity, species protection, air quality and flood risk, as well as many other environmental indicators. This unique approach provides a comprehensive overview of your Project and allows us to first measure, and then verify the many environmental benefits that a successful Project can deliver.