We have been involved in LCA situations where the client has very little involvement other weekly status update meetings, and, others where the client would like to operationalize and internalize life cycle thinking (LCT.)
Our LCA study engagements are customized to meet your environmental communication requirements and sustainability directives. How the results of the LCA are to be shared is a primary factor in determining how an LCA engagement is structured. We help you answer the questions, “Why LCA? Disclosure? Stakeholder engagement? Product and process performance? Regulatory requirements?” The answers to these questions drive the project and resource requirements plans.
We have produced LCA templates in the client software and provided internal training to allow the client to move the project forward and integrate LCA into new product development. At the other end of the spectrum, we have produced LCA studies which have been used to provide an impact standard for products in a specific industry sector, and, the client requirement has been met by the baseline study. Our approach is not to install a team of consultants in your firm.
We are there to meet the project requirements and establish a solid understanding of how LCA is best utilized. Typically, we are where a company would start their path to sustainability, whether it be due to customer requests for more transparency, supply-chain requirements, or, any other situation which is requiring you to know what the environmental impacts are of your process, product or service (EPDs). We can also help you get started on your sustainability reporting and provide on-going LCA support.
Steps to structuring an LCA engagement
We envision a scenario where companies view LCA as a practical means to improve communications with their customers, investors, supply-chain, and between internal departments.
There’s a lot of value that can come from conducting an LCA:
- Determining where to focus resources which will produce the highest level of impact
- Efficiency improvements
- Product and process innovation
- Clearer marketing messaging
- Improved supply-chain communication
- Establishing a baseline
- Identifying “hot spots”
- Enabling companies to continue doing business within certain sectors
- Sustainability reporting
Although there are no standard engagement “packages”, we suggest starting things off with a ½ day “Introduction to LCA” which will be tailored to your firm and industry sector. This will cover LCA basics, explore any practical considerations for your firm’s industry sector and discover what your needs and requirements are. Finally, your needs and requirements would lead to concluding with recommended “Next Steps.” We have used this methodology to help clients scope out their project and then, the client will either hire us to do the job, use the session output to put the job out to bid (often via a Request for Proposal), or, the client themselves developing a new set of project requirements used to implement a long term sustainability program.
How it works
Every company is different, but, there are underlying management systems which most companies typically have: sales, marketing, purchasing, accounting, business development, R&D, manufacturing engineering, shop-floor control, MIS, facilities management, etc.
By having as many departments in the same room at the outset, the following efficiencies are achieved:
- Effective uses of LCA information are fleshed out: are the results to be used internally, for a marketing claim, or, to meet regulatory requirements, for example.
- It is critical to get as much use as possible out of your LCA undertaking. For example, even though your initial goal may be to support a marketing claim, the information may also be used to inform your supply-chain, and, or, become part of your annual sustainability reporting.
- Where to focus scenario modeling efforts can be determined
- Identify where and how data is stored and accessed
- Identification of data gaps
We want to hear from everyone during the requirements gathering phase. This initial time investment will serve to improve efficiencies in the project from the get-go. As LCA is a very data intensive process, the more we know about how and where your data is stored and accessed, the easier it is to identify data gaps and address them early on in the project, therefore, not hindering the project as it unfolds.
Why it works
- The requirements gathering phase highlights every business area that can benefit from an LCA engagement.
- We don’t overwhelm our clients with LCA jargon.
- We focus on what is happening in your business sector and tailor the session accordingly.
- Our project training is focused on preparing your staff to handle LCA efforts internally.
- We have run independent comparative analyses of all of the major LCA tools out in the market and understand which tools will meet your specific needs.
- Our studies are ISO 14040 and 14044 compliant. EPDs are 14025 compliant.
- We network with peer-reviewers, as needed.
- Due to considerable time spent in process manufacturing, process analysis, MRP/ERP software and database systems, application software, systems design and project management, we have the business acumen to effectively navigate the phases of l ife-cycle assessment without getting bogged down in any one area.
- By partnering with Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC), which has a proven track-record in helping clients that are big enough to want a strategic approach to sustainability, but don’t necessarily have the staff, budget, or expertise to do it all themselves, we have the big picture sustainability vision which complements the LCA project.
- Combining these two perspectives, the overall sustainability environment with the more focused LCA perspective insures our clients are getting the strategic and tactical advice they need. And, making certain that the financial investment pays off for as many business units as possible.