Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systematic analysis of product life cycle to assess the environmental impact from these products, by taken into an account of raw material acquisition to the end of their products’ life at disposal or recycle stage. At each stage of product manufacture, analysis of environmental impact is carried out by consideration of energy consumption, water consumption, air emission, waste water discharge, etc. that had been used for production of one functional unit.
IVL’s journey towards LCA
As part of our sustainability efforts, IVL monitors the effect of our products on the environment by conducting Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
The reasons for LCA study is to “Quantify the various environmental impacts of the products to be used in the product stewardship program of the company for communicating to the stakeholders”.
Our main product is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which is considered as an environmentally friendly polymer with no concerns to safety during its manufacturing process and use. PET is replacing glass, PVC and Polystyrene and is widely used in food and drink packaging. PET is also the main polymer used in synthetic fibers for textiles, with no adverse concerns to the consumers. PET is the only polymer that is recycled in a closed loop to food packaging or textiles.
Highlights of Products done LCA
IVL has carried out LCA studies for its PET products i.e. Preform, Fibers- Yarn, fabric, wool, Recycled Flake, PET, PIA and PTA and Wool. and understands the impact on the environment during the manufacturing. Together with Industry partners IVL is assessing the LCA of the use of PET including recycling.
IVL worked with the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in order to understand the carbon footprint of PET, to assess its environmental aspects and any potential impacts associated with a product and process. The analysis examined our plants in the Netherlands, Lithuania and Poland. The study concluded that the IVL PET plants perform much better than the European average concerning CO2 emissions.
In addition, AlphaPet, one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in the US, also carried out a Life Cycle Assessment in 2015. The report suggested that the contribution of global warming potential (GWP) of PET manufacturing at the AlphaPet site is comparable to the published literature data.
The Fibers segment conducted LCA studies of >90% products (by volume) produced in Asia in 2017. During 2019 these LCA studies will be revalidated by comparing results across sites and implementing learnings. Other sites, notably Wellman International (for its rPET) and Trevira, have also completed LCA. In all cases, these are to ISO standards and cover cradle to factory gate analysis.
We completed LCAs at all of our plants in Asia (excluding new acquisitions from 2017-2019) in accordance with ISO 14040/44:2006, with plans to extend LCAs to the rest of our operations.
The exercise will help IVL to understand the various environmental impacts of the selected products which will then further be used in the product stewardship program of the company for communicating to the stakeholders.
Life Cycle Management (LCM)
It is the proactive and systematic management of information gained through the LCA that improves decision making. As a result of LCM, IVL is able to more accurately identify cost reductions, process improvements, reduce risks and make strategic product decisions. We intend to commence LCM in all (relevant) IVL operations by 2020.