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Life Cycle Assessment – LCA

LCA: Quantifying impacts and making decisions

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is carried out within our Design for Tomorrow department and is included in the eco-design justification file to assess the eco-sustainability of a product throughout its development.

More specifically, LCA aims to quantify and identify all the material and energy flows involved in the life of a product, service or process through :

  • taking into account the entire “life cycle” to avoid impact transfers between two life cycle stages
  • a multi-criteria analysis: global warming, depletion of natural resources, water consumption, etc.
  • a standardised analysis: ISO 14040, ISO 14044, EIME software (Bureau Veritas)

Why do a life cycle assessment?

The life cycle analysis is the first step in conducting an informed and relevant eco-design approach thanks to the quantification and evaluation of the impacts of the entire life cycle of a product. It enables the comparison of choices on a global scale (recycling, relocation of production) or local scale (design element, manufacturing process). Finally, LCA targets the best levers for reducing the overall impact.

What are the steps in a life cycle assessment?

Life cycle assessment is an iterative process, each phase of an LCA uses the results of the previous phases and there is a back and forth process each time

LCA is a 5-step process starting with the definition of the objectives and scope of the study, followed by the inventory. The inventory includes the identification and quantification of elements such as manufacturing processes (including the elimination of process and product waste), the production and consumption of fuels, electricity and heat, lighting and heating, distribution and the various types of packaging, and the recovery of products after use (reuse, recycling and energy recovery). The third step of the LCA is the assessment of the environmental impacts, leading to the fourth step which is the analysis of the assessment results.

The key step of an LCA: the 5th step, Act

The 5th step is a result of the life cycle analysis carried out. Faced with the findings, impacting actions can be implemented:

  • Eco-design of the product, an expertise supported by our mechanical and electronic design office
  • The choice of recycled plastic materials
  • Rethinking the product’s end-of-life with Altyor’s Refurbishing / Recycling loops

Example of a life cycle assessment

The following is an extract from the life cycle analysis of a connected button. This graph allows us to identify which phase of the life cycle has the most impact. We can see that the production phase, in orange on the graph, is the most costly in terms of the product’s environmental footprint.

FAQ life cycle assessment
  • It is a multi-criteria approach that aims to quantify and identify all the material and energy flows involved in the life of a product, a service or a process, with the final objective of knowing its impact on the environment.

  • To carry out an LCA is to conduct an informed and relevant environmental approach thanks to the quantification and evaluation of the impacts of the entire life cycle of a product. Thanks to the identification of the product life stages that have a strong impact on the environment, you can act accordingly to reduce your environmental footprint.

  • Life cycle assessment is an analysis that quantifies the impacts of the product studied on 19 indicators based on European standards (PEF), including global warming potential, depletion of natural resources, acidification, ozone depletion, eutrophication, water consumption, etc.

  • There are four main steps in conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA):

    1. Definition of the objects and the field of study
    2. Life cycle inventory (LCI)
    3. Impact assessment
    4. Interpreting the results
  • Several software programs exist. Altyor is equipped with EIME software, a secure web application specialised in quantifying the environmental impact of products. Thanks to this tool and a specialised team within Altyor, we are able to carry out life cycle assessments of electronic products.

  • The life cycle corresponds to all the stages in the life of a product:

    • the manufacture of all parts of a product
    • transport, which is used to move these parts (both individual parts and the finished product) from the extraction of raw materials to the manufacturing process (plastic injection, moulding, etc.)
    • use, what the product consumes during its use by the consumer in terms of energy (electricity, batteries, etc.)
    • the end of life of the product: the impacts linked to waste management (recycling, re-use, incineration, etc.)
  • In the context of the development of a new product, the LCA is an analysis to be carried out during the design phase, during the various prototyping phases, in order to influence the choice of materials, processes, manufacturing sites, etc. The analysis will make it possible to minimise the impacts as soon as possible.

    In the context of a product already in production, LCA makes it possible to understand the eco-responsible actions that have a real impact on the environment. A common misconception is that transport plays a major role, which is not always the case. So before changing your entire production scheme, carry out your life cycle analysis, which will enable you to implement relevant improvements in version 2.

Guide analyse cycle de vie

Comment faire une analyse de cycle de vie – ACV ?

Nous vous aidons à calculer et analyser l’empreinte écologique de votre produit grâce à l’ACV.
L’analyse de cycle de vie est le point de départ pour comprendre l’impact de votre produit sur l’environnement. Pour bien comprendre les tenants et aboutissants de ce qu’on appelle l’ACV (analyse de cycle de vie), nous avons rassemblé 14 réponses qui apporteront un éclairage.

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