One of the most effective tools that responsible organizations are using to measure and reduce their environmental impact are comprehensive life cycle assessments (LCAs) of their products and services.
Many of those organizations lean heavily upon the expertise of WSP USA and its Climate, Resilience and Sustainability (CRS) team, which is collaborating with those organizations to adopt modern and Future Ready® business practices to measure, evaluate and ultimately reduce their environmental impact.
An LCA is a systematic and scientifically rigorous approach to quantify the environmental impacts from the production, transportation, use and end of life of goods or services. These impacts include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water consumption, water quality, energy use and air quality. LCAs — governed by guidelines established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), including 14040 and 14044 — are considered the gold standard in holistic environmental assessment.
LCAs inform an organization’s environmental goal setting and help identify the most cost-effective ways to reduce their environmental impact. Companies with novel technologies or new production methods for common products can benefit from demonstrating the environmental benefits of their methods. An LCA can systematically and scientifically compare the environmental impacts of their product to conventional products. Doing so avoids claims of greenwashing under the FTC Green Guides and allows companies to substantiate external marketing claims that differentiate their products from competitors.
By helping organizations communicate the environmental impacts and benefits of their products, LCAs benefit business-to-business and/or business-to-consumer relationships with clients and consumers, investors and other stakeholders.
Those benefits are illustrated in the case study of two food production companies, Perfect Day and its subsidiary, The Urgent Company (TUC), who both work closely with WSP.