3 Benefits of Incorporating LCA into your Product Design

Product design entails balancing product performance with the diverse expectations of customers, management, and regulations. Sometimes it’s a challenge to give sustainability the priority that it requires. However, you can create a lifecycle assessment (LCA) to pragmatically and efficiently incorporate environmental considerations into your design. By doing so, you can realize (at least) 3 key benefits:

1. Maximizing Environmental Impact Reduction

The core principle of Ecodesign is minimizing environmental impacts throughout the entire product life cycle. In this pursuit, it’s crucial not to rely on popular (but often inaccurate) beliefs about sustainability, such as “glass is better than plastic”, or “plant-based food has low impacts”.

Instead, quantify the environmental footprint of your products with LCA. By employing LCA methodologies, you gain precise insights into the environmental footprint of your products, pinpointing the production processes and materials that contribute most significantly to environmental degradation. Armed with this knowledge, you can explore alternative design options that effectively mitigate these impacts.

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2. Convincing Stakeholders with Data

LCA provides you with concrete data, proving how (much) different design ideas reduce the product footprint.

Your most important stakeholders might be your customers. After the greenwashing scandals of the past decade, today’s customers expect robust data supporting your green claims. Even regulatory bodies like the EU insist on it. Thus, use LCA data to showcase the superiority of your product design over conventional alternatives.

Next level tip: educate customers about the difference they make when using your product responsibly (LABFRESH sets an example of collaborating with the consumer to reduce impacts).

3. Comprehensive Corporate Responsibility

LCA can analyze your product “from cradle-to-grave”. Some companies focus solely on improving their production processes (“-to-gate”), which can save energy and costs. However, effective ecodesign practices go beyond mere production optimization; they involve promoting sustainable consumer behaviors and adopting circular approaches to material usage. True corporate responsibility encompasses considering the entirety of a product’s lifecycle!

Beyond assessing just carbon footprints, LCA unveils the broader environmental impacts across various crucial categories. This broader perspective prevents tunnel vision on carbon emissions and facilitates the design of products that genuinely benefit the planet. While climate protection may be a priority, you don’t want to unknowingly increase, for example, toxic effects on the environment or human health with your design measures. LCA warns you of such tradeoffs in advance, increasing your awareness of the impacts of your design decisions.

Author image Lena  Nickel
Author
Lena Nickel

I'm Researcher & writer at Ecochain. During my studies in Global Sustainability Science, LCA really captured my interest. It continues to fascinate me in my current Master in Energy Science, where I also conduct LCAs myself. I love researching & writing (and learning more!) about these crucial topics now for Ecochain's Knowledge Blog.

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