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How product footprinting can be efficient, less complex and less costly

In today's business environment, measuring your product’s environmental footprint is becoming increasingly important. Companies face mounting pressures from regulatory bodies, customers, and other stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. However, many businesses encounter significant challenges when trying to measure their product’s footprint, including limited resources, difficulty accessing impact data, time constraints, high costs, and the need to keep up with ever-changing regulations. In this blog post, we will explore these challenges and discuss how modern solutions can make product footprinting more efficient, less complex, and more cost-effective.

Product Footprints

A product footprint measures the environmental impact of your product throughout its life-cycle. Using LCA methodology, at least 15 different environmental impact categories can be considered. This process raises some key questions: Which impact category should we focus on? How do we calculate it without sustainability knowledge? How much does software cost?

Don’t worry—LCA simplifies this process. As environmental impact reduction becomes increasingly crucial due to climate change and global efforts for a greener planet, many solutions are emerging to make these green goals more attainable and feasible.

Challenges of traditional product footprinting

  • Limited Resources – No resources to measure product footprints: Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) often struggle with limited resources for thorough product footprinting, making it challenging to dedicate and prioritize sustainability efforts.
  • Inaccessible Data  – Collecting primary data on the materials and processes behind your product is essential for accurate product footprinting. However, deciphering this primary data can be complicated and challenging, especially for SMEs with limited resources for data collection.
  • Time Consuming – Traditional methods involve long wait times due to constant back-and-forth with consultants. These consultants typically lack in-house product knowledge and require meticulous coordination for continuous improvement. Collecting data, analyzing it, and compiling reports is time-consuming, diverting resources from other essential business operations.
  • High Costs – Hiring external consultants is expensive, with costs reaching up to tens of thousands of euros for one product footprint.
  • Regulatory Pressure – Keeping up with evolving regulations is a constant challenge. Companies must ensure compliance with current standards while preparing for future changes, which is difficult with limited resources and expertise to prioritize product footprinting efforts.
  • No Ownership – Relying on consultants means you don’t own your product footprinting process. Any changes must go through them, limiting your control.

How to do it The Right Way

Modern Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software solutions offer an efficient, less complex, and more cost-effective approach to product footprinting. These tools address the challenges of traditional methods and provide a practical path forward for businesses of all sizes.

A Solution for Efficient Product Footprinting

At Ecochain, our software, Mobius, exemplifies this approach, delivering several key benefits:

  • Business-User-Friendly – Designed for business users, not just LCA experts. Even without a background in sustainability, you’ll gain fast, actionable insights.
  • Access to Secondary Data – Using LCA software allows access to comprehensive databases of secondary impact data, simplifying the product footprinting process by reducing the need for extensive primary data collection.
  • Fast & Easy – Easy-to-use software that lets you quickly model your products and share environmental impact data with stakeholders, enhancing transparency.
  • Cost-Effective – More affordable than hiring consultants, giving you control and efficiency.
  • Future-Proof – Provides a comprehensive view of multiple impact categories, not just carbon or GHG emissions. You can assess effects on biodiversity and pursue continuous improvement through scenarios and comparison features, preparing you for future regulatory changes.
  • Own Your Data – Take complete ownership of your product footprint, eliminating the need for back-and-forth with consultants and long wait times.

LCA software enables companies to measure their product footprints independently. This self-service approach allows you to take control of your sustainability efforts without relying heavily on external consultants.

Success Stories

Curious how much easier product footprinting can be? Check out these two customer success stories showcasing how Ecochain Mobius helped reduce their products’ environmental impact!

Skullcandy

Skullcandy

Mission

World-renowned audio technology company Skullcandy began its sustainability journey by partnering with us and using our software, Ecochain Mobius, to understand the environmental footprint of their main product categories and reduce their impact.

Skullcandy uncovered significant insights:

Wireless Headphones: Highest impact at 14.2 kg CO2-eq due to size and material requirements.
Wireless Earbuds: Impact of 5.9 kg CO2-eq, sharing many components with the headphones.
Wired Earbuds: Smallest footprint at 0.5 kg CO2-eq, thanks to compact size and lack of batteries.

Ecochain Mobius identified key impact hotspots:

Wireless Products: Batteries and electrical engineering parts.
Wired Products: Plastics and packaging.

Solution to Reducing Their Product’s Impact

Armed with this data, Skullcandy created smaller and more efficient batteries. This was even implemented in their bestselling  Dime true wireless earbuds, reducing the impact of their to just 2.4 kg CO2-eq.

Future Plans

Skullcandy plans to calculate the carbon footprint of all their products, compare them to alternatives, and refine their designs using insights from Ecochain Mobius. This ensures sustainability is central to Skullcandy’s future innovations.

Read full case study

 

ZeroPackaging & Vodafone

ZeroPackaging

Results of using Ecochain Mobius

Mission

ZeroPackaging, an initiative by Paxpring, designs eco-friendly packaging for clients like Samsung, Fairphone, and Vodafone. They partnered with us and used Ecochain Mobius to reduce Vodafone’s product impact.

Product Footprint Insights

Using Ecochain Mobius, ZeroPackaging integrated impact measurement into their design process, continuously testing and learning about the footprint of new processes and materials.

Key Impact Hotspots

Ecochain Mobius identified key impact hotspots, allowing ZeroPackaging  to make sustainable design choices. The software’s intuitive interface and visualization capabilities enabled effective communication of environmental data to customers.

Solution to Reducing Product’s Impact

Vodafone sought ZeroPackaging’s more sustainable signature package – where the packaging was designed smaller and plastic-free, reducing the carbon footprint by 48% without compromising functionality.

Future Plans

With Ecochain Mobius, ZeroPackaging provides carbon footprint and LCA impact outcomes for their designs, enabling sustainable decision-making. They continuously improve and deepen their eco-friendly design choices.

Read full case study

Conclusion

Measuring your product’s environmental footprint is essential for staying competitive and relevant in today’s economy. While traditional methods can be challenging and costly, modern LCA software solutions offer an efficient, less complex, and cost-effective alternative. By starting small and opting for these solutions, you can embark on your sustainability journey, ensure regulatory compliance, and maintain long-term sustainability efforts.

Ready to transform your product footprinting? Explore LCA software like Ecochain Mobius to streamline your sustainability efforts and start making a positive impact today. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Aleksandra Melekhina

As a content marketer with a passion for sustainability, I'm driven to create informative resources that empower businesses to embrace innovation and practices that prioritize environmental well-being

All posts by Aleksandra Melekhina