LCAs & EPDs

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) are two tools that can be used to assess the environmental performance of products and services. LCA is a more comprehensive approach that considers the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal. EPDs are a more standardized way to communicate the environmental performance of a product or service. 

Pros of LCAs

Comprehensive: LCA considers the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal. This makes it a more complete and accurate way to assess the environmental performance of a product or service. 

Comparative: LCA can be used to compare the environmental performance of different products or services. This can help businesses to identify more sustainable options. 

Identifying opportunities for improvement: LCA can be used to identify opportunities for improvement in the environmental performance of a product or service. This can help businesses to reduce their environmental impact. 

Cons of LCAs

Complex and time-consuming: LCA can be a complex and time-consuming process. This can make it difficult and expensive to conduct an LCA. 

Sensitive to assumptions and data: The results of an LCA can be sensitive to the assumptions and data used. This means that it is important to carefully consider the assumptions and data used in an LCA. 

Not a perfect tool: LCA is not a perfect tool. It cannot be used to make absolute statements about the environmental performance of a product or service. 

 

Pros of EPDs

Standardised: EPDs are produced according to a standardized methodology. This ensures that they are comparable and that the information they contain is consistent. 

Produced by independent third parties: EPDs are produced by independent third parties. This helps to ensure their credibility. 

Comparative: EPDs can be used to compare the environmental performance of different products or services. 

Cons of EPDs

Expensive: EPDs can be expensive to produce. 

Not all EPDs are created equal: Not all EPDs are created equal. Some EPDs may be more comprehensive than others. 

Not a perfect tool: EPDs are not a perfect tool. They cannot be used to make absolute statements about the environmental performance of a product or service. 

Conclusion

LCAs and EPDs are both valuable tools for assessing the environmental performance of products and services. However, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. LCA is a more comprehensive tool, but it is also more complex and time-consuming. EPDs are a more standardised and accessible tool, but they may not be as comprehensive as an LCA. 

The best tool to use will depend on the specific needs of the user. If you need to conduct a detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of a product or service, then an LCA is the best option. If you need a more accessible and standardized way to communicate the environmental performance of a product or service, then an EPD is a good choice.

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ITAB became dc members because we believe in value of circular design and see it as part of our long-term business strategy. By working with dc team to launch ITAB Sustainable Services we see an opportunity to strengthen our customer offer whilst protecting and growing our market share.
Jim Murray
Head of Sustainability and Quality ITAB

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