An ecolabel is a seal of approval given to a product that is deemed to have fewer impacts on the environment than other similar products in the market. This way organisations can deliver more sustainability initiatives throughout their production process and consumers can be made aware of environmental products in a unified way. In the EU this is currently a voluntary policy; however, mandatory regulation is likely to be introduced in the near future. So how prepared are you?
Getting Started with Life Cycle Assessments
Ecolabelling is often based on Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). This is an assessment that accounts for the entire life cycle: from resource extraction and manufacturing, through to use phases and end-of-life. You’ll need to be prepared to collect the data for every phase of your production line so that you can assess the impact of all stages. For example, your carbon emissions, water scarcity, water pollution, and biodiversity impacts are just some of the impacts belonging to the score of an ecolabel. You can work to reduce your carbon emissions, and then offset or inset (insetting is offsetting in your value chain) them to achieve Carbon Neutral for your products.
This doesn’t just help you understand your product better, but it also helps you identify where your biggest impacts are. It can help with the choice of ingredients, or even with packaging alternatives where you can select a material that can be optimised for transportation and improved shelf life. LCA is a great framework to ‘eco-design’ your production line but also to identify new innovations and future cost savings. We specialise in creating LCA tools and software that allows you to simplify the technical analysis so you can scale your calculations and forecast what your ecolabel will look like.
Ecolabelling can also benefit your bottom line. As customers become more environmentally conscious, the demand for more sustainable products accelerates. An ecolabel communicates to all of your stakeholders that you are successfully tracking your impacts on the environment which positively reflects your brand and as a result, your sales. Due to the complexities of an LCA and the time it can sometimes take, those who have started early can make the most of this competitive advantage and lead the way in ecolabelling.
Reaching Net Zero and Beyond
When considering ecolabelling you can also set out to achieve Carbon Neutral for your product by reducing and offsetting the emissions. Due to carbon emissions being factored into your LCA, you will have done the work to measure and reduce your product’s lifecycle. You can go even further and look at your entire company’s emissions and see what it takes to be a Net Zero Carbon company.