the environmental aspects of our sustainability efforts, the
LCA tool came in handy and today is probably the method of
choice,” he concludes.
Dumelin notes that following the complete edible product
supply chain from cradle to fork, including disposal, revealed
that the environmental impact of the raw materials was usually
much greater than the sum of what followed further down the
chain. It also became clear that consumer behavior and preference could have a significant effect on the upstream environmental impact of a product.
“Evaluation of products or processes for environmental
impact was done for decades before it was called life-cycle
assessment,” explains Len Sauers, adding that P&G was also an
early pioneer in LCA development.
LCAs sometimes return surprising results that run counter
to a company’s assumptions, he says. A classic example is the
comprehensive LCA P&G conducted in 2008, which looked
at energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for all
the company’s product categories. Before conducting the
LCA, P&G researchers intuitively assumed the greatest envi-
Recycling of materials
Source: United Nations Environment Program Division of Technology, Industry and Economics.