A product’s environmental cost indicator (ECI) as used by INSIDE/INSIDE gives insights into the impact a product or material has on the environment. It adds all the relevant environmental effects that occur during the life-cycle of a product and displays them in one indicator.
The life-cycle assessment (LCA) has seven indicators for environmental impact per product. These indicators are combined into one number: the shadow cost, in Euros, per product unit. In other words: “The environmental costs are the investment needed to counteract the negative repercussions on the environment. A product with low environmental costs is better than one with high environmental costs.”
Each product has a total score made from adding phase A-C (production, transport, and waste processing) and subtracting phase D (re-use and recycling potential). This offers insights into the impact a product has on the environment both from use and from the potential impact at the end of its life.
A life-cycle assessment is a method to chart environmental impact. The full life-cycle of a product is taken into account, from the sourcing of raw materials to production, use, waste processing and re-use scenarios. For each phase of a product, a calculation is made of the environmental impact. Extensive information is needed on a product to make a life-cycle assessment, such as:
- Product composition in kilograms per material type including transport used and distance transported
- Energy used during production process
- Air, ground and water emissions per kilograms product
- Waste types and quantities per kilograms product
- Packaging used per kilograms of product
- Products required for application such as primers
- Products required for use and maintenance of your product such as paint or cleaning materials
If you want to gain insight into the environmental impact of your product but do not know where to start, follow this step-by-step process.