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The implementation of organizational LCA to internally manage the environmental impacts of a broad product portfolio: an example for a cosmetics, fragrances, and toiletry provider

  • André Moreira de Camargo
  • Silvia Forin
  • Keyvan Macedo
  • Matthias Finkbeiner
  • Julia Martínez-BlancoEmail author
LIFE CYCLE MANAGEMENT

Abstract

Purpose

This paper presents the implementation of O-LCA by a Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer. The case study was developed within the framework of the road testing of the “Guidance on organizational LCA” of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. The aim is to illustrate methodological choices and implementation challenges encountered by the company, i.e., related to the broad product portfolio. The study demonstrates that O-LCA allows quantifying and managing environmental impacts throughout global supply chains and for every individual product.

Methods

O-LCA provides the methodological framework for applying LCA to organizations, and a set of application options based on the structure and experience of organizations. The reporting organization is NATURA Brazil in 2013. The 2600 products in the portfolio are modeled in this first exercise of the company through the bestsellers at each of its ten product category groups. A hybrid approach is considered for data collection: top-down approach for modeling corporate activities and bottom-up approach for upstream and downstream life cycle phases. The data sources are NATURA’s recordings, data gathered from suppliers, estimates from mass and energy balances, and life cycle inventory databases. The approach to acquire direct data or use life cycle databases depends on the representativeness of each raw material or packaging.

Results and discussion

The results show that major impacts could be detected during use phase that demands water and energy to use rinse-off products (the use phase of NATURA’s products contributed over 41% to most impact categories), and in the supply chain, and generated during the obtaining of plant origin ingredients and materials for packaging. Overall, the whole NATURA had in 2013 a potential impact on climate change of 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 eq, a natural land transformation of 1.3 million m2, and a fossil depletion of 0.23 million tonnes of oil eq, among other impacts. Apart from the results at the organizational level, individual results for product bestsellers were calculated and are presented here.

Conclusions

The study confirmed the applicability of the O-LCA model at NATURA, addressed operational issues related to broad product portfolios, considering several dimensions such as data quality and availability, LCA software, and data management. Despite NATURA’s existing practices and previous knowledge in modeling environmental impacts of products and corporate activities, managing the large amount of data involved prove being a complex task. The company identified gaps and opportunities able to guide future method implementation and LCA-based management.

Keywords

Bestseller Bottom-up Corporate strategy ISO/TS 14072 Life cycle assessment O-LCA guidance Representative product 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MACJEN Engineering for SustainabilitySão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Technology, Chair of Sustainable EngineeringTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Sustainability DepartmentNatura Cosméticos S.A.São PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Inèdit Innovació s.l., Research Park of UAB, UAB CampusBellaterraSpain

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