LCA to support marketing and external communication

By Ann-Christin Pålsson

LCA can be used as basis to communicate the overall environmental performance of the products to customers and/or consumers. The information can be used to for example:

  • measure and communicate environmental improvements that have been made on the product.
  • describe where in the life cycle the main environmental impacts are, and what the customer or consumer can do to minimise their part of the impact in the supply chain. For example, the impact in the use phase of the life cycle depends on how the customer actually uses the product.

When using LCA in external communication or marketing, it is strongly recommended to perform a critical review of the study to verify the results; either by an external expert or panel. Any statement or claim that is made based on the results from the LCA must be made in line with the goal and scope, limitations and conclusions from the study.

A specific standard, the ISO 14025, is available for LCA based environmental product declarations (EPD), also referred to as Type III environmental declaration. An EPD communicates the environmental performance of a product.

There are a number of requirements for how the LCA should be performed to be used as basis for and EPD. They concern detailed specifications on how to model the product system in the LCA, what to include, what data to use, which environmental indicators to report, etc. These requirements are developed for different product groups by the industry, and are referred to as Product Category Rules (PCR).

The aim of the PCRs is to achieve comparability in results between different producers of the same product. And as such, the PCRs are valuable and useful as basis for any type of LCA to be used in external communication of results.

For further information about EPDs and available PCRs, please visit the international international network GEDnet (Global Environmental Declarations Network):

See further information regarding Customers and consumers in the “Supply chain activities” part on this website.