Understanding the impact of your beauty packaging: what is a Life Cycle Assessment?
A global framework used by many industries to measure environmental impact, the LCA is adopted by Quadpack to analyse product sustainability
How can we measure the impact of our packaging on the environment? How to provide clients with reliable data about product sustainability? Challenged by these questions and aligned with our Positive Impact Packaging strategy, the Quadpack team looked for tools and solutions that could deliver a comprehensive, science-based environmental impact assessment.
LCA: a common language
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was the chosen framework, as it’s a complete analysis that companies globally use from all industries to measure the impact of their products and services. As the name says, it assesses the impact of a product across all its lifecycle: from the origin to the end. It means that from the raw materials we select to the energies we use for manufacturing, until the transportation methods to deliver our products to clients, we calculate the sustainability impact that each pack has on the environment.
The selected LCA tool measures 22 attributes that cover the wide spectrum related to sustainability, including land, water, air pollution and others. Even though the full information can be provided when requested, Quadpack selected, mainly for internal use, seven of them and added an extra one, circularity, to have a representative view of the impact generated by the products. The selected attributes allow us to make a comprehensive assessment, from the resources used to the potential impact at the end of life. They are:
The next step was to create a Positive Impact Packaging (PIP) rating that could be applied to all our products and transparently communicated to our clients and final consumers. The PIP rating considers two of these attributes, circularity and climate change, alongside other attributes that answer to market demands: recyclability, recycled content, compostability and the reusability of the pack.
Why these two?
According to Oriol Aran, Quadpack’s Engineering Manager: “Climate change is the most used and understood attribute in LCA and can help us communicate our environmental impact to other companies and clients in a standardised and relatable way. Circularity gives a good overview of the entire process, and therefore how far are we to close its loop, which is important when comparing the benefits from one pack to another.”
Since early 2020, Quadpack has been analysing all products in its catalogue – it’s continuous work, as new products are being launched and updated constantly.
Where are we at now?
All our catalogue products are assessed by the LCA tool, with results delivered upon client requests. Based on each LCA result, we have developed an easy diagram that has been added to the catalogue page and classifies every pack in sustainability levels:
Most importantly, as we believe in not only reducing the negative impact of our products but in having a positive impact, we want to use the LCA to generate sustainable improvement projects. We will then eliminate products that can’t be improved and increase the sustainable offer.
The Life Cycle Assessment is part of a sustainable transformation Quadpack is promoting in its product offer: from design to disposal, we aim our packaging to have a positive impact on the planet. Click here to read more about the PIP strategy.
See here an example of an LCA of our Regula Light Jar.