IMSE® LCA Study Achieves ISO LCA Critical Review

IMSE® LCA Study Achieves ISO LCA Critical Review

Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, is the bread and butter when it comes to studying and evaluating the environmental impact of any product or service. LCAs provide the manufacturer or service provider with solid data on what creates the carbon footprint - and in some cases, the handprint - of the products they are bringing to the market. An LCA study usually also takes into account other impact categories than just greenhouse gas emissions, such as acidification and particulate emissions. A Critical Review, done by a panel of experienced LCA experts, is the final step for full ISO standard compliance for all LCAs.

Earlier this year, TactoTek commissioned Dr. Ivan Muñoz of 2.- 0 LCA Consultants to conduct a comparative LCA study for a coffee maker operating panel where we compared a conventional solution to an IMSE solution that provided identical features and functions. Now, the results have been passed through a critical review process, giving the study full ISO-standard compliance. Dr. Ivan Muñoz from 2.-0 LCA Consultants:

“The critical review procedure for a comparative LCA according to ISO 14071, as well as ISO 14040 and ISO 14044,  is a very rigorous one, requiring the participation of at least three external experts to conform the review panel. Our role at 2.-0 LCA consultants during this process has been to receive and reply all comments made by the panel, and when necessary, to introduce changes in the model and/or in the LCA report. Overall, we went through two rounds of review, resulting in a 90-page matrix displaying all comments from the panel and the corresponding replies by 2.-0 LCA consultants”.  

How a Critical Review is Made?

A critical review can be performed in parallel to the LCA study, but most often it is performed once the study is finished and a complete report is available. The latter option was chosen in this study. The aim of the review is to take an objective look into the study in order to verify the input data, methodology and results. The process starts with the creation of a panel and then follows a rigorous process, where the study is commented, revised and in relevant places, changed to accommodate for the requirements of the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards. The panel consisted of four acclaimed experts in the field of LCA:

  • Mike Levy, First Environment, Inc. (Chairperson);
  • Dr. Roland Hischier, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA);
  • Prof. Atsushi Inaba, Japan Life Cycle Assessment Facilitation Centre (LCAF); and,
  • Luke Monhollon, First Environment, Inc.

The Role of Critical Review

TactoTek bases its decision making on data - and environmental performance is no exception. The ISO 14040 and 14044 standards require that all LCA study results that are disclosed to the public should be critically reviewed to ensure that the data, methods and results can be trusted. A critically reviewed LCA study thus provides a company with a solid base with which to communicate the environmental impacts and benefits of their products to its customers.

TactoTek’s intention in all developments related to the sustainability of IMSE technologies is to be open and transparent about the results. From an objective point of view, the sharing of this information is of great importance in getting the complete structural electronics industry to move forward in sustainability topics.

What’s Next?

This LCA study and the subsequent critical review are one the stepping stones on which the credibility of IMSE Environmental Performance is built on. We are creating a more holistic view of IMSE’s sustainability benefits through new LCA studies on a more varied set of parts and products, as well as focusing on topics such as Recyclability, championing Legislative and Regulatory requirements as well as wide industry partnerships. Stay tuned for more updates on how IMSE can help you reach the Sustainability Targets of your solutions.

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Janne Jääskä
Janne Jääskä
Manager, Sustainability and Product Planning
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