Product Life Cycle Assessment

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Executive Summary
Life cycle assessment is a quantitative tool used to understand the environmental impact of a product or service throughout its lifecycle. In this report, we have analysed 6 cases wherein LCA is used as a tool to strategically decide the future course of the product. Through Levi Strauss and Co. we have tried to understand new initiatives in its processes as a result of the LCA done on their Jeans manufacturing. In the Biodiesel industry, we have tried to compare the two most widely used biodiesels using LCA by looking at their environmental impact. Toyota being one of the pioneers in innovation have always used LCA to drive their company. They depend heavily on LCA to innovate their processes so that they reduce their carbon
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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systems-based, quantitative tool utilized to understand the environmental impact of a product or a service at the various stages of its life cycle, including the extraction of resources, transportation, production, use, recycling and discarding of products. LCA if performed diligently can provide an adequate instrument for environmental decision making.
The LCA study specifically focusses on the environmental aspect, however in order to achieve a holistic LCA, it is important to focus on all the three pillars of sustainability, i.e. Environmental, Economic and Social. Considering the holistic nature of the LCA, it has been standardized in the ISO 14040 and 14044.
The end result of a LCA study is different for different products. For some products, it leads to a cost reduction while for others it leads to an increase in revenue. In cases, it has led to risk reduction, innovation and/or intangible benefit such as
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Based on the LCA study, it was found that Washing Jeans 10x before washing could reduce water usage by 77%, 75% & 61% in America, UK/France and China, respectively. The current wash frequency is around 2.3x, 2.5x and 3.9x in America, UK/France and China, respectively. Other interesting findings were that washing jeans in cold water is more efficient and environment friendly than doing so in warm water and that Line drying is more environment friendly than machine drying. Statistics show that in America, using cold water instead of warm water to wash jeans reduces non-renewable energy consumption by 21% and climate impact by 24%. This statistic is even more drastic in case of China which is 59% and 69%, respectively. Similarly, statistics show that using line drying instead of drier in America would reduce non-renewable energy use by 64% and climate impact by 67%

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