In recent years the concept of Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) has become essential in evaluating the environmental impact of a product or service. LCT is fundamental as a cultural approach because it involves considering the entire product chain and identifying which improvements and innovations can be made to it. Evaluating the supply of raw materials, their production, use and end of life in the same context has enormous potential for many products, including plastics, since it makes it possible to manufacture products that are closely integrated both with the production system in the region and with consumption uses and habits, providing a broad scope for real improvements. The supply of raw materials close to the production site or an end-of-life that maximises collection and recovery of waste are simple but concrete and quantifiable elements of continuous improvement within the scope of sustainability.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the main tool for implementing ‘Life Cycle Thinking’. It is an objective method for evaluating and quantifying the energy and environmental consequences and potential impacts associated with a product/process/activity throughout its entire life cycle, from the acquisition of raw materials until its end of life (“from cradle to grave”). In this technique, all phases of a production process are considered related and interdependent, making it possible to evaluate the cumulative environmental impacts. At an international level, LCA is governed by the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards.
Novamont has used the LCA methodology since 1998 and was among the first companies in Italy to implement it. Each phase of the life cycle of the different Mater-Bi® grades is studied, evaluated and, if possible, improved upon by using eco-design criteria, improving the efficiency of facilities and production processes and implementing a genuine green procurement process for raw materials.
Novamont’s commitment to sustainable development
The company’s commitment in this area can be seen in the management of environmental variables from the perspective of production (systems approach) and in Life Cycle Thinking (product approach), as well as control and standardisation of Mater-Bi®’s environmental qualities. To achieve this goal the company uses consolidated and internationally recognised environmental management and certification systems. These systems (certificates) enable integrated and active control of environmental and product quality parameters, maintaining high safety standards for workers.