Saint-Gobain Abrasive Grains Life Cycle Assessment Approach
At Saint-Gobain Abrasive Grains, we are dedicated to improving our environmental impact. To deliver on our promise, we have developed innovative and sustainable solutions. We value transparency and credibility in our efforts and recognize the importance of providing rigorous evidence for sustainability performance. To this end, at Abrasive Grains, we carry out Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) to understand our environmental impact and identify the main contributors. Our goal is to drive eco-innovation projects that help us continuously improve our sustainability performance.
What is a Life Cycle Assessment?
Life Cycle Assessment is a science-based method to assess the environmental impact related to a product or service throughout its life cycle.
Multi lifecycle stages/ life cycle thinking
A product generates impact during its whole life cycle: during the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use phase, and at its end of life. Those life cycle steps are called life cycle stages and LCA can be performed for various scopes.
At Saint-Gobain, we carry out two types of LCAs:
- Cradle-to-gate (from raw materials extraction to our factory gate)
- Cradle-to-grave (from raw materials to disposal).
A product will have an impact on many facets of the environment, which extends far beyond its carbon footprint. In addition to carbon footprint, LCA can assess many environmental indicators, for example the impact on water through water consumption and eutrophication indicators. Moreover, LCA provides quantified values on environmental impact generated by the products.
Why do we use Life Cycle Assessment?
A robust, factual assessment that is standardized and recognized internationally
As a globally accepted method based on the international standards ISO 14040 and 14044, an LCA serves as a common language for quantifying and communicating robust information to different stakeholders about our environmental performance. At Saint-Gobain Abrasive Grains, constructing a sustainable future is fully part of our strategy and we believe that transparency plays an essential role in demonstrating our sustainable results. In that regard, we also engage in third party verification of our results, which supports our commitment to transparency.
Identification of drivers of our environmental impact and eco-design
Life Cycle Assessment identifies the main contributors to environmental impact. By examining different life cycle stages of a product, an LCA enables us to detect which stages or elements within those stages have a significant impact on the environment. This helps us target our efforts towards reducing the most significant environmental impacts.
Furthermore, an LCA serves to prevent the shifting of potential impacts, which occurs when the environmental impact of a product is reduced at one stage but increased at another. This comprehensive view of the product's environmental impact helps us avoid unintended consequences and facilitates eco-design by making design options that optimize a product’s environmental performance.
Focus on Abrasive Grains Life Cycle Assessment strategy
At Saint-Gobain Abrasive Grains, we use LCAs to assess the environmental impact of our products. As evidence of our commitment to transparency, we have published our first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for our AZ25 grains, which is a publicly available, standardized and independently verified report on LCA results. This graph below outlines our Abrasive Grains’ LCA approach:
Overall, Life Cycle Assessment is a crucial tool for businesses to evaluate, manage and communicate their sustainability performance transparently and credibly. For us at Saint-Gobain Abrasive Grains, it offers opportunities to improve the environmental performance of our products as well as to continually advance towards a more sustainable future.