Life Cycle Assessment

Clear insight into environmental impact through LCA

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Clear insight into environmental impact through LCA

In many tenders in which Flux Partners is involved, the concept of LCA plays a crucial role. The term stands for Life Cycle Assessment and is a method for assessing all environmental impacts of a product that is part of the tender or a project. “This includes considering all processes in each life phase,” says Sarah Kramer, sustainability advisor at Flux Partners. “This involves examining emissions and raw material consumption during production, but also during use, and end-of-life or replacement stages.”

From LCA to ECI

LCA is linked to another frequently encountered three-letter term in tenders:  ECI (Environmental Cost Indicator). “In total, LCA has 19 impact categories,” says Arjan Zuidema. Arjan, like Sarah, also works as a sustainability advisor at Flux Partners. “The outcomes of these categories are summed up per life phase. Using a conversion factor for each category, we arrive at the ECI. This allows us to compare different proposals in tenders and compare the environmental impact of the bidders.”

Applications of LCA

Calculating the ECI is not the only way Flux uses LCA. Sarah adds, “For materials like concrete, there are standard figures available to fill in the LCA. However, LCA is also a useful tool to assess the environmental impacts of innovative products; solutions for which the exact environmental impact is not yet clear. This can be done within a tender but also during or after implementation to demonstrate that the promised maximum environmental impact has not been exceeded.”

LCA for Innovations

“Additionally, at Flux, we can create the LCA of a new product for companies before an innovative solution is introduced to the market,” adds Arjan. “The methodology is well-suited for cases where a manufacturer wants to demonstrate how much better their solution is compared to existing alternatives. Once the LCA is assessed, they can register the calculated LCAs and ECI in the database of the NMD Foundation, increasing the visibility of the solution. Based on the calculations, we can also analyze how the manufacturer can further reduce the environmental impact of the product, sometimes relatively simple adjustments like improved end-of-life recycling can have a significant impact.”


“Mapping the LCA is done systematically,” Sarah explains. “In a tender, it often concerns a large product consisting of components. You then request information from the manufacturer for each component: how many of these products are used? What exactly is in them? How are they made? This information is used to model the data. You recreate the product in a software model. Using a process tree, you make every step/life phase of a product visible. By using our models, we can also come up with improvement proposals for manufacturers.”

Sustainable Practices

“The great thing about working with LCA is that you are directly involved in sustainability goals,” says Sarah. “You can make it very concrete and demonstrate ‘this choice is better for the environment than that choice’ based on data. It strengthens the sustainability aspect, allowing you to make better environmentally friendly choices in project procurement.”

Arjan agrees, “The beauty of this approach is that you can have a demonstrably positive impact on the environment. Personally, I also find it fascinating to understand how something is made. Knowing exactly how something comes into being and what it entails. People involved in manufacturing often find it very enjoyable to explain this when asked. In that sense, working on LCA is also enjoyable for enriching your own knowledge.”