Life Cycle Metrics for Chemical Products

Published: 29 Sep 2014
Type: Publication

We are delighted to present this new publication from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)’s Chemical Sector Project: “Reaching Full Potential”. This is the Project’s third publication after “Guidance for Accounting & Reporting Corporate GHG Emissions in the Chemical Sector Value Chain” (2013) and “Addressing the Avoided Emissions Challenge” (2013).

These guidance documents share a common objective – to provide guidelines and metrics for consistent and credible communication on how the value chains of chemicals impact on and contribute to sustainability.

As a solution provider, the Chemical Industry is an enabler of improved sustainability across value chains, and the companies that are a part of the Reaching Full Potential Project fully embrace this role. To get true market pull for more sustainable products and to realize the WBCSD’s Vision 2050 – 9 billion people living well within the limits of the planet – there is a need to provide and communicate information on the sustainability performance of products that customers and stakeholders can trust and compare, to enable them to make informed sustainable choices.

Metrics are vital in order to make informed decisions. They enable companies to understand, improve and evaluate the environmental impact and benefits of their products. This new guidance focuses on life cycle assessment (LCA) methods to assess the environmental footprint of products. Reporting at a product level, rather than at a chemical company level, provides a useful perspective to decision-makers in the value chain.

The next step will be to develop guidelines to assess the impacts and benefits of chemical products from a social perspective. This work was recently started and should be ready by late 2015.

Just as in our previous work, we encourage our value chain stakeholders to engage with us so as to further improve the guidelines and quality of our methodology. This is vital if we are to make a tangible difference to sustainable development.

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