Industry Special Session 2

Part 1 & Part 2: Short presentations on each topic will be given, followed by a poster breakout session.  Each topic will be introduced in an approximately 10-minute presentations to the audience.  Following the short presentations, the presenters will move to their posters, and the audience will divide into small groups to visit each poster for small group discussions with each presenter. The small group size will facilitate discussion. This poster breakout session will last 30 minutes.  Each presenter will then summarize the highlights of their small group discussions. Individual attendees will also have the chance to do the same. After the key point summaries, the presenters and interested members of the audience will hold a panel discussion, accepting questions from each other, moderators, and the audience.

  • 16:00 – 16:35 – Presentations
  • 16:35 – 17:00 – Breakout Session #2
  • 17:00 – 17:10 – Panel/ room discussion
  • 17:25 – 17:30 – Chair to summarize and close

The ACLCA Industry Committee has assembled the Industry Special Session consisting of two back-to-back 90-minute sessions at ACLCA LCA XV and designed to showcase stories of industry’s successful implementation of life cycle assessment (LCA) practices and to encourage interaction from the audience. The mission of the ACLCA Industry Committee is to provide a forum for industry members to continuously improve product and process sustainability by collaborating on common industry LCA issues, supporting the advancement of LCA methodology and standard practices, sharing professional knowledge, and further developing the business value of LCA. The  presentations in the Industry Special Session focus on a wide range of topics that are particularly relevant to industry, including incorporation of sustainability into business practice by using life cycle tools, steps to increase internal engagement and organizational acceptance of life cycle thinking, use of life cycle thinking in innovation and process improvement, and value chain collaborations to improve accuracy of life cycle inventory (LCI) data.  The speakers represent several sectors including flooring, infrastructure, manufacturing and chemicals.

16:00 Rich Helling And Mark Jones

What’s it worth now? Quantifying future environmental benefits to focus innovation

ABSTRACT. A life cycle perspective is critical to the invention and development of products that contribute to company and societal sustainability by having environmental benefits that clearly exceed the burdens to create them. Quick, qualitative, tools [1] can build awareness well but may be challenging for a company to compare projects across a portfolio. Tools based on company performance can provide good alignment and progress on company goals [2] but may change too slowly to provide focus for innovation.

Ideal tools or metrics to influence R&D are ones that are forward-looking, quantitative, and readily compared or totaled across a research portfolio. The approach we have taken at The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) has been to set a specific goal for “net positive impact” for innovation products, a life-cycle metric comparing benefits (primarily in the use phase) to the burdens (primarily in other life-cycle stages) [3]. This will be used to impact decisions on the company innovation portfolio. A key methodological issue is how to “discount” future benefits compared to current burdens. Discounting is a concept routinely used in companies for economic evaluation, but less so for potential environmental impacts. But it is an important concept to address to have effective use of the metric.

Dow’s commitment to this approach was announced on April 15, 2015. We will present our assessment and resolution of methodological issues and implementation challenges of the approach.

1. David A. Russell & Dawn L. Shiang, “Thinking about More Sustainable Products: Using an Efficient Tool for Sustainability Education, Innovation, and Project Management To Encourage Sustainability Thinking in a Multinational Corporation “ ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2013, 1 (1), pp 2–7 2. Shawn Hunter & Anne Wallin, “The Sustainable Chemistry Index: Providing Life-Cycle Insight Across The Dow Chemical Company Product Portfolio” Proceedings of LCA XIV, San Francisco, October 2014. 3. Mazor, Mike, Adam Muellerweiss, Rich Helling, Anastasia Behr “Bringing Life Cycle Thinking to Corporate Metrics´ LCA XII conference, Tacoma, WA, September 2012.

16:10 Connie Hensler And Brad McAlister

Filling the gaps in supply chain LCI

ABSTRACT. One challenge that industry faces in product level Life Cycle Assessment is the lack of supplier specific Life Cycle Inventory data. In lieu of this data, publicly available industry average data or purchased data sets that are often based on public information are often used as proxies. The use of proxy data increases the uncertainty of the result and as industry pursues publication of those results in product literature and Environmental Product Declarations, the need for accuracy increases. This presentation explains the drivers at Interface for supplier specific LCI, different approaches to acquisition of the data, and the effect of increased data specificity on the results of some product level life cycle assessments. Additionally, the presentation will also share the supplier’s point of view and explain how Interface has collaborated with their suppliers to overcome common obstacles such as concerns over proprietary data, lack of technical knowledge, high costs and limited resources. Additionally, the session’s presenters will share success stories from Interface’s program, including how one supplier took the program a step further and became the first in the United States to publish an EPD for their product group.


External Collaboration and Success Stories – Value Chain Outreach: Balancing the Push for Transparency, Understanding the Tools Landscape and Working Towards A Robust Evaluation Framework
SPEAKER: Mike Levy

ABSTRACT. 1. Transparency Transparency — a common theme in the marketplace today – has many meanings, but increasingly is used to describe the push for disclosure of the chemical composition of products. This call for disclosure has resulted in a number of challenges, questions, and concerns impacting both the value chain and consumers. For example, what information is needed by product manufacturers to manage health and environmental considerations? What is the right balance between consumer interest in ingredient disclosure versus a system that fosters innovation in formulation and new chemistries by protecting research and development and property rights? What information do consumers truly need to make complete and informed choices? What is the best way to communicate to consumers about ingredients, both in terms of product safety and environmental impact?

2. Evaluation Tools Continued improvement of the health profile of products depends on an understanding of how decisions are made regarding the chemical composition/formulation of those products. Likewise, true sustainability depends on a keen understanding of environmental impacts across the entire life cycle of the product. And product improvement should also consider whether the physical safety and performance of the product are at least maintained if not improved. There are currently many tools available to help assist with health, safety, and environmental evaluations of products. But how can we better understand how these tools work, what underlying assumptions they make, and how they treat data inputs? If the science of sustainability requires sophisticated, powerful, and complete evaluation across disciplines, how can we know whether sustainability tools are likewise sophisticated, powerful, and complete? How can we advance the science and methodologies needed to support the next generation of tools? This session will focus on how existing tools evaluate the chemistries and processes used to evaluate products.

Results of two ACC research reports will be presented, which together offer a deeper understanding of available approaches – and tools – used to evaluate chemical hazard. The research, which included evaluation of the same series of selected chemicals through multiple tools, reveals that hazard classifications and rankings differ significantly – for the same chemicals – across various tools. The audience will gain a better understanding of how these tools work, which will inform ongoing discussion about ways to improve the scientific and technical basis for sustainability decision making.

3. Working with the Value Chain to Provide Solutions Product sustainability is with us to stay — an evergreen challenge for the entire value chain. The sustainability discussion will continue to consider the role and value of ingredient disclosure, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, and alternatives assessment, all while equipping the value chain to develop innovative new products or continuing to improve existing ones. ACC is leading work with trade associations and others to explore development of the next generation of technical standards and certification systems for product assessment. A foundational part of this work is to help the value chain and consumers better understand the critical role that chemistry plays in engineering the products that make modern society possible. We are rethinking the ways we communicate about the value and benefits of chemistry, and how the safety and performance of products depends on chemistry. We are also finding new ways to explain the science behind chemical safety – hazard, exposure, and risk – to lay audiences. And we are finding new partners in the value chain to help with this important discussion as we all work together to move sustainability forward.

4. Learning Objectives • Understand the motivating factors behind the push for greater “transparency” in private sector sustainability standards and programs addressing product formulations, and the possible pros and cons for innovation and informed choice. • Understand the evaluatory framework used by existing hazard screening tools, and the consequences of these frameworks on the technical output of the tools. • Identify paths to develop next generation technically robust, science-based, sophisticated frameworks for product evaluation. • Share examples of communication and partnership strategies to improve understanding of the science behind product evaluation with the value chain.