Sustainability and the environmental impact of a product are increasingly being factored into the decision to buy a raw material – and at ENNEATECH, these two issues are part of the company’s DNA. For this reason, customers must receive transparent information on the environmental impact of ENNEATECH’s polyamides. We have had the CO2 emissions scrutinised by independent testing institutes. Customers receive the product-related CO2 emissions for the polyamides, calculated according to two methods: the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF).
The values differ, but why? The German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) explains it in a few words: “In contrast to the life cycle assessment (LCA), the basis of the EPD which considers all environmental impacts, the CO2 Carbon Footprint and the Water Footprint only consider one environmental impact each. Thus, statements can only be made about the contribution to the greenhouse effect and water consumption, respectively.”
The system boundaries of both analyses are the same: They start with the production of the required raw materials, transport to the factory, all machining, auxiliary and processing operations and finish with the storage and subsequent loading of the end product. However, in addition to greenhouse gas emissions from, for example, fossil fuels such as the petrol used by trucks, coal used in electricity generation or ozone layer-destroying substances, there are other sources that fuel the greenhouse gas effect.
As the EPD is essentially based on the life cycle assessment (LCA) of a product, extensive emission data flows into the product-related environmental statement. This is because the LCA takes a cross-media perspective. It includes all relevant potential harmful effects on the environmental media soil, air and water.
Here are some insights by way of example: The so-called greenhouse gas (GHG) potential according to LULUCF takes into account greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration associated with changes in the defined carbon content owing to land use and land use change. Or to put it more simply: How much CO2, CO and CH4 is produced during storage of the polyamide or when the products created from the polyamide are landfilled at the end of their life cycle? Another factor is terrestrial, aquatic and freshwater eutrophication. It looks at air emissions caused by excessive nutrient input into soils and water bodies. The acidification potential, on the other hand, describes the sum of all gases from the manufacturing process that, in combination with water, can contribute to the acidification of water bodies and soils.
In a nutshell: The life cycle assessment does not focus on just one environmental category – such as greenhouse gas emissions in the case of the Product Carbon Footprint – but looks more comprehensively at the relevant environmental categories and includes them in the assessment.
For example, ENNEATECH’s EPD value for the product-related greenhouse gas emissions of PA66, calculated according to DIN EN ISO 14025 and verified by the company Green Delta, is 285 kg CO2e/1000 kg PA66.
In contrast, the product-related greenhouse gas emissions, calculated according to the PCF scheme based on ISO 14067 and certified by Bregau, are only 160 kg CO2e/1000kg PA66. This is because the latter is limited to the greenhouse gas emissions from transport, handling, auxiliary and processing operations, storage and loading of the products for transport to the customer.
Customers have the choice and can decide whether the EPD or PCF CO2 e‑value is more suitable for their internal use.
PCF = Greenhouse gas emissions (air)
EPD = Environmental impact on soil, water and air