"We help organisations reduce their environmental impact in an efficient and effective manner."
The SAS branch has over 10 years of experience providing sustainability assessments and support for a wide range of products, services and organisations: from biotech to architecture and from concept to full scale production.
We support organisations with the improvement of their environmental impact by means of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). These are used to evaluate entire product life cycles: from production out of raw natural resources to use and waste treatment, including inputs, outputs and emissions of every step.
Our studies provide the following insights:
- Total impact.
- Hotspots: what causes most of the impact.
- Comparison to equivalent products.
- Suggestions for improvement.
We offer 3 standardized types of environmental assessments (detailed below) as well as custom LCA studies, economic sustainability assessments, and study reviews. Feel free to contact us for more information, we’ll happily try to help you identify the most appropriate solution for your challenge.
The carbon footprint is our most basic LCA, focussing entirely on quantifying and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This assessment is performed in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Carbon footprints can be performed at different levels:
- Scope 1: only including on-site greenhouse gas emissions.
- Scope 1+2: also including off-site emissions associated with electricity or heat generation.
- Scope 1+2+3: also including emissions caused by the production of material inputs or the treatment of waste streams.
All carbon footprints are reviewed by at least one internal or external expert, or a review panel of interested parties.
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are standardized and widely applied LCA based sustainability assessments which can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of commercial products. EPDs are more complete than Carbon Footprints as more diverse impact categories are assessed, but they are not as extensive as the more advanced Product Environmental Footprints.
The evaluation is performed following the Product Category Rules (PCRs) published by Environdec, the international EPD system. These PCRs define the impact categories that are to be assessed for different product types as well as the structure and contents of the report. Only the most important impact categories for the matching product category are evaluated. These can include for example climate change, acidification, and eutrophication.
Local regulations sometimes require the publication of EPDs to substantiate green product claims, so they are often a good choice for the evaluation of (almost) market-ready products.
Product/organisation environmental footprint (PEF/OEF)
The product and organisation environmental footprints (PEF and OEF) are used to determine a whole range of environmental impacts, hot spots, improvement potentials, data quality and uncertainty in a standardized manner. They are executed following strict PEF and OEF guidelines published by the European Commission. The method was developed in order to harmonize environmental assessments of products, allowing easier comparison of results.
The following impact categories are taken into account:
- Climate change (kg CO2 eq.)
- Ozone depletion (kg CFC-11 eq.)
- Human toxicity – cancer effects (CTUh)
- Human toxicity – non-cancer effects (CTUh)
- Particulate matter (kg PM2.5 eq.)
- Ionizing radiation human health (kBq 235U eq.)
- Ionizing radiation ecosystems (interim) (CTUe)
- Photochemical ozone formation (kg NMVOC eq.)
- Acidification (molc H+ eq.)
- Terrestrial eutrophication (molc N eq.)
- Freshwater eutrophication (kg P eq.)
- Marine eutrophication (kg N eq.)
- Freshwater ecotoxicity (CTUe)
- Land use (kg C deficit)
- Water resource depletion (m3 water eq.)
- Mineral, fossil & renewable resource depletion (kg Sb eq.)
All PEF/OEF studies are reviewed by at least one external expert.
We also offer custom LCAs for simpler or more complex quests. These are typically applied for research projects in which the assessed processes are still at conceptual, lab or pilot scale, for study subjects that are more complicated than single products or organisations, or in order to answer very specific questions.
In order to guarantee the quality of custom LCAs they are performed following ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. These international standards provide a widely applicable framework that allows for much more flexibility than the Greenhouse Gas Protocol or the PEF and OEF guidelines.
Results can be expressed in any impact category, so in addition to those used in carbon footprint or PEF studies you can also opt for e.g. the following categories from the ReCiPe method:
- Damage to ecosystems (species.years).
- Damage to human health (DALY).
- Resource depletion (US Dollar).
- Overall environmental damage (points).
The scope can include the entire life cycle or be limited to part thereof:
- Cradle to cradle: full life cycle with recycling.
- Cradle to grave: full life cycle with waste disposal.
- Cradle to gate: from raw resource extraction up to a certain point in the life cycle.
- Gate to gate: including only a limited part of the life cycle.
All of our custom LCAs are reviewed by at least one internal or external expert.
- Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant: biosurfactants.
- Colruyt Group: PEF and Chain OEF case studies.
- Ghent University: enzymatic and chemical glycosylation.
- IGEAN: Dranco digestion unit and water purification.
- VAB: breakdown recovery services.
European research projects:
- BIOBOTTLE: biodegradable packaging for liquid dairy products.
- Bioclean: biotechnological recycling of polypropylene (PP) and polyvinylchloride (PVC).
- CaroDel: bacterial carotenoids.
- Drius: compostable irrigation systems.
- Forbioplast: forest resource sustainability through biobased composites.
- Nano-Cathedral: nanotechnology for monument conservation.
- Oli-PHA: packaging from olive oil industry wastewater.
- OptiNanoPro: nanomaterials for packaging, automotive and solarpanel production.
- PackTech: food packaging.
- Prosuite: prospective sustainability assessment.
- Splash: chemical building blocks from algae.
- Synpol: chemical building blocks from agricultural byproducts by microwave assisted pyrolysis.
- Transbio: biotransformation of byproducts from the fruit and vegetable industry.