Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

LCA studies allow Braskem to continually improve its understanding of the environmental impacts of its products over their life cycle and their relevance in the value chain

Have you ever stopped to think about the entire process required to ensure that the products you use in your daily life reach your hands? You could say that each product has its own story. A lot is involved in making a product and delivering it to consumers. In other words, to learn more about a product's environmental impacts, you can't focus on just one phase of its life cycle, such as its production process. You must assess its entire history, which includes the extraction of raw materials, the production processes, its transportation and the impacts of its consumption phase and final disposal. And that's what LCA does, by letting you measure and compare the environmental impact of different products and services that perform the same function.

Check out the video that Braskem has prepared that explains LCA and learn more about this tool!

LCA at Braskem

To evaluate sustainability issues in the value chain, Braskem has been using this tool in Brazil since 2005 and has already conducted some 22 assessments with the assistance of specialized consulting firms. The structuring, in 2011, of a dedicated department to manage efforts in this area made it possible to support a strategy grounded in sustainable development to ensure responsible and competitive activities that go beyond the limits of our industrial units to involve our entire value chain.

Our studies focus on three fronts:

  • Operational focus: identify opportunities for process improvements;
  • Strategic focus: decisions on new products, applications and technologies;
  • Commercial focus: develop and defend markets, adding value by demonstrating that plastic can be more sustainable than alternative materials.

Braskem is committed to helping advance the chemical and petrochemical industry and to becoming the global leader in sustainable chemistry. In this scenario, LCA helps indicating just how much projects, processes and products are aligned with the company's vision of the future. The methodology's use also creates value for Clients, promotes the image of plastics and helps people to begin understanding the real impacts of each product. By expanding its knowledge of product life cycles, society in general can better guide its consumption decisions with a view to fostering sustainability.

LCA Brazilian Business Network

Working in the value chain, another highlight is Braskem's efforts to create the LCA Brazilian Business Network, a forum that brings together companies, which participate voluntarily to discuss LCA concepts and disseminate best practices in the use of this tool in the business environment.

As a participant in the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), Braskem is co-leader of the project to draft a guide for studies of GHG emissions avoidance based on the LCA methodology developed by the Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA). Braskem submitted a study showing that the use of PP containers for chocolate powder packaging reduces GHG emissions . The study is aligned with building the image of plastics and with the Braskem Client relationship program. The Company also works together with the ICCA on drafting plans for developing new technologies for buildings that demonstrate the chemical industry's contributions to reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions.

To improve the management of this effort, licenses were acquired for SimaPro, a software widely used for LCA that will enable people to become more familiar with the tool and to model the studies already conducted. In 2012, LCA training actions were conducted that disseminated this knowledge to 398 people.