Life-cycle assessments and product footprints

To accomplish sustainable industrial development, all stages of a product’s life cycle must be considered. One challenge is that detailed, reliable and transparent data is available only for some environmental aspects in parts of the lifecycle.

For environmental areas with good data availability (e.g. greenhouse gases), quantification of the product footprint is necessary to channel activities towards sustainable development. This data can give useful input for making qualified decisions on changes and improvements in production or supply, as well as new product developments.

However, where complete data is missing, both for parts of the lifecycle and for some entire footprint areas (e.g. social footprint and recyclability), traditional life cycle assessment do not give us the whole picture.

We therefore use two parallel methods with the goal of mapping metal powders’ environmental performance:

Life cycle assessments (LCA) focusing on cradle-to-gate analysis covering the parts of our products’ life cycle that we can directly influence. Moreover, we have started an industry-wide initiative on life cycle assessments within the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA), starting with a lighthouse project to quantify the complete life cycle impact of a specific powder metal part.

Sustainability Life Cycle Assessments (SLCA) which is a qualitative analysis of a product’s footprint based on the four sustainability principles. This method is used in pre-studies to assure that all sustainability aspects are covered in the forthcoming development work.

The four principles of a sustainable society

In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing…

Concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust

Concentrations of substances produced by society

Degradation by physical means


And, in that society; people are not subject to structural obstacles to health, influence, competence, impartiality and meaning making