Frequently asked questions on sustainability assessments
A sustainability assessment serves as an evaluation of the sustainability performance of a company, product or service. It analyzes the environmental, social, and economic impacts that a company may cause during all its business operations. In the case of a product, the whole life cycle and environmental impacts of the different product stages are assessed. Contrary to the carbon footprint, not only GHG emissions are considered but also other factors like all types of pollution, resource consumption or waste.
There are different methods to assess sustainability performance. Which method to choose depends on whether a whole company or a product is evaluated as well as other factors. Tools include the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), the carbon footprint, water footprint, Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) or Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), for example.
In comparison to the Product Carbon Footprint, LCA is a more holistic ecological assessment considering a number of the environmental impacts of the different product stages. A carbon footprint calculates a product’s GHG emissions and assesses its performance in terms of climate change only, while LCA takes many ecological effects like ocean acidification, human toxicity or land use into account.