Modeling the impacts of cleaning products for A.I.S.E.

The International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.) wanted to determine a set of minimum criteria for products to meet to be considered sustainable. Sustainability consultants with PRé Sustainability used SimaPro to model the life cycles of a range of cleaning products.

Challenge

The LCAs were part of the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning project, with the key component of creating advanced sustainability profiles (ASPs) – these are meant to signal to consumers that a product fulfills certain criteria on its environmental impacts, leading to a reduced environmental footprint. The main objective of the ASPs is to determine a set of minimum criteria that a product must meet in order to be considered as an example of a product with a good sustainability profile. The main challenges faced by A.I.S.E. while implementing this program were:

  • Achieving stakeholder engagement, cooperation, and support to retrieve data.
  • Identifying and harmonizing industry data per product category.
  • Establishing a scientifically robust baseline to enable comparison.
  • Determining which impacts were most relevant to each product category.

The SimaPro solution

SimaPro LCAs were used to find the environmental hotspots for a range of cleaning products. This holistic approach helped identify the key performance indicators per product category. Additionally, SimaPro was used to identify which impact categories were relevant for each product type by comparing the environmental impact against a reference case. Such a comparison can be done easily using the normalization data in SimaPro.

Business values

  • A.I.S.E. now has a quantitative basis upon which to build ASP’s criteria and targets.
  • Manufacturers are able to compare their relative strengths and weaknesses to an industry average via benchmarking.
  • A.I.S.E. can communicate to its member companies which performance indicators should be the focus of their improvement efforts.
  • Environmental profiles of household products can be succinctly communicated to consumers.
  • ASPs make sustainability tangible.

 

"We have been using SimaPro for over a decade now. Currently as a server application, which is much more convenient when you have several users. We often need to go deep into the inventory to see where specific impacts come from, with SimaPro this is possible. Also working with parameters makes SimaPro extra valuable."

Tom Ligthart - LCA and sustainability expert at a scientific research institute

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