The footprint of the future
We all want to offer attractive, healthy and tasty products that will generate good proceeds. In doing so, we should also think of our future, and make sure that our business is sustainable. But how do we measure how sustainable our business actually is? That can be done via a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).
The demand for sustainable development is constantly growing. That’s not surprising when you consider that if we were to do nothing, the global temperature will have increased by 3.7°C in the year 2085 (and that’s the most favourable scenario). That will imply more flooding, and at the same time more shortages of water, the disappearance of 30% of all plant and animal species, and decreases in crop yields all over the world.
The risk of such developments has prompted new legislation regarding emissions and a growing demand among customers for sustainable products. There are plans for a climate act and environmental taxes, newly built greenhouses must be climate neutral by 2020, banks are calling for ‘green transparency’ and the number of Dutch people who are making conscious efforts to promote sustainability has risen from 3 to 4 out of 10.
But what precisely is sustainability, and what does it imply for the business world? Sustainability is generally understood to mean that the 3 Ps – People, our Planet and Profits – must be properly balanced. We want to earn money and enjoy prosperity, but we must also accept our responsibilities with respect to the environment and the welfare of future generations.
Measurable environmental impact
BVB Substrates measures its sustainability performance via a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). Such an analysis measures emissions in every link in a chain, from the extraction of resources up to and including the processing of waste or the recycling of products (see picture: product LCA)
The emissions that are released during a product’s life cycle are added up to obtain the product’s overall ‘environmental footprint’. By considering an end product’s entire life cycle, and not just one of the steps in that cycle, a complete picture of its overall environmental impact is obtained.
BVB Substrates uses the EcoChain module to calculate its products’ footprints. This module is based on a top-down approach to Cradle-to-Gate, Cradle-to-Grave and Cradle-to-Cradle analyses and conforms entirely to ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. Besides analysing sustainability performance on a company, process and product level, it also provides a basis for sustainable innovations. On top of this, EcoChain is a network of all the parties involved in a chain, implying the advantage that when one of the parties improves its sustainability performance all the other parties in the chain benefit from it.
What can we, in our capacity of entrepreneurs, do to promote sustainability? The answer is offering our customers a good price and quality, but also a sustainable product. This will enable you to enhance your product with added value, meet the growing market demand and show you feel responsible for and committed to the world of future generations. You will also be able to anticipate or minimise future environmental taxes or fines.
By ensuring a good balance between People, Planet and Profit in producing our products we contribute towards sustainable development. Our aim is to ensure the lowest measurable environmental impact for our products, i.e. ‘the footprint of the future’!
BVB Substrates supplies growing media to more than 80 countries worldwide