Life cycle assessment

Working hard to safely and responsibly develop and deliver the chemical products needed for economic and social progress while increasing efficiency and reducing emissions, takes the careful application of science and technology.

To get the best results and identify the most effective improvement opportunities requires the use of science and technology to evaluate operations and the attributes of products over their full life cycle. This is called life cycle assessment (LCA).

LCA as outlined in ISO 14040 and 14044, provides a comprehensive view of the potential environmental impacts of a product or process including raw material extraction, energy use, processing, distribution, use, disposal and end-of-life. In other words, it tells us how our products and processes eco-perform.

For example, multiple LCAs have assessed the environmental impacts of plastics and other types of packaging materials.

In the study shown below, plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were compared to paper, glass and aluminum beverage containers, and demonstrated many positive environmental benefits.

A second LCA compared another type of plastic container – flexible pouches – to PET bottles, aluminum cans and glass containers, with similar results for these containers.