Measuring Eco-efficiency by a LCC/LCA Ratio: An Evaluation of the applicability in environmental decision-making situations. A case study at Akzo Nobel
Examensarbete för masterexamen
The corporate world has an immense impact on the environment and plays an important role in the holistic context of sustainable development. This is one of the focal motives for the development of the concept, eco-efficiency. Eco-efficiency was developed by the world business council for sustainable development (WBCSD) in the beginning of the 1990’s as a model for managing the work of corporate organisations in a manner, consistent with sustainable development. Eco-efficiency is defined as a business concept that creates an increased value to a product or service with less environmental impact. The purpose of this dissertation is to study and determine the eco-efficiency of an industrial process used for incineration of process water, in a case study at Akzo Nobel in Stenungsund. The outcome of the case study is intended to be a foundation for a decision-making situation considering discharge of emissions contributing to oxygen deficiency in water. The study also aims to evaluate the method used for measuring eco-efficiency. The method applied for calculating the eco-efficiency in this thesis is developed by Steen (2004) and is intended to function as an interpretation tool for environmental product declarations (EPD). The method makes use of the established life cycle concepts LCA and LCC by applying life cycle data in a ratio of the value of the process and the environmental impact caused by the process. In the case study the present process conditions are scrutinized and compared to a different scenario representing the nominal capacity of the process system. The results from the case study indicate that the present process conditions have a considerably higher eco-efficiency than the nominal scenario. Therefore an increased incineration of process water with consideration to eutrophication is an alternative, which should be carefully considered. The central conclusions that have arisen from this dissertation is that it is of great importance to consider the underlying factors and surrounding environment when analysing eco-efficiency in decision-making situations. This is something, which has been very apparent in the context of weighting the impacts of different environmental indicators and the choice of system boundaries. A final conclusion considering the use of eco-efficiency in decision-making situations is that the concept and ultimately the method of measuring have proven themselves useful in comparative analyses. However, since the concept, eco-efficiency is fairly young and not yet established, it is probably wise to present the results together with environmental and economic indicators separately in a descriptive manner.
Miljöteknik , Environmental engineering