How a Life Cycle Assessment Can Help You Discover New Business Opportunities

July 3, 2024

As the world moves increasingly toward sustainability, consumers are demanding sustainable options across the board. From public utilities to consumer goods, public pressure is moving organizations toward cleaner, greener practices and products, and many of them are turning to cleantech solutions to drive down emissions and clean up their operations.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is a powerful tool for cleantech innovators that can give you valuable insights into the impact of your solution. An LCA will enable you to demonstrate the power of your solution, enhancing your ability to obtain customers, attract investors, and secure funding. It can also demonstrate how a cleantech solution improves a customer's operational emissions and environmental impact.

So, What is an LCA

An LCA provides a comprehensive evaluation of the environmental impacts at each stage of a product’s life cycle, from resource extraction through to product end-of-life, and every stage between—manufacturing, shipping, and use.

The assessment identifies supply chain hotspots and provides a starting point for targeted improvements. These insights can increase resource efficiency, waste reduction, and supply chain optimization, resulting in cost savings and reduced emissions.

An LCA can help you understand your product’s impact and equip you with the knowledge you need to know in order to take advantage of new opportunities and scale your business.

Here’s how.

Credible Environmental Claims 

As more and more companies realize the economic opportunities that arise from deploying sustainable practices in their operations, many of them are engaging in marketing campaigns that advertise their commitment to sustainability. In many cases, however, beyond these claims, there is little or no substantive evidence to support their status as a green organization. It’s a process called greenwashing, and the public is becoming more and more aware of it.

Transparency and trust are becoming increasingly important for consumers. This transparency builds trust with customers who are increasingly skeptical of greenwashing. A company with a robust LCA can demonstrate its serious approach to sustainability and back it up with data, making it a more attractive option. The information provided by an LCA can legitimize environmental claims, and act as a third-party verification for products, reinforcing the credibility of any messaging around sustainability. 

For cleantech providers, having this information on hand is a great way to differentiate themselves from the competition in a crowded marketplace. As companies face increasing pressure from the public to provide green options, they will turn to solutions that have proof of their effectiveness on hand. 

Customers, investors, and partners need to know what the impact of a cleantech solution is, but they also need to be able to demonstrate it. Data-driven marketing campaigns can be a great way to achieve that. 

Effective Marketing to Investors + Customers

An LCA can provide information that can be used directly in public-facing communications to demonstrate a product’s impact. In a market that is increasingly driven toward environmentally friendly products and services, having data-driven marketing can be a powerful conversion tool.

An LCA may also determine eligibility for an eco-label or certification, which is another powerful marketing tool. Similar to the certified organic stamps on labels of food products in grocery stores, there are several eco certifications for non-food items like Energy Star, LEED, or the CSA Group Certification. These certifications are easily recognized, and a way to ensure you’re capturing the attention of environmentally conscious consumers.

For cleantech ventures that can create efficiencies in supply chains or processes, you can effectively demonstrate how your technology will impact a company’s emissions, leading to more business opportunities. Companies that become your customers get a partner that can enhance their ability to market their sustainable practices to a population that is increasingly concerned with corporate responsibility. 

Investors and funders are also looking for companies with sustainable operations, and being able to clearly communicate a product’s impact is critical in securing financing. An LCA will give you the information you need in order to take advantage of investment and business opportunities.

Compliance and Risk Management

Sustainability is sometimes considered a risk by businesses—it’s an added cost for organizations that typically try to minimize expenses. However, the costs associated with not complying with environmental and social governance mandates are also increasing, and outweigh the costs of incorporating sustainable options. LCAs help companies comply with environmental regulations and standards that require detailed reporting on the environmental impacts of products by giving them access to the data they require for the reporting process. 

An LCA can also help clarify whether or not a business is compliant with environmental mandates, and identify hotspots in the lifecycle of a product or service where an organization can focus its emissions reduction efforts. Understanding the environmental impacts of their products helps companies identify and mitigate potential environmental risks, which can be a selling point for customers concerned with corporate responsibility.

There are additional benefits to be had here as well. Not only will an LCA reveal those emission hotspots, but it will also reveal opportunities for reducing waste, energy use, and other resource inefficiencies. This can lead to cost savings that can be reinvested into business operations or passed onto customers, increasing a product's competitiveness.

An LCA can help uncover additional efficiencies in a supply chain, achieve compliance with environmental mandates, and create eligibility for eco-friendly certifications, which are powerful symbols in the eyes of consumers. 

Are you interested in getting the process started?

We Can Help

An LCA is a powerful tool for businesses looking to increase their sustainability. Investors, customers, and industry partners are all looking for sustainable options, and having the results of your LCA on hand is an effective way to engage with consumers and stakeholders. 

The public is looking for sustainable options, and companies are responding to this market pressure by finding ways to reduce emissions across the board. If you’re a cleantech provider with a solution capable of achieving those emission reductions you need to be able to prove it. And we can help. 

Download our program guide to learn more about how we can help you understand your company's environmental impacts and emissions so that you can have confidence in your value proposition.