Product life cycle assessments provide important information for the development of environmentally sound products and procedures.
A range of methods have been developed to identify the environmental impact of products, both during the production process and when they are being used. One of those techniques is the life cycle assessment (LCA). The objectives of a life cycle assessment are:
- Obtaining environmental information about products and product groups.
- Identifying opportunities to improve the environmental performance of products at various points throughout their entire life cycle.
- Gathering information for engaging in dialog with decision-makers in industry, government, or non-governmental organizations.
- Developing relevant indicators of environmental performance.
- Assisting with product design and development.
- Promoting product marketing, for example by implementing an eco-labeling scheme, or producing an environmental product declaration.
- Supporting internal strategic planning procedures.
An LCA investigates the potential environmental impacts caused or necessitated by a product’s existence throughout that product’s life cycle – from raw materials acquisition through production, use, and end-of-life treatment.
There are four phases in an LCA study:
- Defining the scope of an LCA, including the system boundary and level of detail, depends on the subject and the intended use of the study. The depth and extensiveness of an LCA can differ considerably depending on the goals of the study.
- During the life cycle inventory, all input/output data with regard to the system or product being studied are analyzed.
- The impact assessment serves to provide additional information.
- Interpretation, where the results of the life cycle inventory and/or impact assessment are summarized and discussed. The interpretation is used as a basis for conclusions, recommendations, and decision-making in accordance with the goal and scope definition.
Continental has conducted life cycle assessments for the following products:
- Passenger and Light Truck Tires
- Truck Tires
- ContiSupport Ring (CSR) tire emergency operation systems
- Conti Comfort Kit (CCK)
- Self-Supporting Runflat (SSR)
- Spare Tires
- Compact Spare Tires
- Electro-Mechanical Brake
- Electro-Hydraulic Brake