Nestlé backs LCA venture to boost sustainability

Nestlé is looking to deepen its knowledge of life cycle assessment and improve the environmental performance of its consumer products by backing a pioneering research initiative.

The company has lent its support to a new R&D partnership between industry and academia at the Interuniversity Research Centre in Montreal, Canada.
It will invest over £300,000 to help fund the work being carried out there.

The centre’s lifecycle of products, processes and services (CIRAIG) unit generates new life cycle assessment knowledge, methods and tools, and will share the findings of this work with Nestlé.

According to Nestlé scientist Urs Schenker, the partnership will boost the company’s expertise and knowledge of LCA which will feed into its product development processes.

“We use [LAC] when developing products to measure areas of environmental impacts, for example water use in agriculture, CO2 emissions in manufacture, and the amount of energy used in distribution” he said.

“The partnership will also help us to provide consumers with improved information about our products’ environmental performance, helping them make more informed decisions about what they buy.”

Nestlé also conducts quicker versions of life cycle assessments using a selection of simple eco-design tools. One of these, the packaging impact quick evaluation tool, can evaluate the environmental impact of packaging over its entire life cycle.

This allows the company to evaluate life cycle data early in the design stage and make modifications to improve products’ future environmental performance while they are still being developed.

Nestlé is currently developing a new eco-design tool which it plans to roll out later this year.

Maxine Perella

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