Life Cycle Assessments Prove Sustainability Claims

Mar 11, 2010

For years, skeptics have suggested that making products and processes “greener” takes a lot of green.

But the redesign of the newest version of the eSpring water purification system proves you can create more sustainable products and cut costs at the same time.

New software being used by Amway examines the life cycle of a product from cradle to grave and diagnoses the environmental impact of everything from design to disposal. The software helped Amway generate data that led the U.S. Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) to name Amway’s eSpring a 2010 winner of its Environmental Stewardship Awards. Amway received the award at SPE’s Global Plastics Environmental Conference in March 8-10.

In addition to dramatic reductions in environmental impact, the redesign also resulted in an impressive manufacturing cost reduction.  As part of the redesign of Amway’s eSpring unit, in 2009 R&D conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) using the company’s newly acquired GaBi product sustainability software.

The life cycle assessment (LCA) is part of the company’s efforts to minimize the environmental impact of products and processes. An assessment was conducted on the redesigned “Calypso” model compared to the prior generation model, the “Arata.”

The assessment showed that the redesign reduced the global warming impact by 46 percent through a reduction in plastic, increased electrical efficiency, and less consumable and post-consumer waste.

The energy consumption of the Calypso unit is dramatically reduced – 19.7 kilowatt hours per year compared to 38.94 kilowatt hours for the Arata unit on average. The energy savings could power a village of 9,000 people for a year.

The new eSpring showed improvement in all LCA analysis categories, with the most dramatic improvement in ozone, petrochemical, energy and gross waste product reductions.

And the Calypso unit does all of this without sacrificing performance or claims. In addition to quantifying the environmental impact of design changes, the LCA also helped create performance claims that could drive sustainable marketing of the unit.

According to Mark Gammage, the senior R&D group leader who conducted the eSpring LCA, other benefits of the analysis include:
•    Effective identification and prioritization of environmental performance improvements during the design phase
•    More informed R&D decision-making
•    Creation of more relevant indicators of product environmental impact and performance
•    Ability to validate environmental performance claims
•    Expanded environmental and sustainability awareness throughout the company

Amway plans to complete life cycle analysis on more products in 2010, and have every product evaluated by the end of 2014.

Life cycle analysis is just one plank in Amway’s plan to instill sustainability into all we do worldwide, and “grow our business while caring for the environment and our people and communities, contributing to an improved quality of life for this generation and the next.”

  • 2 Comments

    • Guest says:

      excellent job. we live what we say and we say what we live.

    • Greg Ward says:

      I am so very proud to partner with this company. Integrity, opportunity, and responsibility and so much more is the very life blood of this company. I am thankful they are doing so much for business owners as well as supporting those in need on a global scale. They truly are what other businesses could only hope to be.

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