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Coatings Eco-footprint tool update: Cradle-to-grave assessments for the paint industry

Since the publication of its Sustainability Charter in 2012, CEPE, the European association of the Paint manufacturers, printing inks and artistic colors, has actively committed to life cycle management and sustainable development. The paint industry participates in several initiatives to promote them, and develops resources and tools to facilitate the members to embrace Life Cycle Assessment and product sustainability.

LCI database and Eco-footprint tool

As part of this work, CEPE released its LCI database in July 2013. The database provides commonly agreed cradle-to-gate life cycle inventories of the major paint raw materials and production processes to the industry. This allows the comparability of the studies, and provides companies with a solid ground to calculate the environmental performance of their products. The CEPE database is regularly maintained to improve the quality of the datasets and to include additional raw materials. The database is available in different formats to the CEPE members, and it has been used in a number of industry projects such as the PEF pilot, group studies or the Ecofootprint tool.

Developed by Ecomatters, the Coatings Eco-footprint tool uses the LCI database to calculate an extensive overview of the most important environmental impacts for the paint sector. With this tool, users can execute cradle-to-gate assessments in a simple way: In a few steps that do not require LCA expertise, they fill in the product formulation and basic manufacturing data to obtain a self-declaration of the environmental footprint of their products. The tool aligns with sector practice and guarantees the comparability of the results across industry.

Eco-footprint update – Full life cycle assessments in a few clicks

Last year, the Eco-footprint tool went through an extended review and update process. The latest version of the LCI database was incorporated, adding new raw materials and improving the quality of the data used in the calculations. In addition, and most importantly, the scope of the tool was expanded with downstream scenarios, now including the cradle-to-grave assessment for some specific product types.

Ecomatters adapted the models from the LCA screening studies of two different horizontal industrial groups to create new life cycle scenarios for the Eco-footprint tool. With these new features, the users can expand the scope of their assessments by adding the gate-to-grave footprint of Protective Coatings for road infrastructure and Powder Coatings for aluminum frames. Aspects such as the use of the paint (coverage, lifetime, direct emissions during use, curing, etc.) and the impacts of the whole value chain (construction of infrastructure, production of substrate, etc.) are included  now in the system boundaries.

The Eco-footprint tool is actively and increasingly used by CEPE members (1.400 sessions and 700 registered users, 50% increase in 2016), confirming its good acceptance by industry and the capacity to answer company’s specific needs.

Ecomatters is very happy to support the new release of the tool, and to contribute to the continuous work of the industry in the development of life cycle management. We provide CEPE with integrated support that covers a wide range of services, from data management, dataset development, execution of LCA studies, development and management of tools and strategic consultancy.

Learn more in the LCM Conference in Luxembourg

Olympia Dolla, Sustainability Regulatory Affairs Officer at CEPE, and Pau Huguet will present these and other initiatives from CEPE in the LCM conference in September in Luxembourg. We will be happy to meet you there and give you more details about our collaboration and sustainability practices within the industry.

Eco Footprint Tool

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Max Sonnen

Managing Director
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Pau Huguet Ferran

Sustainability Lead Spain

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