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How the business groups work with life cycle assessments

Life cycle assessments, also known as LCAs, consider the life cycle of a product or process from raw material extraction to production, all the way through to waste treatment and recycling. “From cradle to grave”, each step is analyzed in detail. The results allow statements to be made about the environmental compatibility of a product, provide a basis for decision-making, and point out possible actions to make products more efficient and environmentally friendly in terms of the circular economy, and to reduce unnecessary consumption of resources.

Since 2022, there has been a uniform LCA standard for the BLANC & FISCHER Family Holding business groups. All product life cycle assessments are prepared Group-wide using the same methodology, compliant with ISO 14044, and with assumptions that are as identical as possible, based on a guideline. “This means that we all use the same data basis and can prepare life cycle assessments more efficiently,” says Wiebke Suckut, Sustainability Expert at BLANC & FISCHER Corporate Services. 

Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) in Stuttgart, the BLANCO-Group (BLANCO) has developed the first life cycle assessments for the composite material Silgranit, which is used in BLANCO sinks. “We have derived environmental factors from existing primary data such as recipes, energy flows at our plant in Sinsheim, and other process information from the specialist departments, and assessed them accordingly,” explains Jan Vollmer, Sustainability Manager of the BLANCO-Group. BLANCO’s LCA thus depicts in great detail how the Silgranit recipe and also the product as a whole, affects the environment. The results serve as the basis for transparent product labeling, as well as providing invaluable insights into how product systems and materials interact. Ultimately, they also enable the business group to consciously shape innovations in a more sustainable manner. Life cycle assessments are also calculated in other BLANCO product areas. The Global Products department is currently conducting an LCA focusing on the environmental impact of BLANCO drinking systems when using the product to cool and carbonate water. 

The E.G.O.-Group (E.G.O.) created an initial product LCA for the EGO radiant heating element. “The LCA provided us with exciting insights and made it easier for us to start a project we were planning for transferring the radiant heating element into a circular economy,” reports Luisa Schiebel, Sustainability Expert at the E.G.O.-Group. The objective is to keep the materials used in the loop, i.e. in use, for as long as possible and not to create waste. This goes far beyond traditional recycling: in a preparation phase starting at the end of 2021, the various scenarios “reuse”, “refurbish”, “repair”, and “recycle” were considered. The result is a potentially closed loop ecosystem. At the beginning of 2022, the investigation began to determine whether this is technically feasible. For this purpose, the current disposal processes for large electrical appliances and corresponding returns at recycling companies are being analyzed, discussions about partnerships are being initiated as part of a closed loop disposal system, and the extent to which recycled material can be used in the product is being examined. 

The next step for BLANCO is the certification of the LCA. As the issue of the circular economy is a core element of the European Union’s Green Deal, the business groups will continue to focus on the low environmental impact of its products in the future.

The life cycle assessment (LCA) is an internationally recognized method for analyzing the impact of a product on the environment over the entire life cycle. This makes it a core element of the circular economy, which also serves to make products climate-friendly, resource-efficient, and recyclable. ISO standards 14040 and 14044 specify the method and the exact procedure.

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