• Marina Nazarenko
Climate change is a phenomenon caused by greenhouse gases (GHG) mostly released by human activities. Its effects have been aggravated throughout the last years; therefore there is a need of all stakeholders to join efforts in order to keep these effects at bay. By the adoption of life cycle thinking tools, such as the carbon footprint (CF), companies can contribute to offset climate change impacts and, additionally, it can help them to translate sustainability issues into quantifiable measures. The CF is a limited Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that measures the impact, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) a product, service or organization has on climate change throughout its life cycle. Kuvatek is a Danish company which wants to demonstrate scientifically that its water cooler is more environmentally friendly (focusing only on climate change impacts) in comparison to the product from an Italian manufacturer.
This study has been done in collaboration with Kuvatek. The first objective is to develop CF skills by conducting a comparative screening CF analysis of the two water coolers. The CF methodology is based on LCA following ISO 14040 and 14044 and it is cradle-to-grave assessment; covering production, use and end of life stages of the product. The results show that the total CF of Kuvatek’s water cooler is 62 KgCO2e, whereas it is almost ten times higher for the competitor, i.e. 597 KgCO2e. An individual analysis of each life cycle stage showed that the competitor has a greater CF in each of the stages. Among the three life cycle stages, the use stage of both companies contributes to the CF the most, but the CF of the competitor is ten times the CF of Kuvatek (i.e. 565 KgCO2e and 58 KgCO2e, respectively). The electricity consumed by each product is the main process contributor to the CF of the use stage and also to the total CF of the products. Kuvatek mainly consumes electricity during the water cooling process, emitting 40,18 KgCO2e, whereas the competitor does it in standby mode, thus emitting 330,56 KgCO2e.
The second objective of the study is to investigate Kuvatek’s motivations of conducting and communicating the CF assessment. The used methods are literature review and interviews with the director of Kuvatek. The main findings are: 1) the motivation to conduct the CF is to gain insights into the product as well as to communicate the results to the customers in order to make informed product choices 2) the main benefit of the CF assessment is the identification of the CO2 sources within the supply chain and the drawbacks are both cost and lack of knowledge 3) the interest in documenting the CF performance of their product is because it can be included in the product’ environmental profile and it will probably be part of the information of all products. Based on the study outcome, three main recommendations are suggested to Kuvatek: 1) Kuvatek can improve its total CF by focusing in the electricity consumed during the water cooling process of the use stage 2) the CF is a precursor of the LCA, so now they can take a step forward and conduct a full LCA to have the whole picture of how the water cooler affects both the environmental impacts and resources 3) if the results from this study are published, a critical review needs to be done by an expert panel prior publication

SpecialisationEnvironmental Management and Sustainability Science
Publication date4 Jun 2014
Number of pages102
External collaboratorKuvatek A/S
John Green info@kuvatek.dk
ID: 198545024