The product-specific carbon footprint indicates the environmental burden caused by the operation. When calculating the carbon footprint, all emission sources are taken into account, generated during the product’s life cycle. In the product calculations, the carbon footprint is obtained according to two borderline situations. The Cradle to Gate definition refers to the carbon footprint that is created in the production of raw materials, the transportation of raw materials and the manufacturing of products. The Cradle to Grave delimitation is about the carbon footprint, which takes into account the carbon footprint created during the entire life cycle of the product, from the production of raw materials to the final disposal of the product.
The carbon footprint indicates the climate load caused by the company’s operations or the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon footprint takes up every seventh greenhouse gas. The unit CO2e, i.e. carbon dioxide equivalent, is used for the carbon footprint.
Emission calculation always follows the emission calculation standard according to industry-specific standards, the most common are according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting standard.
PRODUCT-SPECIFIC EMISSION CALCULATION
BACKGROUND AND SCOPE
Lepo’s product-specific emission calculation has been performed in accordance with the SFS-EN ISO 14067:2018 Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products – requirements and guidelines for quantification standard. The results of the calculation are reported as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), which takes into account the different climate-warming effects of different greenhouse gases. The calculation was carried out by Green Carbon in 2023.
The calculation was performed for twelve products from the Lepo collection. Eleven of these are chairs that differ in their properties and cause variation in the raw materials. One table is included in the calculation. The production of one product includes the preparation of raw materials, the transport of raw materials to the Lepo factory, the energy used in production (electricity and district heating), the distribution of the product, the use early emissions and product disposal. The finished products are packed in cardboard and plastic. The length of the life cycle depends on the product and is 20, 40, 30 or 60 years. During the product’s life cycle, the measures included in the maintenance of the product have been calculated into the emissions during the use of the product. The maintenance measures include re-varnishing the product, re-upholstering the fabric, the amount of electricity used for the work, and transporting the product to the Lepo factory and back to the customer.
The main raw materials used for the products are birch, steel, polyurethane and fabric. The birch used in the products is Finnish PEFC certified wood. The steel used is Finnish and the polyurethane arrives from Lithuania. A fabric made of wool and polyamide (Gabriel Crisp 93% wool and 7% polyamide) and for comparison also a recycled fiber fabric (Gabriel Cura 98% recycled polyester) were selected as fabrics for the calculation. Gabriel’s upholstery fabrics used in the calculation arrive by land at the Lepo factory in Lahti. Other raw materials used in production (lacquers, polyester powder and glues) arrive by land in Lepo. The raw material manufacturing process was unknown. The finished components arrive at the Lepo factory on Euro and Finnish pallets. The products are assembled and packed in Lahti. The distribution of the finished product takes place by road to the capital region. The emissions of the alternative fabric have also been calculated for the products. Another fabric option is composed of 98% recycled polyester and 2% polyester.
Lepo collected the data used in the calculation in the period 11/2022–01/2023. The collected material included the raw materials used by the users and their weights, raw material transport distances in kilometers, factory energy use and waste data, outgoing transport (distribution) mileage data, possible maintenance during the product’s life cycle, and product disposal data by waste type.
The calculation of the product’s carbon footprint must cover the emissions during the product’s entire life cycle. The calculation can be limited either to cradle-to-gate, in which case emissions are only taken into account from the manufacture of raw materials to production. Cradle-to-grave looks at emissions during the entire life cycle, including emissions from distribution and use, as well as disposal, and thus gives a truer picture of total emissions. The product-specific calculation should then be done with a cradle-to-grave delimitation, unless there are grounds for a narrower delimitation.
For Lepo Production’s products, emissions during the entire life cycle, i.e. Cradle-to-Grave, were calculated. The following paragraphs contain material on calculation methods and emission factors for the emission sources of the life cycle phases.
MANUFACTURE OF RAW MATERIALS
Accurate quantity information was obtained for the raw materials and packaging materials used in the production of the products. The given quantities were combined with emission factors obtained from Ecoinvent 3.9, One Click and CO2data. The emissions of steel used in manufacturing were calculated using the emission factor obtained from the study by Norgate, Jahanshahi, & Rank (2007). In this way, the emissions of the raw materials used in the products were calculated.
TRANSPORTATION OF RAW MATERIALS
Transportation of raw materials includes transportation of raw materials from the supplier to the Lepo factory. From the transports, information was obtained on the kilometers transported, the transport equipment and the weight of the transported raw material. Based on this information, the transported tonne kilometers were calculated. Transported tonne kilometers were combined with emission factors obtained from the UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting database.
Emissions from production include emissions from energy used in manufacturing and emissions from recycling waste from production. The emissions of energy consumption (electricity, district heating) were broken down for the products based on the weight of the products and the combined weight of all products manufactured in 2021 from the total emissions of purchased energy in 2021. Emissions from electricity consumption were calculated using Fingrid Finland’s average emission factor for electricity production. The district heating emission factor was obtained from Lahti energy. Production generates energy – and mixed waste. Quantities of waste types were obtained in kilograms per product for each product. The quantitative information was combined with the waste treatment emission factors obtained from the study by Dahlbo et al. (2011).
Distribution emissions consist of transporting the product to resale. Products are only transported in Finland to the capital region. Lepo provided an estimate of the average transport distance. Transported tonne kilometers calculated according to kilometers, transport equipment and product weight were combined with the emission factor obtained from the UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting database.
The emissions during use of the product consist of the maintenance of the product’s parts and reupholstery. These are also included. Emissions during use were calculated according to the quantity data of the raw materials of the parts to be replaced in the product. The emission of raw materials was calculated using emission factors obtained from Ecoinvent 3.9, One Click and CO2data. Steel emissions were calculated using the emission factor obtained from the study by Norgate, Jahanshahi, & Rank (2007).
Lepo announced the easily removable parts of the products by type of waste. Disposal emissions consist of mixed waste, metal recycling and emissions from energy waste processing. The quantity information of the litterers was combined with the emission coefficients obtained from the study by Dahblo et al., (2011).