Sustainable Consumption & Production
The European aerosol industry is committed to taking action in order to minimise any negative impact of aerosols on the environment.
FEA promotes the continuous improvement of aerosol products’ environmental performance within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goal 12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
To achieve more sustainable production and consumption patterns, it is important to consider the environmental implications along the entire supply-chain of products. Life Cycle Thinking is a philosophy that encapsulates this, by considering all of the relevant environmental aspects of a product during its entire life-cycle “from the cradle to the grave”. In the case of aerosols, this means carrying out a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) from the extraction of raw materials to make the container and the contents (cradle), to the disposal of the used aerosol (grave).
There are many challenges to overcome, to properly carry out a LCA and careful consideration is required in its operation. Specific attention needs to be given to correctly define the system boundaries and the functional unit. In many cases, there may be data gaps which need to be filled. FEA developed a specific guide to support the aerosol industry by highlighting the elements which have to be considered for an aerosol product’s LCA.
However, it is important to remember that LCA only focuses on the environmental pillar of sustainability; to fully promote Sustainable Development consideration of the social and economic impacts is also necessary.
In the context of the Product Carbon Footprint labelling, FEA would like to highlight several key points:
– Climate Change is a major challenge but is not the only environmental aspect to consider (e.g. other emissions in soil, air and water as well as waste generation)
– Any voluntary environmental labelling needs to be reliable and to provide a fair communication to consumers. Thus, it should consider not only “carbon footprint” but all relevant environmental aspects of the products generated on a scientific base such as the life-cycle approach
– There is currently no national or international agreement for the carbon profile measurement of products, nor the development of such a labelling. Taking into account differing individual or country-based ‘carbon footprint’ approaches, such labelling will be unmanageable especially for smaller brands and SMEs
– Environmental performance has to be balanced with the social and economic aspects of product performance