Developing LCA guidelines and operational tool for environmental labelling: the example of the French dairy secto
The French environmental labelling scheme on consumer products aims at providing consumers with comprehensive and objective data on the environmental impacts of the products they buy.
In this context, the French inter-branch association of the dairy sector – CNIEL has initiated the development of methodological guidelines for environmental labelling of dairy products to make LCA more accessible to French milk transformation companies.
These guidelines are part of the methodological framework including the BPX 30 323-0 “general principles for an environmental communication on mass market products” and the “Part 15 : methodology for the environmental impacts assessment of food products”.
Seven product categories are concerned by these guidelines: milks, dehydrated milks, fermented milk, dairy deserts, cheeses, dairy fat products, and creams.
Through a consensus process, building on the steering comity expertise and with the support of Quantis, LCA methodological rules were defined such as: functional units, system boundaries, primary data to collect, generic data values, or allocation rules.
The functional unit is 100 g (or ml) for most products and portion of a given weight for others (weight defined by the sector and aligned with nutritional labelling). The system boundaries include packaging and raw milk production, transformation, distribution and product end of life. Primary data include the quantity of milk, ingredients and packaging as well as energy consumption at the dairy factory, while default data are suggested for distribution distances and storage time. Allocation rules differ according to the lifecycle steps: e.g based on product dry content for co-product at the dairy factory, based on product mass and distance for transportation.
This work was followed by the development of a web based LCA tool that facilitates environmental footprint calculation for companies and greatly enhance results comparability. Aligned with the guidelines, it provides default values, integrates a database, and allows intuitive navigation within LCA result graphs.
Key success factors of this work included ensuring confidentiality for the data shared by the companies, maintaining coherence with the broader existing methodological guidelines, and supporting a consensus spirit within the steering comity.
Upcoming improvements are the extension of the available database and potential adaptations linked with the Smart Market for Green Products European initiative
This presentation will present the guidelines, the tool, and their key specific added values from a LCA perspective.