Peer Review of Braskem's I'm green PE Life Cycle Assessment

10/04/2018 11:02

Background
Braskem worked with consultancy ACV Brasil to update and report the life cycle assessment (LCA) of its I'm greenTM PE product (focusing on HDPE) compared to the fossil-based equivalent, in line with ISO14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006, using 2015 production data. The results have been published by Braskem in a detailed LCA report and a concise summary report providing the key findings and underlying assumptions. The Carbon Trust was asked to provide a review and endorsement of the findings. We have provided a detailed review of the main report and the summary is a result of our recommendations. This document presents our qualified endorsement of the results along with recommendations for dissemination practices.

Summary Findings and Recommendations
The LCA study provides a detailed cradle-to-get assessment of the products considered. The key assumptions underlying the assessment are laid out in both the full report and the summary. The former also includes sensitivity analyses around those assumptions.
Both the assumptions and methodological choices made, where there is flexibility provided by the standards, are discussed and justified. Some of these choices, although valid, vary from common LCA practice. Examples include the choice of natural gas-fuelled electricity displaced by bagasse-generated electricity as a co-product of ethanol production, rather than using grid-average emissions or, indeed, co-product allocation.

As the HDPE output is an intermediate material, customers may use Braskem's results as the basis of their own LCA studies. It is, therefore, critically important that all methodological choices are highlighted when providing the cradle-to-gate impact of the I'm greenTM PE . In some cases, alternative scenarios have already been developed and are available on request. If Braskem receives repeated requests for data based on other valid methodological choices, efforts should be made to develop such scenarios. 

Based on our review of the LCA reports and bearing in mind the observations, above, the Carbon Trust commends the publication of Braskem's cradle-to-gate LCA as an important contribution to understanding and managing carbon and other environmental impacts in supply chains. Although this note does not represent a certification against an ISO standard, our review suggests that the assessment was carried out in line with the requirements of ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006 and that the results are valid under the stated methodology and documentation in the detailed report.