Norms and methodologies
Environmental claims in the normative framework
The guidelines of Ecosolutions label by TotalEnergies are developed in compliance with the requirements of international standards ISO 14020 and 14021 and falls into the category of self-declared environmental claims. This type of environmental declaration allows companies to highlight their ecological concerns within a normative framework and guarantees their accuracy. Other types of environmental declarations do exists:
ISO 14021 standard (self-declared environmental claims):
ISO 14024 standard (environmental declarations and ecolabels):
ISO 14025 (Ecoprofiles and environmental labelling):
Life Cycle Assessment for our calculation performance methodology
The LCA is a standardized methodology that provides a comprehensive, multi-criteria assessment of the environmental impacts of a product or service. It assesses and quantifies the material and energy flows (Inputs like materials, energy, etc. And outputs like emissions, waste, discharges, etc.) related to human activities at every stage of the life cycle:
- Extraction of raw materials,
- Then recovery and reuse, until its final disposal.
The label Ecosolutions by TotalEnergies is based on this Life Cycle Assessment, which compares the awarded product/service/solution to the market benchmark chosen for the same functional unit. It is "the unit of measurement which is used to assess the service provided by the product" (1). For example, for a hybrid solar power plant that supplies electricity: "produce 1 kWh of electricity per year, which takes into account the 25-year lefispan of the hybrid solar power plant".
This methodology also allows to check if there is any impact transfer. Through each stage of the life cycle, the analysis can show that the product make a lower impact on one criterion than the market reference (greenhouse gas emissions, for example). The multi-criteria vision of the method enables to check the absence of significant impact transfer which is a requirement for an Ecosolutions award by TotalEnergies.
Limits of LCA
The LCA allows to compare two products for the same service in term of environmental impacts. This comparison is derived from an interpretation of results. Therefore, it is important to keep some limits of this analysis in mind:
- The overall impact of a product must be considered according to this level of current knowledge.
- It is only an assessment of the potential impacts of a product or service or solution.
- The results are particularly dependent on the hypotheses chosen at the beginning of the study (scope of the study, functional unit, etc.) but also on the quality of the data (availability, confidentiality, complexity, etc.) and the version of the software, databases and associated impact analysis methods.
- For product design, one of the limiting factors is access to the data necessary for the analysis. In this case, generic data from published sources can be considered to favor analyzing all the stages of the value chain.
Despite these limitations, life cycle assessment remains a very complete methodology. The ADEME recommends in its Product Assessment, and makes companies aware of eco-design, through a simplified life cycle analysis approach.
(1) ADEME Definition – « How to make an LCA? »