Cradle-to-Gate Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of the Portfolio of an Innovative Forest Products Manufacturing Unit

Achille-Benjamin Laurent, Jean-François Menard, Pascal Lesage, Robert Beauregard

Abstract


Manufacturing companies are under pressure from consumers and legislation to reduce their environmental impacts. In some sectors where competition is particularly fierce, the ability to offer a product with a lighter environmental impact than the competition can be useful in significantly increasing market share. The forest industry, which harvests and processes wood, a renewable resource, also aims at being part of this trend towards transparency. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is often used to quantify the environmental footprint of harvested wood products (HWP). Based on a primary data inventory of four years of activity, this study presents an LCA of the portfolio of an innovative forest products manufacturer. The functional unit of that assessment is a cubic meter. A sensitive analysis on an economic allocation was also conducted. Because of loops in the studied system and flow conservation constraint, results of the portfolio LCA was verified using an organizational footprint assessment. From the material flow and the half-life of products, a bottom-up accounting method is suggested for integrating HWP in national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories.

Keywords


Harvested wood product; Life-cycle assessment; Biogenic carbon; Boreal forest; Construction materials

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126