A product footprint measures the environmental impact of your product from cradle-to-grave, looking at metrics like carbon footprint, water footprint, use of non-renewable resources, and others. It’s based on life cycle assessment methodology.
Using a product footprint will help you gain an understanding of the main drivers behind the environmental footprint of your product. It can be used to engage suppliers, engage customers, and communicate credibly about the environmental performance of your product.
“To ensure we have a complete understanding of the environmental impacts of our capsules, we commissioned Quantis, specialist environmental consultants and world-leading experts in that field.”
Guillaume Le Cunff
International Marketing & Strategy Director, Nespresso
Get the full product picture
Quantis recommends conducting multiple product footprints – either to compare the current/past version to a proposed version, to inform potential design changes, or to compare the products in your portfolio, to see if you need to take different strategies for different product categories.
Various methodologies can be used for product footprinting, including the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology.
Look beyond carbon footprint to get the full picture of your product’s sustainability performance.
LCA for product eco-design
Another advantage of doing an LCA or a footprint of your product is it can guide eco-design efforts of a product.
It can be used to assess the benefit of potential design changes, such as substituting a material or ingredient, incorporating more recycled content, or altering packaging. If a more sustainable product is designed, the product footprint results can be used to communicate credibly on your improvements, preventing the risk of greenwashing.
“As a sustainability leader in the furniture industry, Steelcase counts on LCA and collaboration with Quantis to provide clear steps to improve environmental performance by providing data to support optimal design decisions and consumer behavior.”
Global Sustainability Systems, Steelcase
Guiding sustainability strategy
A product footprint can also inform your company’s sustainability strategy. If your organization primarily produces one product or type of product, then a product footprint can serve a similar function to a corporate footprint for understanding drivers and opportunities. If your product portfolio includes many products, a product portfolio footprint may actually be more informative than a corporate footprint.