Learn more about how we understand different industries, their environmental concerns, regulations, and stakeholder expectations.
The global forest industry is evolving, and as a result of technological development and policies favoring renewable materials and energy, there is growing interest in using wood for energy production, building construction, and a range of bio-based materials. Wood is attractive for these uses because it is a renewable resource, however, LCA research has indicated that depending on the feedstock used and the production technology, there are potential environmental trade-offs associated with bioenergy and bio-products from wood. In addition, wood is a resource with many local and regional socioeconomic implications, further increasing the complexity of decision-making around this resource.
EarthShift Global can work with clients using their tools and expertise in LCA and S-ROI to quantify the life cycle environmental benefits and costs of alternative wood products and energy production, including supply chain activities. In his Ph.D. research, Nathan Ayer is currently applying LCA to study the environmental implications of substituting wood biomass for fossil fuels in a wide range of energy applications, including wood pellet production, combined heat and power, and pyrolysis to produce bio oil. EarthShift Global has also applied S-ROI to gasification of forest residues for a government study in Japan.
Clients: YFY, FP Innovations, NARO
The capital equipment used in manufacturing has long been ignored in LCA. For most equipment this is justified by the high use-phase impacts. Yet there are significant impacts associated with equipment manufacturing and understanding the interplay between upstream, manufacturing and use phase impacts. S-ROI can also be used to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness resulting from capital or other investments. Employee morale, particularly of millennials, is closely tied to sustainability efforts. The link between employee morale and both productivity and resulting product quality is well documented and S-ROI helps to quantify it. Existing ROI methods are typically poor at capturing the adverse effects of unscheduled downtime. S-ROI helps identify and quantify these risks, resulting in a more robust decision.
Clients: United Technologies Corp, Hypertherm
Governments have much to gain from more sustainable activities and are actively pursuing assessments such as LCA and S-ROI. EarthShift Global has trained many governmental LCA practitioners including those from cities, provinces, national labs, and research centers. We’ve worked with the National Agriculture Research Center of Japan to understand the sustainability of many biofuels projects. This work assisted the government with directing funds toward those projects that have the highest probability of environmental, social and economic returns. We’re currently working on a project funded by the US Department of State looking at four different grants to Latin American groups. These groups have successful projects in the areas of workforce empowerment, SMEs and trade, and environmental sustainability and will use the funds to scale up their activities. EarthShift Global has provided a prospective S-ROI of the four projects and will provide a retrospective of two of the projects at the end of the funding period.
Clients: Army Corps of Engineers, NREL, Sandia National Labs, US EPA, Saskatchewan Research Council, CRIQ, National Agriculture Research Center of Japan, National Research Council, Canada, Natural Resources Canada, NIST, Oak Ridge National Labs, City of Tacoma
Hospitals are increasingly demanding products with lower environmental footprints, with metrics including water consumption, embodied energy and solid waste. At the same time, the healthcare and life sciences industries are limited in their response by the multitude of regulations surrounding their products. To overcome these challenges requires an understanding of the limitations and the opportunities, augmented by some out of the box thinking. EarthShift Global combines training, guidance, and modeling and improvement skills to empower innovative change. One example of this type of innovative change occurred in the sharps container industry. With a big trend toward reuse of sharps containers, BD wanted to go one step further. The result was a sharps container program that included recycling of the container—contents and all!
Clients: Merck, BD, GE Healthcare, Stericycle, Johnson & Johnson
Industry Associations have unique opportunities to bring about sustainable change. From Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data collection to a better understanding of life cycle impacts, these associations can identify sustainable opportunities for their members and their members’ customers. While EarthShift Global ensures the privacy of participating members, it offers much more to the Industry Associations it works with:
As an example, EarthShift Global works with the International Copper Association (ICA) (https://www.ase.org/profile/international-copper-association-ltd) to understand the benefits and drawbacks of using copper net-pens for aquaculture. This project is a benefit to the copper producers as well as the aquaculture industry.
Clients: Dairy Management, ICA - Copper Alliance, New Chapter
Metals and minerals play an important role in society and LCA and S-ROI can help identify their benefits. EarthShift Global has helped understand the role of calcium carbonite as a benign filler in many plastics, for example. Our work with the International Copper Association has shown how the use of copper net can replace the use of copper-based anti-fouling paints, reducing the impacts of aquaculture.
Mining carries social as well as environmental burdens and those burdens can affect the bottom line. S-ROI has proven to be an effective tool for understanding how mitigating the environmental and social risks associated with mining can improve profitability. Many mining companies have found benefits from this type of analysis. As an example, EarthShift Global studied the effect of increased HIV/AIDS education for Rio Tinto.
Clients: Rio Tinto, Caterpillar, ICA - Copper Alliance
The combined world of automotive, aerospace, and off-road engineering offers huge potential for impact reduction. And while fuel-efficiency is a convenient catchall for the opportunity, improving it requires changes in materials and processes that involve complex tradeoffs. EarthShift Global works with these industries and their suppliers to navigate the complexities, including using anticipatory LCA to forecast how impacts may change with changes in energy supply and market demand.
EarthShift Global has conducted and reviewed LCAs of various lightweighting projects, the use of bio-based materials for tire manufacturing, and end-of-life tire recycling. We’ve worked with Pratt & Whitney on several S-ROI studies around process/plant improvement, which provided justification for projects that had no conventional return on investment.
Clients: Caterpillar, OTR, Goodyear, Crown Equipment, John Deere