Using the Marine Shift 360 LCA Tool, RS Sailing is able to assess the following impacts our manufacturing processes have on the environment;
- Global Warming
- Resource Consumption
- Energy Consumption
- Water Consumption
- Marine Eutrophication
- Waste Production
In our current method of manufacturing we can identify what materials and processes contributes to these environmental impacts.
Being able to assess these values is the first step. We are extremely proud to have made this investment and adopt our way of thinking to embrace how we can make a change for the better.
The next step is to take action to reduce or mitigate these impacts. To engage with our customers better and to understand what our customers value the most, when it comes to sustainability, we are inviting all interested parties to vote for which impact they feel RS Sailing should focus upon.
To assist, we have explained further what these impacts mean. Impacts are the actual environmental problems created. Their value is derived from the inputs and outputs we have recorded and calculated during the manufacturing process.
Global Warming (Climate Change)
There is significant evidence to suggest that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. Greenhouse gases typically come from the burning of fossil fuels. Greenhouse gases typically talked about are CO2 Carbon Dioxide, CH4 Methane, and N2O Nitrous Oxide. It may be interesting to know that although Carbon Dioxide is the most common Greenhouse Gas emitted, it is actually Methane and Nitrous Oxide that have the greatest warming effect per unit than Carbon Dioxide. These gases are largely emitted from oil and gas energy infrastructure. In this conversation relating to the marine industry we are parking the fact that methane is also caused by agricultural processes.
The impact Greenhouse Gases make are on a global level, effecting the entire planet, not just one region. The measure of Greenhouse Gas emissions is KgCO2 e and as such reflects the impact we have on climate change. Climate change is impacting the rise in sea levels and the change in temperatures around the world leading to long term draughts in some regions and catastrophic flooding in others. These impacts affect human population, plants animals and wildlife as well as eco systems.
Environmental problems resulting from energy production, conversion, and utilization is well publicized
The environmental impact of energy use can be seen in two ways: The utilization of limited natural resources and the stress caused by environmental pollution.
- The risk of climate change due to emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels is considered to be the main environmental threat from the existing energy system. Other environmental problems are acidification and dispersion of metals originating from fossil fuels (Johansson and Lundqvist, 1999; Balat et al., 2003; Demirbas et al., 2004a; Demirbas et al., 2004b).
- Fossil fuels supply a large part of the total primary energy use in the world, about 75% (Demirbas et al., 2004a).
- The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), agreed to in December 1997, marks an important turning point in efforts to promote the use of renewable energy worldwide and the developed countries should decrease the net emission of CO2 (Demirbas, 2003b).
- Emissions of CO2 caused by human activity such as manufacturing and transportation are generally considered the most important (IPCC, 1992).
- World CO2 emissions are expected to increase from 23,899 million metric tons in 2001 to 37,124 million metric tons in 2025
- World CO2 emissions in 2025 would exceed 1990 levels by 72%. Combustion of petroleum products contributes 5,733 million metric tons to the projected increase from 2001, coal 4,120 million metric tons, and NG the remaining 3,374 million metric tons (EIA, 2004).
- Every opportunity to reduce energy consumption has a direct benefit to our planet.
Water Consumption (Water Used)
Water consumption has an impact on the environment, climate change and water resources.
Understanding this impact, or “footprint”, is a crucial step towards finding strategies to reduce it.
In the case of water, this can be achieved by measuring its use in the manufacturing process.
A water footprint is determined by one or more metrics that quantify the potential environmental impact on water of a product and process.
ISO is has developed an International Standard ISO 14046, for Environmental management – Water footprint – Principles, requirements and guidelines, which providea decision makers with a means to estimate the potential impact of water use and pollution, based on a life-cycle assessment.
A water footprint assessment can help in:
1. Assessing the magnitude of potential environmental impacts related to water;
2. Identifying ways to reduce potential water-related impacts of products at various lifecycle stages, and of processes and organizations;
3. Facilitating water efficiency and optimization of water management at product, process
4. and organizational levels;
5. Providing scientifically consistent and reliable information for reporting water footprint
The environmental impact of water consumption is determined both at midpoint (water consumption) and at endpoint level damage to the ecosystems and human health.
The midpoint factor unit is the number of cubic meters of water consumed per number of cubic meters water extracted, and reflects the relative loss of water by evaporation or incorporation in products.
Modelling of the different types of damage always starts with quantification of the reduction of the availability of fresh water.
Damage to people is then caused by the competition between water consumption for irrigation and for other purposes. Shortage of irrigation eventually leads to lack of food for local populations in some regions and the eventual loss in years of life. Damage to ecosystems on land is quantified as a loss of species due to the effect of water shortages on net bio-productivity, while damage to freshwater ecosystems is quantified on the basis of the relationship between the number of freshwater fish species and the drainage of rivers.
Calculations are performed for individual countries to take into account the fact that the influence of water consumption in water-rich countries can turn out quite different from that in countries lacking water. (Hollander, Huibregts, Zijp, & Francesca, 2016)
Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and causes serious problems.
In the UK where RS Sailing Manufacturing is based, much of our waste is buried in landfill sites. There is little or no control where our waste material ends up. We can however make educated guesses, – holes in the ground, sometimes old quarries, sometimes specially dug tips.
Some waste will eventually rot, but not all, and in the process, it will generate methane gas which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Leachate produced as waste decomposes and may also cause pollution.
Incinerating waste also causes problems, because plastics tend to produce toxic substances, such as dioxins, when they are burnt. Gases from incineration may cause air pollution and contribute to acid rain, while the ash from incinerators may contain heavy metals and other toxins.
Waste, wastes precious resources. It wastes the raw materials and energy used in making the items and it wastes money. Waste efficiency means less environmental impact, less resources and energy used and saves money.