Sustainable Development Life Cycle Thinking

839 Alleghenyville Road Mohnton, PA 19540-7708
Tel. 610-914-1356 email:

Sustainable Development Life Cycle Thinking, ISO 14001, and Benefits to Your Company

What Life Cycle Thinking Considers

Life Cycle Thinking leads to a comprehensive view of a product or service. Life Cycle Thinking considers the entire life cycle of that product or service from cradle to grave. The term cradle to grave means that we consider the impacts from

  • raw material extraction; through
  • transportation;
  • manufacturing; and
  • use, to
  • end of life recycling and disposal.

A company will usually have a small portion of the life cycle which they directly control. However, they can influence much of the other aspects of the life cycle.

For a company that manufactures a product, the company will have direct control over their operation. But based on the

  • the design;
  • choices of raw materials used;
  • sources of their procured product; and
  • recommendations for
    • maintenance;
    • repair; and
    • end of life recycling;

that manufacturer has indirect control or can influence the life cycle impacts from the other stages of the product’s cradle to grave life.

Life Cycle Thinking and ISO 14001

The ISO 14001:2015 standard, section 6.1.2 introduced Life Cycle Thinking as a “shall” requirement for inclusion in a company’s environmental management system. This new language now requires companies seeking certification to think about their cradle to grave impact as part of their EMS.

The ISO standards, not just ISO 14001, are focused on Continuous Improvement. Continuous improvement is a good thing for a company because you

  • grow;
  • reduce scrap rates;
  • improve profitability; and
  • improve the sustainability of your company.

So your company’s sustainability and your quest for environmental sustainability with ISO 14001 go hand in hand. Remember, Sustainable Development involves 3 pillars…

  • Economic Sustainability;
  • Environmental Sustainability; and
  • lastly, Social Sustainability.

These three pillars must be in harmony, for today and in the future. For something to be sustainable, it not only meets the needs of the present but also allows future generations the opportunity to meet their needs. Sustainability is the basis for continued development.

Note that the ISO14001:2015 standard does not require a formal Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) process. For companies in the early years of ISO 14001 certification, they can begin by including basic evidence of Life Cycle Thinking. Then in future years, as the company continuously improves, Life Cycle Thinking can incorporate the more formal process of Life Cycle Analysis.

The disciplined LCA Methodology provides outstanding data driven insights into opportunities for not only Environmental improvements, but also Economic and Social improvements to the company.

LCA yields great rewards for companies, but don’t be frightened about needing to do “everything” immediately. The incorporation of Life Cycle Thinking is the first step to continuous and breakthrough improvements.

Why You Need Our Life Cycle Thinking Experts

Incorporating Sustainable Development Goals and Life Cycle Thinking into Strategic Planning

You want to project your sincere concern for Corporate Economic, Environmental and Social Responsibility. There's a clear Business Case for Sustainability because consumers are increasingly purchasing from Green Companies. If you want to grow or even simply maintain market share, incorporating Life Cycle Thinking is important now.

You also want to reduce the risk that companies consuming your products and services as part of their supply chain will seek alternative, greener sources in pursuit of their Sustainability Initiatives.

Life Cycle Management is the key to implementing Life Cycle Thinking. We listen to your business goals regarding what you want to achieve and communicate to your customers and stakeholders via advertising, label content, and other means. We may have recommendations you may not have considered. We then design a process to achieve your goals.

Making Sure Benefits of Implementing Life Cycle Thinking Outweigh the Costs

As experienced business people, we realize profitability is important! Therefore, ROI is not ignored in our approach to Sustainability and Life Cycle Thinking. We also realize that the quality of your products and services are integral to your brand.

Supplementing, Educating, and Coordinating Existing Staff

Correctly implementing Life Cycle Thinking can be tedious and time-consuming even for experienced Sustainability experts. Engineers in well-run, lean, and efficient companies already have a full plate with their regularly assigned duties. When your engineering department realizes the scope and complexity of a Life Cycle Assessment study, they may be tempted to throw up their hands.

Furthermore, you don't want to sacrifice other key aspects of your operations for the sake of Sustainability. Instead, your Sustainability Initiative should complement and enhance your overall operations.

Competent Sustainability Consulting Engineers can build the models, expedite obtaining data from available databases as well as identifying other required data and methods for data collection. We work with and train your in-house personnel to make them as independent as possible going forward.

Highest Quality Professional Sustainability Consultants

Your common sense tells you the qualities you want in your Sustainability Consultant.

  • Appreciation That You're Running a Business
    We are experienced business people dedicated to improving and preserving the environment who never lose sight of the importance of quality and profitability.
  • Ability to Collect and Analyze Data Using Complex Models
    We have decades of experience in Design, Manufacturing, Data Analysis, and Continuous Improvement.
  • Problem Solving in Addition to Problem Identification
    As engineers, we have a deeper understanding of the causes of problems Life Cycle Management tools identify. Therefore, instead of saying "here's a problem you need to fix" we say "here's a problem and here's a suggested way to fix it".
  • Ability to Clearly Express Ideas and Conclusions Through Reports and Presentations
    We have top management experience. We understand reports and presentations.

Contact Us Online or Call Us at 610-914-1356 today.

Life Cycle Thinking Expert and Sustainability Consultant Lisa Peterson
Photograph by Wally Hines Photography

Lisa Peterson, Ph.D., PE, MBA is President of Aftan Engineering and presently licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Michigan. Lisa is a Sustainability Consultant, Life Cycle Thinking and Management Expert, experienced Environmental Engineer, business person, and uniquely qualified to assist you with your Sustainability Initiatives.

Lisa has

  • a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering;
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification;
  • 30 years' engineering experience; and
  • has held high-level management positions.

Read Lisa's Resume.

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