The UK's First Carbon Neutral Laminate Launches

Case Study:
BioCarbon Laminates
Working with See Ltd, EcoAct conducted a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of BioCarbon Laminates that analysed its carbon emissions, non-renewable energy use and water consumption, to create the UK’s first carbon neutral laminate. By measuring and reducing its environmental impacts, this product provides architects and builders with a sustainable option that is fully verified to the highest environmental standards.

Life Cycle Assessment

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BioCarbon Laminates

The UK’s first carbon neutral laminate

The built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint and therefore has a vital role to play in our urgent transition to a Net Zero economy.

In 2019, the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) launched the 2030 Climate Challenge to encourage architects and the wider construction industry to achieve whole-life carbon for new and retrofitted buildings by 2030. Consequently, demand is rising for more sustainable materials and building products.

See Ltd recognised the importance of this challenge and is passionate about creating a more sustainable business. In 2019, the group partnered with EcoAct, an Atos company, to accelerate their own ambition for Net Zero by 2030.

One of the key projects of this partnership was to measure the environmental impacts of the group’s key product, BioCarbon Laminates, reduce these impacts and be transparent about their credentials through an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Ultimately, this would not only support their own climate targets but meet the needs of architects and builders looking to make more sustainable choices.

Creating a carbon neutral project: from cradle to grave

An EPD requires a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which must adhere to strict criteria for how to assess and measure the environmental impacts and benefits of a particular product. It follows the ISO 14025 and 14040 series of standards and therefore ensures a robust environmental assessment that enables an organisation to make credible and verifiable statements about their product’s environmental credentials.

Using this process, the full life cycle of BioCarbon Laminates was assessed from source materials to transportation and end of life of the product (“Cradle-to-grave”). The assessment included environmental impacts such as carbon emissions, non-renewable energy use and water consumption.

The assessment considered the group’s existing sustainability strategy and Sustainable Forestry Management. For example, their partnership with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and use of recycled materials.

The process helped to identify the emissions hotspots throughout the lifecycle of the product and identify new initiatives to improve their carbon footprint. In particular, initiatives are focused on raw material sourcing and the improvement of manufacturing processes.

BioCarbon Laminates are proud to be the UK’s first range of carbon neutral decorative sheet materials, available in High-Pressure Laminates (HPL) and Solid Grade Laminates (SGL) and are produced in thicknesses between 0.5mm – 25mm, and a wide range of sheet sizes to suit a wide variety of application requirements.

"We are very proud to launch BioCarbon Laminates as the UK’s first carbon neutral laminate. Working with EcoAct, we conducted a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that analysed its carbon emissions, non-renewable energy use and water consumption. By measuring and reducing the environmental impacts, we believe this product provides architects and builders with a sustainable option that is fully verified to the highest environmental standards. As a company, it has helped us lead our industry through innovating and setting a green example and plays a key role in our ambitious 2030 Net Zero goals."

Robert Thompson
CEO, See Ltd

A carbon neutral product that

Supports 2030 Net Zero goals

As See Ltd continues to work to reduce its impacts, it recognises the urgency of our global climate goals and the need to act on all its emissions today. It is therefore working to sequester the carbon emissions of BioCarbon Laminates on an annual basis based on the volumes sold. This is in order to deliver to market a carbon neutral product that is striving to reduce its environmental impacts whilst supporting vital sustainable development projects.

The EPD also provides transparency to other companies and contractors, raising awareness of the environmental impacts of their choices and providing a more sustainable one to support their own climate ambitions.

The Benefits of LCA & EPD

Scientific and robust methodology for assessing environmental impact of products

  • The assessment goes beyond just carbon footprint to ensure no burden shifting
  • The LCA supports in defining emissions reduction opportunities
  • EPD provides data to architects and builders in a format that they can adopt for their own use
  • Enables comparisons between products (under the same product category rules (PCR))
  • Enables confidence in offsetting and carbon neutralisation for a Net Zero path

The result

  • Third-party validated Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
  • BioCarbon Laminates becomes the first carbon neutral laminate in the UK
  • An understanding of carbon sequestration potential and emissions hotspots across the value chain
  • Progress towards the company’s ambitious 2030 Net Zero goals

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