We’ve previously talked about The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which is new EU regulation that aims to increase corporate transparency and accountability in relation to sustainability. In this article we’ll discuss the directive’s importance to the maritime industry.
In a transformative move for the maritime industry, ReFlow has signed a landmark agreement with GC Rieber Shipping, the renowned Norwegian shipping company. The partnership aims to establish a first-of-its-kind Life Cycle Assessment ( LCA ) model for the Windkeeper, GC Rieber Shipping’s pioneering vessel. This groundbreaking initiative not only underscores the centrality of LCA and climate data in promoting sustainability but also sets a new precedent for the shipping industry.
In a recent announcement, Rasmus Elsborg Jensen, the CEO of ReFlow, has been selected to serve as an EU Climate Pact Ambassador for a second term. Reflecting his unparalleled commitment to environmental sustainability, this decision reflects both the success of his previous tenure and the expectations for continued leadership in this pivotal role.
As the world continues to grapple with climate change and its impact on the environment, more and more organizations are adopting sustainable procurement practices. These practices, which involve considering the environmental and social impact of products and services, can help reduce an organization’s carbon footprint while supporting sustainable economic growth.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and product carbon footprint reporting are essential tools for organizations looking to measure and reduce their environmental impact. However, the validity and reliability of these reports are critical to their effectiveness. To ensure transparency and accuracy, third-party verification is essential.
ReFlow is featured i VIKING’s newest sustainabvility report as key digital decarbonization collaborator. For VIKING sustainability isn’t just buzzword. They have ambitious net zero goals and are transparent about how they plan to reach them. The role ReFlow have had in their digital decarbonization is highlighted in their newest sustainability report.
A new EU directive (CSRD) will tighten the reporting requirement on emissions for companies
Industry-first digital climate twin to enable greener ferries owned by Danish ferry operator
Scandlines has chosen the Danish climate tech startup ReFlow to develop advanced climate twins of its latest “Zero-emission” ferry design using cutting-edge life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology.
The steel is currently being cut at Cemre Shipyard for the zero-emission vessel contracted by Scandlines for the Puttgarden-Rødby route. Over the following months, ReFlow will build a detailed life-cycle model representing the vessel from its construction to its end of life many years from now. The model will show the environmental impact of the ferry, not only in its use but also from its construction at Cemre Shipyard along with the installed equipment. The digital “climate twin” will make it possible for Scandlines to run simulations on the use of new green technology on the ferry something that is nearly impossible today.
A future-proof investment
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a holistic approach to assessing the environmental impact. It can include all life cycle stages of a vessel and not just the fuel consumption that is common practice in the maritime industry. Incorporating all life cycle stages, the shipowner will get a complete overview of the vessel’s emissions in its entire life, including the fuel consumption. “Our new zero-emission vessel will be electrically powered, so it makes good sense for us to look at the entire life cycle and understand the remaining emissions so they can be improved over time,” states Fini A. Hansen, VP Fleet, Scandlines.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is a digital representation of physical products, in this case, a ferry. The digital twin concept became famous in 2010 by NASA, allowing for digital modeling of its space ferries before departure. Today the use of digital twins is widely shared in many industries as it allows for low-cost simulations before installing expensive equipment.
An industry first
The ferry will be environmentally assessed using ISO-backed Life Cycle Assessment methodology – a tool well-known in other industries like automotive and construction but very new to the maritime industry. “We are very excited about the new cooperation and also looking forward to the world premiere of applying life cycle assessment to a complete ferry – it is an industry first to our knowledge,” states Rasmus Elsborg-Jensen, CEO and Founder of ReFlow.
The assessment of the ferry design and its proposed life cycle is no small task. It will run over the next three months and include detailed information on the building processes and chosen equipment aboard.
“It is our ambition to provide Scandlines with a granular understanding of the emissions associated with, not just the fuel use, but also the vessel itself, allowing for future “plug and play” scenarios where new greener technologies can be assessed on the vessel before an investment” states Rasmus Elsborg-Jensen, CEO and Founder of ReFlow
In line with new EU recommendations
The EU highlights the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as the go-to tool for providing environmental data on products and processes.New EU initiatives like the Green Deal call for more environmental data and product transparency, and Life Cycle Assessment provides exactly that. “Using life cycle assessment, the shipowners can get a more granular understanding of the current environmental profile of a vessel but also, more importantly, understand the future roads towards a greener vessel – a patch that often is linked with partnerships and new technologies,” comments Rasmus Elsborg-Jensen, CEO and Founder of ReFlow
A new digital approach will enable green procurement
ReFlow will, jointly with the traditional Life Cycle Assessment process, incorporate the digital solution that makes it possible for suppliers to make and submit their LCA calculations directly to Scandlines, speeding up the process when selecting new suppliers or evaluating current ones. Several maritime Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) are already using the digital platform, which makes it possible to cut the time and cost associated with a life cycle assessment of the products by over 80% compared to traditional manual approaches.
“The digital solution from ReFlow will be a good enabler for our green procurement strategy as it allows our current and future suppliers to provide climate data on their products. Product climate data will allow us to evaluate products and eventually lower the carbon footprint over time,” states Fini A. Hansen, VP Fleet, Scandlines.
Data for zero-emission Scandlines freight ferry for the Puttgarden-Rødby route:
Length: 147.4 m
Breadth: 25.4 m
Design draft: 5.30 m
Freight capacity: 66 freight units (abt. 1,200 lane meters)
Max. number of passengers: 140
Service speed: 10 knots
The New Zero Emission Ferry from Scandlines:
Anette Ustrup Svendsen
Head of Corporate Communications
Mobile: +45 26 777 000
CEO, Founder, and EU Climate Pact Ambassador
Mobile: +45 3115 5508
Is zero-emission products possible?
The challenge behind carbon neutrality of products
Have you ever questioned what makes a product zero-emission? If so, we’re here to shed some light on what can often be confusing to those beginning their journey towards calculating their emissions. Throughout this article, we attempt to provide some clarity on the differences between emissions classifications and provide insight into why oftentimes calling your products ‘zero emissions’ can be misleading to stakeholders and consumers.
Understanding Your Emissions-– Scope 1, 2 and 3
Scopes 1 & 2
Greenhouse gas emissions can be understood within the context of three scopes , namely scopes one, two, and three. Scope one is what we define as direct emissions. Direct emissions constitute the most well-known and classic example of fuel combustion such as everything that comes out of an exhaust pipe or chimney and enters the atmosphere directly.
Scope two consists of indirect emissions and can be understood through the eyes of company consumption and other actions. An excellent example of this would be energy consumption. If a company utilizes a production line that demands electricity or if they have systems requiring heating or cooling this would fall into what we define as scope two.
Scope one and two have had their fair share of attention and reporting for the many past years. However, recently scope three has overtaken interest within environmental circles, and for good reason.
Scope three can be trickier to understand and assess. Actions that fall into scope three can often possess some of the highest amounts of atmospheric emissions and in some cases, more emissions can be expelled from actions in scope three, than from scope one and two combined. To break it down, scope three is defined as indirect emissions, just like that of scope two. Although, scope three is different in that it encompasses the indirect emissions related to activities throughout a company’s supply chain.
Essentially all emissions related to the upstream and downstream supply chain fall into scope 3 and include, but are not limited to, emissions from raw material extraction, transportation, and even infrastructure. These actions can be difficult to account for, however, they are necessary in order to fully understand emission outputs in their entirety. This is possible with life cycle assessments.
What About Zero-Emission Products?
The only zero-emissions product is a product that reports on all scopes of emissions–including scope 3. ‘Zero-emissions’ products are everywhere. Although, in order to fully claim a product has zero-emissions qualities a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) must be conducted where the scope one, two, and three emissions are accounted for. Unfortunately, this isn’t common practice for many companies making sustainable product claims.
Irresponsible burden-shifting can mean that different activities with different emissions outputs end up being weighed equally and can therefore result in greenwashing. For this reason, assessing a product from cradle to grave, or from the point of raw material extraction for the product’s creation, all the way up until the complete disposal of the product is instrumental in making honest claims about the product’s entire output of emissions. Governing bodies are currently regulating legislation to lower industry emissions where documentation and reporting for scope 3 are on the horizon. This is pushing many companies into taking these as signs to become fast movers and engage in early reporting.
Is Zero-Emission Achievable?
Selling a product on the basis that it has zero emissions without first calculating the different impacts turns a blind eye to an essential part of holistically assessing the product. The first step toward creating a zero-emissions product is through creating a baseline of everything you know about the product. This is not easy work, but utilizing tools like Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculators is easily one of the best places to start.
Tools like life cycle assessments (LCAs) allow you to quantify products with both generic data and company-known data allowing for more in-depth and transparent reporting. Fortunately, extensive digital libraries are also available to make this data even more accessible to everyone.
From here it becomes easier to calculate the scope of emissions, see where hotspots are, and where attention is needed to get closer to a truly sustainable product. It’s safe to say, what would have been deemed impossible just 30 years ago has today become achievable through the use of these impact assessment tools .
European Commission. (28 January, 2021). Screening of websites for ‘greenwashing’: half of green claims lack evidence. Retrieved on 28/12/2021 from https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_269
European Commission. (2021). Consumer policy – strengthening the role of consumers in the green transition. Retrieved on 10/06/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12467-Consumer-policy-strengthening-the-role-of-consumers-in-the-green-transition_en
European Commission. (2021). Environmental performance of products & businesses – substantiating claims. Retrieved on 10/06/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12511-Environmental-performance-of-products-&-businesses-substantiating-claims_en
 Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Corporate Standard. Retrieved on 10/06/2022 from https://ghgprotocol.org/corporate-standard
 Bjørn, A., Owsianiak, M., Molin, C., Hauschild, M.Z. (2018). LCA History. In: Hauschild, M., Rosenbaum, R., Olsen, S. (eds) Life Cycle Assessment. Springer, Cham. https://doi-org.ep.fjernadgang.kb.dk/10.1007/978-3-319-56475-3_3
Life Cycle Assessments for the Climate
– A tool for the future of the circular economy
Life cycle assessments, commonly known as LCAs, go beyond classical approaches to assessing environmental consequences of products, industries, and company actions. LCAs provide companies a more in depth understanding of the impacts they have on the environment by accounting for more stages than just the use stage.
Taking the emissions released from the distribution stage, for instance, is also important to consider when accurately calculating your overall emissions. Think of a truck with heavy cargo on its way to a warehouse or factory – emissions are created during this necessary process of transporting a product or getting it to its final destination. This is the case with all the stages within a life cycle assessment.
The Circular Economy
A circular economy goes beyond the typical buy, sell, and dispose mentality. This closed loop thinking incorporates holistic and environmentally preferable solutions to a products’ life cycle, often by factoring in stages like reuse and recycling.
An LCA tool or a carbon footprint calculator is a good instrument which can be utilized to understand the most optimal ways for a product to best engage within the EU circular economy and become environmentally preferable products.
Cradle-to-Cradle & Cradle-to-Grave
Conducting an LCA on the granular level starts from the point of extracting the raw materials all the way up until the complete and eventual disposal of a product. This is commonly known as cradle-to-grave which is where the life cycle assessment gets its name. Cradle-to-grave refers to all of the stages the product experiences up until the point of which it is disposed of or no longer being used. However, incorporating additional stages such as recycling and refurbishment, adds a cradle-to-cradle concept which becomes necessary when engaging in a circular economy.
Other steps such as what occurs during resource processing, manufacturing, recycling, and disposal are also taken into account when calculating overall environmental impacts. Cradle-to-cradle provides a more holistic approach to life cycle analysis and incorporates circular thinking. With cradle-to-cradle, a products’ creation as well as its disposal and even actions beyond like recycling and repurposing as included. This is important because LCAs can aid in pinpointing hotspots where environmental impacts are greatest in a products life which, often as not, is not always the use stage.
Oftentimes the greatest environmental impact from a product can be found within the manufacturing or disposal stage where unfavorable methods are used and materials go to waste or where disposing of a product demands extensive steps to ensure safety to the public.
Carbon Footprint & Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP)
The carbon footprint is generally defined as the calculated output of Carbon dioxide and equivalents (CO2e) from any and all activities–anything from driving a car, to charging your phone, and even your new purchases.
Environmentally preferable products (EPP) or Sustainable Products (SP) take this carbon footprint into consideration and are generally defined as products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to competing products or services that serve the same purpose.
The carbon footprint of products or activities can be calculated using a carbon footprint calculator where the results represent the quantity of CO2e emissions released into the atmosphere, thereby making it easier to assess products or activities on an environmental level.
Examples of environmentally preferable products can include:
Greenwashing refers to when companies and organizations mislead their consumers or audiences by making them believe that a product, service they provide, or the organization itself is environmentally friendly or sustainable, when it is not. Deceptive claims that refer to products as environmentally friendly when important factors essential in accurately calculating the carbon footprint of the product are neglected often constitute greenwashing throughout many industries.
So how do you avoid greenwashing?
Being transparent on your calculations and method is one of your most powerful tools in avoiding claims of greenwashing. This means sharing how you perform your calculations and sharing your results with your value chain and the public.
The Makeup of Life Cycle Assessments
According to ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 – the leading standards for LCAs – an LCA is performed in four main phases or steps:
All in all, LCAs are a powerful tool in that they can help empower decision makers to engage in different methods and facilitate strategies that allow them to incorporate granular environmental thinking into their products.