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Brighter Living Solutions Methodology

How we measure

What you cannot measure, you cannot prove. Metrics are needed to evaluate the environmental or social impact of solutions, which allows our product developers and marketeers to spot and articulate differentiators, mitigate possible risks and steer product innovation towards greater sustainability performance.
Brighter Living Solutions graphic

Life Cycle Assessments

We use a product life cycle approach to determine environmental and social impacts along the value chain. By using this approach, we evaluate the product life cycle from raw material extraction, via production, manufacturing, transport and use, all the way to end of life and recycling. Environmental and social differentiators can be created at all stages of the product life cycle. All Life Cycle Assessments (LCA’s) at DSM are carried out according to relevant ISO standards and the WBCSD developed guideline, Life Cycle Metrics for Chemical Products.

The product life cycles of DSM’s solutions are compared to the ‘mainstream reference solution’ in ‘Comparative Eco LCA’s’ or ‘Comparative People LCA’s’. The ‘mainstream reference solution’ is the most widely used alternative solution within the relevant market segment. This which may be an equivalent solution of similar type, or an existing solution of a different type which addresses the same market need in a different way. The most widely used alternative solution is selected following an assessment of the specific market situation. In exceptional circumstances, where a single ‘mainstream reference solution’ cannot be selected because of a lack of market or labelling transparency, a selection of multiple comparable equivalents may be chosen.

Portfolio steering

To steer its portfolio transformation, DSM also conducts annual ‘Product Category Sustainability Reviews’ for all of its products. This review identifies environmental and social impact differentiators for each product category and confirms minimum compliance levels.

Harmonization of methodologies

DSM is taking an active role in creating and disseminating common standards for sustainability metrics.  Joint metrics help to create a shared vocabulary and bring the industry on a higher level. Within the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Industry group, DSM is playing an active role in the development and sharing of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), Product Social Metrics, as well as guidelines to measure Natural and Social Capital. DSM is also one of the co-founders of the multi-industry Roundtable for Product Social Metrics.