1. Company Level

On the Company Level you enter your usages and emissions. After completing this step you can distribute the impact of these usages and emissions across processes and products.

1.1. Add usages and emissions

On the company level you collect your usages and emissions. After completing this step you can distribute the collected impacts across processes and products.

You will need the following data:

  • Data on energy consumption
  • Business travel and commuting
  • Direct (process) emissions
  • Direct extractions of natural resources
  • A list of suppliers and the purchased materials
  • Transport distances from suppliers

1.2.1. Add usages and emissions

You will need the following data:

  • Data on energy consumption;
  • Data on diesel, LPG or other direct fuel use;
  • Data on direct (process) emissions to the soil, air or water.

    When you want to add usages and emissions to your Ecochain company account.

    • Navigate to the usages and emissions tab
    • Add usages & emissions
    • Related articles

     

    Navigate to the usages and emissions tab

    Add usages & emissions

    Click on ‘Add new impact item’ under ‘Usages & Emissions’ and inspect the range of utilities (e.g. water, gas and electricity), direct fuel use (e.g. diesel, petrol) and direct emissions (e.g. methane, nitrogen) in the database.

    In order to add usages or emission, select the emission type and enter the used amount via the ‘Add new impact item’ button. Click ‘Add item’ to add the selected utility, fuel use and direct emissions to your company. Once the impact item has been added, the emissions associated with the selected impact item are displayed in the overview. This associated emission can be displayed for several impact categories, which can be selected in the top right corner of the usage & emissions tab.

    In case your factory monitors direct emissions to the environment, it is possible to also manually add these emissions to different mediums (water, soil or air). Click on ‘Direct Emissions’, select the compartment in which the emissions occur and click on the specific chemical that is being emitted. Finally fill in the total amount, and click on ‘Add item’.

    When insight in the companies true cost flow is desired, we recommend to fill in the total costs under the total amount. These costs can be derived from the companies electricity or gas bill.

    Add usages & emissions

    Often users are dealing with relatively small amounts of data in this segment of the application. It is therefore advised to add usages and emissions manually (see ‘Manual’ Walk-through). However, the import/export functionality is useful for copying usages and emissions data from one year to another. In the most recent version (Currently 2.4.0.) it is possible to copy the data of a year to a new year. 

    • Click ‘Export’;
    • The download starts, as indicated in the top-right of the screen;
    • Switch to the desired data implementation year (see below);

    • Navigate to the tab ‘Usages & Emissions’;
    • Click ‘Import’;
    • Click ‘Select an xls file’;
    • Select the saved file from your local computer;
    • Click ‘Preview Changes’.

    • Click ‘Save Changes’.

     

    1.3.1. Add materials

    You will need the following data:

    • Amount of extracted natural resources.

    Navigate to the Purchasing tab

    Add Materials

    Click on ‘New Material’ and ‘Add’ once you entered the name of a purchased material.

    Once your material name has been added, click on ‘Add supplier’. A new window will appear (see below). In this window it is possible to link the material name, the one you just created, to a supplier (one that is working with EcoChain) or a LCA-database reference (e.g. Ecoinvent or the Nationale Milieu Database). This is an environmental impact that will be added to your created material(s).

    When insight in the production true cost flow is desired, we recommend to fill in the costs of the purchased materials behind the purchased amount.

    To edit a material, click on the icon.  To remove materials from the purchasing page, click on the icon. Materials cannot be deleted when they are in the composition of products (see the composition section for a further explanation on how materials are used by products).

     

    The search filter options allow you to search in the entire LCA-database library of EcoChain, including a myriad of databases and suppliers, by typing complete names or parts of names. To see which search options are available; click ‘search options’ for an explanation. It is also possible to add a filter to the search results. By de-selecting the transport icon, for example, no transport processes will be shown in the search results.

    Adding LCA-database references to materials is one of the most difficult steps due to the extensive LCA-databases. In case additional support is required for this step, it is possible to reach our helpdesk, by creating a support ticket under the support button or call  +31 20 303 5704.

     

    Certain geographical location shortcuts are not as well know or commonly used. For example, GLO means global and represents activities which are considered to be an average valid for all countries in the world. RER shortcut represents Europe. RoW represents the Rest-of-the-World. In ecoinvent v3.2 (2015) and higher the RoW is generated as an exact copy of the GLO dataset with uncertainty adjusted. The newly generated RoW is then linked with activities of an adequate geographies creating RoW specific supply chain.

    Add Materials with the Import-Export functionality

    The import-export functionality is only useful when dealing with a large amount of different materials. When your company purchases less than 15 materials, it is advised to manually add materials into the Ecochain application (see ‘Manual’ Walk-through).

    • Click ‘Export’;
    • The download starts, as indicated in the top-right of the screen;

    • Open the Excel-file on your personal computer;

    • Add the materials under the header ‘Material Name’ and save the file;

    • Click ‘Import’;
    • Click ‘Select an xls file’;
    • Select the saved file from your local computer;
    • Click ‘Preview Changes’.

    Ecochain will indicate that, although the uploaded file was read successfully, there are X ignored lines (6 in this case, see picture below). The app shows this window because no reference activities have yet been added to the materials. This happens in the next step.

    • Click ‘Save changes’.

    Once your material names have been added, click on ‘Add supplier’.

    Once your material name has been added, click on ‘Add supplier’. A new window will appear (see below). In this window it is possible to link the material name, the one you just created, to a supplier (one that is working with Ecochain) or a LCA-database reference (e.g. Ecoinvent or the Nationale Milieu Database). This is an environmental impact that will be added to your created material(s).

    The search filter options allow you to search in the entire LCA-database library of Ecochain, including a myriad of databases and suppliers, by typing complete names or parts of names. To see which search options are available; click ‘search options’ for more explanation. It is also possible to add a filter to the results. By de-selecting the transport icon, for example, no transport processes will be shown in the search results.

    • Enter the name of your supplier or material in the search bar;
    • Select the correct reference activity;
    • Click on ‘Add’ to attach the reference to your material.

    Adding LCA-database references to materials is one of the most difficult steps due to the extensive LCA-databases. In case additional support is required for this step, it is possible to reach our helpdesk:  +31 (0)20 303 5777.

    In addition to Ecoinvent LCA-database references it is also possible to add LCA data from your suppliers. In order to do so, please contact our help desk.

    1.4.1 Add transport of materials

    You will need the following data:

    • A list of suppliers and the purchased materials
    • Transport distances from suppliers

     

    Navigate to the Transport tab

    Add a means of transport

    Before you can start with the import/export functionality, first one or several transport modes have to be registered. How you can add different means of transport is explained in paragraphs 1.3.2 – 1.3.3. In the following paragraph (1.3.4) it is described how users can enter the transport distance (i.e. from resource extraction location to the production plant) for each material per mode of transport (lorry, barge etc.). 

    In order to start, enter the name of a transport mode in the ‘New transport method’ bar, for example: “Truck”. Once your mode of transport has been entered, click the ‘Add’ button. This step can be repeated several times, depending on the amount of transportation methods that are used by the suppliers of your materials.


    Link a transport method to a LCA-database reference activity

    Once you have defined the different transportation modes, the next step is to indicate what emissions are associated with the transportation modes. For each material the left column shows the weight (in tonnes) of the materials that have to be transported. By default this column shows the following chain icon (see below):


    Similarly to the previous purchasing page, either complete or partial names of database references can be entered in order to find suitable references activity for the defined transportation modes. The search function allows you to look for either an exact or a partial match between the search command and a database reference activity (see below). This means that, for example, by typing “lorry unspecified” into the search bar, all reference activities that contain these two words will be displayed. In this case the search window will shows 10 results.

     The table below presents a selection of commonly used transport references from two LCA-databases: the international Ecoinvent database and the Dutch Nationale Milieu Database (NMD).

    Type

    Name

     

    LCA-Database

    Truck (lorry)
    transport, freight, lorry, unspecified//[RER] transport, freight, lorry, all sizes, EURO4 to generic market for transport, freight, lorry, unspecified Ecoinvent v 3.4 Cut-off
    SBK 900t Transport, freight, lorry, unspecified Nationale Milieudatabase v 2.0
    Type

     

     

    Name LCA-Database

    Ocean Ship

    transport, freight, sea, transoceanic ship//[GLO] transport, freight, sea, transoceanic ship

    Ecoinvent v 3.4 Cut-off
    SBK oceaanvrachtschip Milieudatabase v 2.0
    Type Name LCA-Database

    Barge

    transport, freight, inland waterways, barge//[RER] transport, freight, inland waterways, barge

    Ecoinvent v 3.4 Cut-off
    SBK 906t Transport, freight, barge tanker (binnenvaart) Nationale Milieudatabase v 2.0
    Type Name LCA-database

    Airplane
    transport, freight, aircraft//[GLO] market for transport, freight, aircraft Ecoinvent v 3.4 Cut-off
      Nationale Milieudatabase v 2.0

    Select a suitable reference from the list and click ‘Add’ to link the database reference to your defined mode of transport. The selected reference is now visible in the ‘Transport method’ field.

    The selected reference is now visible in the ‘Transport method’ field (see below).

    Whenever a transport method is not linked to a reference activity from a LCA-database, no grey area with the reference activity name is shown. This is the case for the ‘barge’ in the example, as shown in the picture above. Click ‘Add supplier’ and select a suitable reference from the list and click ‘Add’.

    Entering transport distances

    In an LCA the transportation of resources is expressed in the unit ‘tonkilometre’ (tkm). This unit represents one tonne (weight) transported over one kilometre (distance). It is possible to define the transport distance of materials for several transportation modes, although this is not obligatory. Make sure you have entered a transport distance for all your materials by moving through the different tabs under the header ‘Transport per supplied material’.

    Note: transport distances should always be calculated from the origin of the material. This means that, whenever materials are transported via distribution centres, transport between those distribution centres should also be included.

    For each material the left column shows the weight (in tonnes) of the materials that have to be transported. By default this column shows the following chain icon:

    This icon indicates that the amount of materials that is transported is identical to the amount entered in the purchasing tab (as explained in paragraph 1.2.2). In case you want to manually enter the transported amount of each material, click on the ‘connection icon’, which will change the icon into a broken chain:

    If you don't know the transportion distance of your products exactly it is possible to calculate the transport distance with the help of:

    • Google Maps for calculating the distance between locations for example when trucks are used as transportation method
    • The Blue Road Map for transportation using ships within the Netherlands. 
    • And you can use the website of https://sea-distances.org/ to calculate the distance between sea ports. 

    Note concerning loaded rate

    In accordance with the Assessment method of Stichting Bouwkwaliteit (SBK), return transport processes must be included in the calculation, unless it can be demonstrated that the return transport is loaded. The transport of the return transports is achieved if the one-way journey is taken into account and with the average loading rate as Ecoinvent applies it. This load factor has already been processed in the Ecoinvent processes on transport. For the 'Transport, lorry> 16t, fleet average / RER U' process, this is 50%, this corresponds effectively to full on the way and empty when it returns. If it is the case that the return journeys are demonstrably carried out with full load, then the half-way trip can be calculated, but the result must be increased by 25%, since a full loaded truck uses about 25% more fuel than an empty truck. It comes down to the fact that the distance with which the return journeys are demonstrably fully loaded is 62.5% (0.5 * 1.25) of the single journey distance.

     

    Add a means of transport

    Before you can start with the import/export functionality, first one or several transport modes have to be registered. In order to start, enter the name of a transport mode in the ‘New transport method’ bar, for example: “Truck”. Once your mode of transport has been entered, click the ‘Add’ button. This step can be repeated several times, depending on the amount of transportation methods that are used by the suppliers of your materials.

    Link a transport method to a LCA-database reference activity

    Once you have defined the different transportation modes, the next step is to indicate what emissions are associated with the transportation modes. For each material the left column shows the weight (in tonnes) of the materials that have to be transported. By default this column shows the following chain icon (see below):

    This icon indicates that the amount of materials that is transported is identical to the amount entered in the purchasing tab. In case you want to manually enter the transported amount of each material, click on the ‘connection icon’, which will change the icon into a broken chain:

    • To connect transport methods to database (emission) references, click on ‘Add supplier’ and search in the EcoChain library.

    Similarly to the previous purchasing page, either complete or partial names of database references can be entered in order to find suitable references for the defined transportation modes. The search function allows you to look for either an exact or a partial match between the search command and a database reference activity (see below). This means that, for example, by typing “lorry unspecified” into the search bar, all reference activities that contain these two words will be displayed. The table below presents a selection of commonly used transport references from two renowned LCA-databases: the international Ecoinvent database and the Dutch Nationale Milieu Database (NMD). Make sure that you always pick the most recent version of a specific database.

    Type

    Name

    LCA-Database

    Truck (lorry)

    Transport, freight, lorry, unspecified {GLO}| market for | Cut-of

    Ecoinvent 

    Transport, freight, lorry, unspecified {GLO}| market for | Cut-of

    Nationale Milieudatabase


    Inland waterways

    Transport, freight, inland waterways, barge {RER}| processing | Cut-off, U Ecoinvent 
    Transport, freight, inland waterways, barge {RER}| processing | Cut-off, U Nationale Milieudatabase

    Ocean Ship
    Transport, freight, sea, transoceanic ship {GLO}| market for | Cut-off, U Ecoinvent 

    Transport, freight, sea, transoceanic ship {GLO}| market for | Cut-off, U

    Nationale Milieudatabase
    Airplane transport, freight, aircraft//[GLO] market for transport, freight, aircraft Ecoinvent 
     

     

     

    Select a suitable reference from the list and click ‘Add’ to link the database reference to your defined mode of transport.

    The selected reference is now visible in the ‘Transport method’ field (see below).

    Whenever a transport method is not linked to a reference activity from a LCA-database, no grey area with the reference activity name is shown. This is the case for the “Ship” in the example, as shown in the picture above. Click ‘Add supplier’ and select a suitable reference from the list and click ‘Add’.

    Entering transport distances

    In an LCA the transportation of resources is expressed in the unit ‘tonkilometre’ (tkm). This unit represents one tonne (weight) transported over one kilometre (distance). It is possible to define the transport distance of materials for several transportation modes, although this is not obligatory.

    In order to enter the transport distances for all your materials through Excel, take the following steps:

    • Click ‘Export’;
    • The download starts, as indicated in the top-right of the screen;

    • Open the Excel-file on your personal computer;

    The picture below shows the excel-format for three materials: Barley, Glass and Plastic Packaging. In the picture three sections of the Excel-file have been highlighted. Hereafter follows an explanation for each section:

    1. Because two modes of transport were added in the first paragraph, to serve as an example, each material that was added during step 2 (column B) has two possible modes of transport in the excel-format (cells A2-A4).
    2. Columns C-E indicate which reference activities have been connected to the purchased materials. Column C (i.e. Product) states to the name of the reference activity that is used in the LCA database, in this case Ecoinvent v3.2 Cut-off (Column D). In column E it is indicates the publication date of the LCA database.

    IMPORTANT: the header ‘Product’ (column C) is not referring to the products of your production facility, the header ‘Company’ (Column D) is not referring to your company name, and the header ‘Year’ (Column E) is not referring to the year a user is working in. Rather, these columns refer to the LCA database and reference activity that have been selected during step 2 (1.2.2). Do not change the values in these cells.

    • Columns F (‘Ton’) and G (‘Km’) allow the user to enter the weight and transport distance of the purchased materials. It is recommended to allow the EcoChain application to calculate the total weight that requires transportation. This is possible in a later stage of the data entry exercise (follows below).

    • To adjust the transport distance, enter the transport distance per material per method of transportation (see below);

    Note: transport distances should always be calculated from the origin of the material. This means that, whenever materials are transported via distribution centres, transport between those distribution centres should also be included.

    • When finished, save the Excel-file on your personal computer;
    • Go to the ‘Transport’ tab and click ‘Import’;
    • Click ‘Select an xls file’;
    • Select the saved file from your local computer;
    • Click ‘Preview Changes’

    • Click ‘Save changes’.

    The table on the purchasing page now displays the transport distance per material per transport method (see below). In case you purchase more than 3 materials, the transport distances and amounts are displayed in multiple tabs.

     

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