Life cycle assessment

We continuously strive to enhance the sustainability of our products and manufacturing processes. Eastman uses life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to analyze the potential environmental impacts of our products throughout their life cycles — from raw material and resource extraction to manufacture (cradle to gate). When possible, Eastman will perform cradle-to-grave LCA to expand the system to include downstream consumer use and end of life. 

To expand our overall capability of performing LCA, Eastman established a curriculum that trained approximately 200 process improvement engineers in the LCA methodology in 2021. This program is ongoing and will be incorporated into the onboarding for new hires in such roles. We are excited for this cohort to take the next level of training that is being developed, allowing engineers to take a systems approach in how we manufacture innovative materials with reduced footprints. 

The beginning of the analysis of our products is looking at our own emissions and the emissions upstream of our production. We appreciate that we can make a bigger difference when we rely on collaboration and transparency all along the value chain. Eastman uses LCA results to highlight process improvement opportunities, decarbonization investment opportunities and new process design choices to reduce our environmental footprints. Environmental LCA data on Eastman products also provides valuable information to our customers, empowering them to make more responsible material selection decisions.

Mountain sunset overlooking an autumn forest in North America
Consistent with Eastman's holistic sustainability strategy, the LCA team has evaluated programs being implemented in 2020 and beyond related to the circular economy. The studies have shown that, in terms of carbon footprint, Eastman's carbon renewal technology is 20%–50% advantaged over conventional production of syngas in Kingsport and polyester renewal technology is 20%–30% advantaged for production of monomers compared to conventional production. At our planned molecular recycling facility in France with the inherent efficiencies of an integrated French asset and the renewable energy sources available in the country, we expect to produce materials with up to 80% fewer GHG emissions than traditional processes. 

LCA plays an active role in helping Eastman navigate a transition to a more circular economy while furthering our commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions across our operations.

Learn more about how LCA works by reviewing our methodology for LCA.