Energy and Environment
Swerea IVF is involved in research, development and implementation within the environmental and energy fields. We work within ecodesign, life cycle assessments (LCA), environmental product declarations, environmental management systems (ISO 14000), issues relating to chemicals in products, corporate social responsibility (CSR), energy saving in the manufacturing industry, and new energy technologies using solar cells, fuel cells and batteries. Swerea IVF's goal is to help companies create profitability in a sustainable society.
Ecodesign or environmentally friendly product development is a method whereby product development includes efforts to develop products with a low environmental impact. The EU's Ecodesign directive already demands that this is done for certain product groups, and more will be added over time. Swerea IVF can help companies to introduce ecodesign methods in their product development.
A life cycle assessment (LCA) is one way to describe the environmental impact of a product throughout the entire product life cycle, from raw materials through manufacture and use to recovery/waste management. A life cycle assessment can be used as a basis for product development and help to focus efforts in order to bring about the greatest environmental improvement.
Certified environmental product declarations (EPD) are a way of comparing the environmental impacts of various products and communicating this to the market. Environmental product declarations can describe the environmental impact or just the energy and climate impact. The reliability and credibility of an environmental product declaration can be enhanced by third-party audit.
The EU's new chemicals legislation, REACH, affects companies that manufacture products containing chemicals. Plastic products with softeners, electronics with flame retardants, textile products with anti-mould treatment or sheet metal parts with treated surfaces may contain chemicals that are regulated by REACH legislation. Swerea IVF helps companies keep track of legislation regarding chemical requirements and participates in research projects that are aimed at producing more environmentally friendly chemicals and processes.
Escalating energy prices and the risk of climate effects resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases make it increasingly important for companies to make energy savings and take advantage of savings opportunities. Swerea IVF helps companies to identify energy use and can suggest effective ways to reduce energy consumption. Swerea IVF can also help to evaluate and implement new energy technologies such as lithium ion batteries, fuel cells and solar cells.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is when a company takes environmental, social and financial responsibility for the effects of its decisions and its activities. It means being committed to the outside world and its employees, over and above that required by law. The idea is that the company, as well as the employees and the environment will benefit from this. Corporate social responsibility cannot simply be confined to the individual company. It always follows the entire product chain and is therefore equally important for both large and small companies. Swerea IVF has developed tools that also are suitable for small businesses, which may be used to analyse, correct and report CSR issues.