What is eco-efficiency?
The term Eco-Efficiency is defined as maximising efficiency while minimising environmental impact.
The concept of Eco-Efficiency Analysis was introduced through work undertaken by BASF in the mid 1990s as the company sought to assess the real financial and environmental impacts of providing a specific customer benefit through different products.
Thus Eco-Efficiency Analysis, which is also known as Life Cycle Assessment, compares and contrasts the financial and environmental costs and benefits of different products providing the same customer benefit over their entire lifetime. It is a particularly useful process when comparing new products with competing products in the market, within both an economic and environmental framework.
Undertaking such an Analysis is covered by two ISO standards:
ISO 14040:2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment: Principles and framework;
ISO 14044:2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment: Requirements and guidelines.
In a fouling control context, the customer benefit was identified as optimising vessel efficiency by ensuring a clean underwater hull.
The Eco-Efficiency Analysis supports the best decision-making, taking into account a broad range of variables including raw materials and energy consumption, throughlife costs relating to maintenance, repair and replacement, the benefits of use through limiting marine fouling thereby reducing fuel consumption, and ultimately the costs of waste disposal and any end-of-life requirements.