Product's Life Cycle
To avoid falling into any greenwashing traps, RONA decided to adopt a strict scientific method called the Life Cycle Approach.
Rather than looking only at the product’s obvious ecological features, this assessment looks at the total environmental performance over the product’s entire lifetime, from extraction of primary resources to end-of-life, including manufacturing, transportation, packaging and use. The Life Cycle Approach:
• Prevents the shifting of environmental problems from one step of the life cycle to another
• Simultaneously considers several different environmental issues
To offer our customers products that truly provide better environmental performance, RONA works with an independent third party.
Experts from the International Chair in Life Cycle Approch at the Polytéchnique de Montréal provide a rigorous product selection to be labelled RONA ECO and eco-responsible products after an in-depth, transparent and rigorous process.
HOW WE SELECT RONA ECO AND ECO-RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTS
To be considered eco-responsible, a product must offer features that reduce its environmental impact when compared to similar conventional products. The product may be identified as being less toxic, biodegradable, made of recycled materials, etc.
The first step in the selection process consists of verifying that supplier environmental claims are supported by credible, relevant evidence.
The second step consists of using the life cycle approach to demonstrate whether the claimed feature provides real and significant environmental benefits.
Having environmental features is not enough to identify a product as being more ecological: the features must generate impact reductions. For example, a product that is “compostable” is potentially more ecological than its non-compostable equivalent only if composting facilities exist where the product will end its useful life.
Not only must the features lead to reductions in environmental impact, but these reductions must be meaningful. The features must reduce the impact related to key environmental problems for this product category.
The assessment is always carried out using the life cycle approach, which assumes that products generate impacts at every stage of the life cycle: from the acquisition of the primary materials and manufacturing, to packaging, transportation, use and end-of-life.
For every environmental product feature, the consequences of that feature must be questioned at every stage of the life cycle. For example, a product made of a renewable material may not be recyclable at the end of life. Sometimes features displace the impact from one category to another: a product that consumes less energy may emit a pollutant that is noxious to human health. A good environmental feature should not shift the impact from one stage of the life cycle to another or from one impact category to another.