Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Jeans : A case study performed at Nudie Jeans

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Within the jeans production industry, large quantities of cotton, water and chemicals are consumed on a daily basis resulting in environmental issues decentralized around the world. An increased awareness about these environmental issues amongst companies, organizations and the consumers have initiated for environmental aspects to be considered within the jeans production processes. One such initiative is the introducing of CSR management into the business operations and strategy. In order to see how well the environmental targets and performance succeed with capturing the existing environmental issues more information about the specific products is required. This thesis was conducted to evaluate and compare the environmental impacts of three jeans manufactured by Nudie Jeans from a life cycle perspective and to evaluate the environmental focus at Nudie Jeans. Accordingly the main purpose has been to evaluate the environmental performance of jeans at Nudie Jeans. The main purpose have been divided into the two sub- targets: To find out which of the three styles of jeans: Lean Dean Lost Legend, Tilted Tor Dry Royal Embo and Grim Tim Conjunctions, manufactured at Nudie Jeans, that has the best environmental performance and why. To find out how well the prioritized environmental sustainability targets and measures represent their potential environmental impact. The evaluation is based on nine main environmental aspects, assessed to be relevant and of interest for the given case. The LCA has been performed according to the methodology and guidance presented in the ISO 14040-standard to ensure a methodological structure with high credibility. The studied products are the three styles of jeans: Lean Dean Lost Legend, Tilted Tor Dry Royal Embo and Grim Tim Conjunctions. The main difference between the products can be found in what companies and in which countries the life cycle phases: cotton cultivation, fabric manufacturing and jeans production are conducted. The results of the study show that Grim Tim Conjunctions and Tilted Tor Dry Royal Embo have the best environmental performance and the worst environmental performance can be found in Lean Dean Lost Legend. The results are mainly caused by two main process contributors, the energy sources used for electricity and heating and the substances used in the dyeing, laundry and finishing processes. A sensitivity analysis on the results gathered from the LCA shows that Nudie Jeans is to the largest extent focusing on the right environmental aspects. The focus on organic cotton cultivation and the promoting of repairs are highly reflecting the environmental importance within the subject, however, the measures and targets regarding energy usage could be improved to better represent its environmental importance.

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