Press Release 99/xx (1 of x pages)

Technology Brief
Life cycle assessment tool for ecoefficient products
Zurich, Switzerland, February 12, 2001 - ABB’s customers are increasingly interested in the
environmental impact of the products and systems they purchase: a factor driving a great
deal of new technology in companies striving toward sustainable development. To meet this
interest, ABB is using life cycle assessments (LCAs) to assess the impact of a product or
system over the course of its entire life.
The LCA software tool tracks data on the product or system and quantifies the
environmental impacts arising from the extraction of raw materials; manufacturing;
transportation of the finished product to the user; use of the product during its operational
life; and its eventual disposal or recycling.
LCA relies on a software tool called EcoLab and its comprehensive database, adapted for
ABB, to describe and quantify the environmental impact of each of these phases. LCA
studies help ABB improve the design of products, sharpen their competitive edge and
improve their environmental and overall performance – all important factors in the minds of
customers, employees and other stakeholders.
Particularly important is the fact that many ABB products are made up of components
which produce, transmit or transform energy, incurring energy losses in the process. Because
many ABB products have very long lifetimes, the company tries to develop products with
high efficiencies and low environmental impacts. This is termed "ecoefficiency."
In addition to providing the necessary information to design ecoefficient products, the LCA
tool provides the basis for Environmental Product Declarations - certifiable descriptions of
the environmental performance of ABB's core products - to communicate to customers,
users, regulators and other interested parties.
For more information, please refer to the ABB Group Annual Report 2000, Technology
ABB Corporate Communications, Zurich
Thomas Schmidt
Tel: +41 1 317 7354
Fax: +41 1 317 7958