We all want to offer beautiful and great products and generate a good return. We have to think about our future and do business in a sustainable manner. How do we measure how sustainable we are? BVB Substrates uses a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for this.

The footprint of the future

The demand for sustainable development is increasing. That makes sense when you consider that, if we do nothing, the global temperature will have risen by 3.7 ┬░ C in the year 2085 (most realistic scenario). As a result, there will be more floods and at the same time more water shortages, 30% of all plant and animal species will have disappeared and crop yields around the world will decrease.

What is sustainability exactly and what does it mean for business?

In general, sustainability means that people, the earth and economic interests (People, Planet, Profit) are in balance with each other. We want to earn money and experience prosperity, but we must take our responsibility for the environment and the well-being of future generations.


In response to climate change legislation is changing and focusing on sustainability by restricting emission levels.

  • Governments are working on a climate law
  • Environmental pricing
  • Newly built greenhouses must be climate neutral in 2020
  • Banks want “green transparency”
  • The number of Dutch people consciously engaged in sustainability has risen from 30% to 40%
  • Consumers demand for more environmentally friendly products

BVB Substrates Product LCA

Measurable environmental impact

BVB Substrates measures its sustainability through a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).

The analysis shows the product’s environmental impact in all phases that the product goes through; from the harvest of raw material to waste processing or reuse of the product.

The emissions that are released during the life cycle of a product are added together resulting in the “environmental footprint” of a product. Because we don’t only look at our own, local impact on the environment but the entire chain, we obtain a complete picture of the total environmental impact of the product.


A “footprint” is made up from around 25 environmental impact items, including climate change (kg CO2), abiotic exhaustion (kg Sb),┬áhuman toxicity (kg 1.4 DB), acidification (kg SO2), eutrophication (kg PO43-), etc. By not only looking at CO2 emissions, but at all impact items, we are able to get a much more realistic picture of the environmental impact. For example, it could be the case that a product has low CO2 emissions, but does poorly on human toxicity. If one only looks at CO2 emissions, a distorted view can be obtained of the environmental impact. To get comprehensible and practical insights into the footprint, all factors are summarised in an environmental cost indicator (MKI). This is simply the total environmental impact translated to costs in euros.


BVB Substrates uses the EcoChain tool to calculate this footprint. The tool uses the top down approach to perform LCAs for Cradle to Gate, Cradle to Grave and Cradle to Cradle analyses and is fully compliant with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. In addition to gaining insights into sustainability on business level, process level and product level, this transparency provides a important information for sustainable innovation.

In addition EcoChain is a network of all parts of the supply chain. The main advantage of this is that if one party becomes more sustainable, it is taken into account all companies in the chain.

BVB Substrates EcoChain

Balance, efficiency and awareness

BVB Substrates will soon be able to determine the footprint on product level up to delivery at our customers location. The added value of this is reflected in the transparency of the sustainability of the products that we offer, having an answer to the increasing demand from the market, fulfilling our sense of responsibility towards future generations and avoiding or minimising future environmental costs and fines. Subsequently, this transparency serves as a source for innovation of sustainable products and optimal efficiency.

Changes and innovations in the chain are always closely monitored at BVB Substrates and, if possible, we participate in innovative try-outs. With these try-outs we mainly aim to be more efficient and aware of the resources available to us. An example of one of the projects we have participated in is the cultivation tests using LED lighting in which BVB Substrates did research into the recipe of the substrate.

We often develop entirely new products from a sustainability point of view. BVB Impress, for example, is a new generation of pressed potting soil based on peat instead of black peat. BVB Impress was developed after multi-year research at BVB Research with especially developed equipment.

Transportation is carried out by a modern fleet with the cleanest EURO 6 trucks equipped with the Trimble fuel management system.
In short, by ensuring a good balance between People, Planet and Profit in the production of our products, we contribute to sustainable development.

This can be measured in the abovementioned LCA. In doing so, let’s strive for the lowest environmental impact for our products; the footprint of the future!