UPM‘s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of BioMotion™ RFF, conducted according to ISO standards, provides insights from raw material extraction to manufacturing, helping to improve sustainability and reduce carbon footprints.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a scientific method for analysing the environmental impacts of products. The LCA study of UPM BioMotion™ RFF was carried out in accordance with ISO standard 14040 and 14044 based on cradle-to-gate system boundary excluding potential environmental impacts after final packaging. It enables UPM to provide environmental impact information to its customers and downstream users. The data will also be used to further develop products and processes in future.

What is Life Cycle Assessment?

LCA is defined as the systematic analysis of the potential environmental impacts of products or services during their entire life cycle. A complete life cycle includes raw material extraction, processing, transportation, packaging, storage, use and waste management, and is called a cradle-to-grave. If the life cycle study includes all the life cycle phases up to manufacturing (but not the use phase and waste management), it is called a cradle-to-gate analysis.

Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) covers all relevant inputs from the environment (e.g., ores and crude oil, water, land use) as well as emissions into air, water, and soil (e.g., carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides). The International Organization for Standardization provides guidelines and requirements for conducting a LCA according to ISO 14040 and 14044.



The LCA model was created using the GaBi 10 software. The GaBi 2024.1 LCI database provides life cycle inventory data for the raw materials and process chemicals. The study was made following the principles of ISO14040 standard and the latest CML impact assessment methods were applied. The data collection is based on supplier design, process simulation and pre-commercial trial data and represent current best knowledge of the biorefinery process. A critical third-party review has been conducted by DEKRA Assurance Services GmbH according to ISO 14044.

System boundaries and functional units

The LCA study of UPM BioMotion™ RFF covers the life cycle stages “cradle to gate” including the production of raw materials, fuels and energy, manufacturing, treatment of wastes and by-products, packaging, and transportations in the value chain from the beginning to the warehouse. Transportation to customers, its use, and the end of life are excluded because it is an intermediate product used by customers to produce different products in different industry sectors. UPM BioMotion™ RFF can be used for example as a raw material in rubber and plastics, which again have different applications ranging from hoses to casings used in automotive or electronics industry. The end-of-life is strongly depended on the product stage therefore no reliable scenario can be determined. The environmental impacts associated with capital goods are also not considered in the study. All material inputs and energy carriers used are considered. Direct emissions to air are considered, but as they are based on digital process simulation, adjustments might be needed once the plant starts operating. The results are displayed per one ton of UPM BioMotion™ RFF.  

Allocation and cut-off criteria

The production process of main products is bound to the chemical and physical composition of the feedstock. The main components of wood (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) are utilized to produce BioMEG, BioMPG, UPM BioMotion™ RFF, and industrial sugars. In general, an allocation rule based on dry matter content has been ap- plied. For raw materials and output flows containing biogenic carbon, the allocation is based on biogenic carbon content. No cut-off criteria are defined for this study. For the processes within the system boundary, all available energy and material flow data have been included in the model. In cases where no matching life cycle inventories are available to represent a flow, proxy data have been applied based on conservative assumptions regarding environmental impacts


UPM BioMotion™ RFF have a negative carbon footprint considering biogenic carbon from our feedstock and buying 100% green electricity via GOs for the production process. Replacing fossil-based materials with UPM BioMotion™ RFF can help effectively reduce carbon footprint of rubber and plastics products. As the biorefinery is currently in the process of being built, the LCA results will enable UPM to understand where potential environmental hotspots and improvement potential lie. Our LCA will be gradually updated with primary data, from manufacturing and supplier specific data for purchased raw materials as soon as they become available.