Get started

Startups can get started right away. The Cif aims to make LCA easy for all, though there are a few Life Cycle Assessment concepts that a trainer can help you grasp, to make your Cif better and faster.

Impact hub, incubator and course managers can get started here to set up a training for startups, to get external validation on their work and to include impact forecasting in a jury and for team selection and coaching.

Quick guide

Step 1: scope

Answer six open questions and a multiple choice. This defines the innovation, baseline, scale, scope, and functional unit in a couple of minutes.

Step 2: differences

Define the differences between your innovation and the baseline using drop-down menus. This brings up the life cycle indicators and their carbon footprint. For the first use, 4 to 8 differences will usually be enough to describe key source of impact. It can be made more precise as more the startup progresses.

Step 3: quantities

How many kilograms, kilowatt hours or cubic meters are needed for the innovation? or no longer needed because the baseline is replaced? The corresponding impact for your product or service is displayed instantly. Green for positive impact; negative kilograms of carbon dioxide eq.

Step 4: prevent side-effects

In pursuit of a climate-friendly solution, an innovation may end up being harmful to the environment or humans in other ways. This example of smart switching technology has a green carbon footprint through reduced energy use, but a red eco-toxicity footprint from the harmful production of the electronics and plastics.

Step 5: overview

A one-page overview contains all the information and assumptions made, and the resulting impacts per functional unit, and in total for the business (e.g. in a given year). In this example, the total impact is positive, but not significant; not even the footprint of an average human being, and there is a negative eco-toxicity footprint to consider.

Step 6: learn and improve

The first overview should never be an end result. Use it instead to discuss directions for improvement with the team, to consider and find low-impact materials and to add details as you learn. For this example, significant positive climate impact is achieved by scaling the business. In order to have positive eco-toxicity as well, the housing could be made of bioplastic and the electronics would need to be scaled down by more than half.

Preparing for a training

If you’re an impact startup, you are probably already prepared. Bring to the Cif training your;

  • Pitch deck
  • Laptop or tablet
  • CTO and CEO

And what you have in terms of numbers, not the number of clients or cash, but weights, amounts, energy consumption etc. relevant to your innovation. There is no need to hunt for data if you don’t know it yet, after the training you will know exactly which data might still be needed, and how to find it.

Climate impact forecast training

To get the teams in your incubator or program started with a Cif training, you have two options;

  • Find a trainer and reach out to him or her
  • Use the form to get a trainer recommended for your needs

Each trainer provides the one-day Cif training for startups, according to our shared format, each with our own stories, examples, experience and expertise. Of course it is always possible to tailor the format and planning to your program. An introduction to impact forecasting can be done in one or two hours, to have participants use the tool in session requires a 4 hour session at least, and an hour more to wrap with every team pitching their newly found positive impact.

Cif training example planning

10:00 Arrival – welcome, introductions
10:30 Carbon footprint quiz – To warm up the carbon impact intuition
10:45 Talk – Impact assessment fundamentals Perspectives on assessment, examples of mitigation, enabler and adaptation projects, system boundaries, life cycles, benchmarks, Theory on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): definitions of process, system boundary, functional unit, business unit, LCI, CO2eq, Mpt, EVR, eco-costs, footprints including carbon footprint, endpoints EcoInvent and the IdeMat database
11:45 Workshop – Introduction to the tool with examples
12:30 Lunch
13.30 Workshop – Teams working on step 1 & 2
14:30 Impact stories – A round of intermediate results
14:30 Workshop – Table-by-table assistance Step 3 & 4: Identify which aspects of start-up idea contribute most to the total impact
16:00 Results – Draw conclusions and prepare the pitch to include everything found out today, and new to-do’s for impact improvement.
16:30 Pitches – Demonstrate how the idea has impact, how much, how to improve, and show how positive impact drives or benefits the business model. Including Q&A and feedback.
till 17h Wrap – Closing remarks and directions for exploration

Assistance and validation after training

All teams participating in a one-day training will get the impact of their proposed business idea. Sometimes it takes a few assumptions to get there, and after the training there is the need for additional information. That information could be impact data, field measurements, researching a process or detailing the product, and when it is found, new insights follow. As part of the training, our trainers are available through email or telco for some time after the session, to help teams find and interpret the additional impact information.

To make sure that your teams are making a positive impact, we also offer Cif validation, periodic coaching of the teams toward positive impact, or aggregation of the impact data, or validation of climate impact forecasts made in- and outside our startup trainings, and impact forecasting for established businesses.

Coach, jury and grader guidance

The Cif is made so that non-LCA-expert startups can benefit from LCA methods and data. The guidance document below is made for non-LCA-expert coaches, judges and graders to review climate impact forecasts. Still, especially for mature startups, LCA expertise among coaches and assessors is very beneficial, and will increase the effectiveness of impact forecasting to the program.

Cif coach, jury and grader guidance (pdf)

Would you like a demo?

We can show you round, demonstrate a relevant example and discuss your impact startup’s needs.