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The impact of palm oil feedstock within the LCA of a bio-sourced cosmetic cream

Martinez S., Bessou C., Hure L., Guilbot J., Helias A.. 2017. Journal of Cleaner Production, 145 : p. 348-360.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.01.042

We performed a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) of a bio-based cosmetic cream containing Refined Palm Kernel Oil (RPKO). The objective was to investigate the importance of the RPKO production within the environmental impact of the cosmetic cream. We assumed a baseline scenario with best oil palm agricultural practices in Malaysia, and then tested different parameters, i.e. deforestation, peat soil drainage and improved effluent treatment, in order to check their influences. In the baseline scenario, transport of the cosmetic cream was the main contributing process (largest contribution for 11 out of 15 impact indicators). Contribution of the packaging of the cosmetic cream was also significant (largest for 2 out of 15). RPKO had a low impact contribution in the baseline scenario, albeit a much more critical one in the alternative scenarios. Deforestation and peat soil drainage (i.e. transformation and occupation) influenced two environmental indicators: Climate Change and Land Use. On Climate change indicator, deforestation caused an increase of about 9% of the cosmetic cream impacts and peat soil occupation an increase of 16%. On Land Use indicator, deforestation caused an increase of 3%, peat soil transformation and occupation caused increases of 938% and 41%, respectively. Methane capture from palm oil mill effluent treatment and conversion to electricity represented a low decrease of environmental impact of cosmetic cream (from -0.1% to -2.8%). This paper showed that the palm oil agricultural phase could have a non-negligible impact over the life-cycle of a cosmetic cream in case of deforestation and peat cultivation, despite its small contribution in both mass and economic terms.

Mots-clés : huile de palme; elaeis guineensis; pharmacologie; purification; impact sur l'environnement; pratique culturale; déboisement; changement climatique; utilisation des terres; effluent gazeux; méthane; malaisie; cosmétique

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