Keywords: eco-balance, material flow networks, impact assessment, balance valuation
Applying indicator systems and valuation methods in eco-balancing: case study from the beer production process
In this study, the authors summarise the development of an indicator system for impact assessment and balance valuation and the application of this system to an existing inventory (actual balance) of the Hasseroder Brewery Ltd. The actual balance represents the results of a previously conducted project during which a complex material flow network of the beer production process was elaborated and refurbished with specified data. The collected and registered balance items reflect the ecologically relevant material and energy flows of the enterprise's divisions. Building upon these results, the distinct impacts have been estimated and analysed in order to investigate and assess the raw materials and energy flows involved in the beer production process with regard to their respective ecological hazards. Development, implementation and application of the evaluation method have been carried out utilising the software tool Umberto, which had already been employed in the generation of the material flow network. The study first outlines the fundamental characteristics of eco-balances and indicator systems and refers to the features covered by the software tool Umberto. Following this, the course of investigation concerning the establishment of an impact assessment and a balance valuation are explained and the methodologies are applied to the existing case of the brewery. In conclusion, an interpretation of the eco-balance is carried out that eventually shapes the delineation of alternatives for actions for the brewery.