Cradle to grave: The method matters

Life cycle assessment is part of Orion’s ambitious climate work.


"Life cycle assessment is an important tool for us. It enables us to identify and focus on the most significant environmental impacts that our products have during their life cycles."

Noora Paronen, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Orion

When assessing the environmental impacts of our products, we must take into account their entire life cycles and the interrelations between impacts. This is why Orion relies on life cycle assessment (LCA), as a method to comprehensively analyse the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its life cycle. It identifies, for example, the phases during which a product’s environmental impacts are at their highest, as well as assessing how the product affects natural environments during its life cycle, from the sourcing of raw materials to discarding the product.

The climate impact of a product – that is, its carbon footprint – can be determined as part of its life cycle assessment. For example, the carbon footprint of Orion’s family of dry powder inhalers were calculated for the first time in 2019. This process was repeated again in 2021 to include the full product range. According to the analysis, a major part of the emissions related to a product is generated in the supply chain outside the company’s own operations.

Environmental issues, and thereby also matters related to climate, are part of Orion’s supplier requirements, risk assessments and supplier management. Orion will increasingly be investing in these aspects; after all, carbon neutrality across the value chain can only be achieved through cooperation.

Why raise the bar?

Carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced, and we are investing in decreasing our carbon footprint. Life cycle assessment shows us the points at which our products burden the environment the most and have the highest environmental impacts. We need an accurate tool to show where we should target our measures to reduce environmental impacts.

How are we raising the bar?

What we do here at Orion to reduce the carbon footprint of our products is important, but the life cycle assessment of our products also involves requirements for our partners. We are also raising the bar by requiring concrete action from the entire supply chain on the path to carbon neutrality.


Carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) is used to measure the climate impact of greenhouse gases produced by people.

The carbon footprint of an Orion dry powder inhaler is 0.580 kg CO2e over its entire life cycle.1 This is small when you compare it to pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) which have an estimated carbon footprint of 500g (0.5 kg) CO2e per dose1, whilst dry powder inhalers (DPIs) have an estimated carbon footprint of 20g (0.02 kg) CO2e per dose.2


  1. Carbon life cycle assessment report for Orion Corporation, Orion Pharma. Carbon footprint Ltd 2021. Accessed 9th May 2022 from:
    https://www.orion.fi/globalassets/documents/oriongroup/sustainability orion_sustainability_report_2021.pdf
  2. NICE, 2020. Patient decision aid: Inhalers for asthma. Accessed on 9th May 2022 from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng80/resources/inhalers-for-asthma-patient-decision-aid-pdf-6727144573

JUNE 2022 / CORP-208l(1)b