The main results of the actions carried out in the LIFE Ecolac project, finished in January 2018, have been the following:

  • ECOLAC software

    A main outcome of the LIFE ECOLAC project has been the development of a software tool that allows environmental impact assessments to be done based on LCA methodology. In addition, this tool also allows new environmental improvement scenarios to be created and compared, therefore focussing the decision-making on those strategies that actually reduce the environmental impact of the products. The main benefits of the tool are:
    • Environmental impact assessment using the methodology proposed by the European Union to calculate the environmental footprint of the product.
    • Production data collection is simplified as the tool can be linked to other company management systems (e.g. SAP) and data can be directly imported.
    • Eco-design of new products: Analysis and comparison of hypothetical improvement scenarios in order to guide the decision-making toward strategies with less environmental impact.
    • Evaluation of economic costs in the manufacturing cycle: Calculation of the costs of the resources (energy, water, raw materials and packaging materials, waste and waste water management required to manufacture the product). 
    • Versatility: the tool has been developed, programmed and designed so that it can be adapted to other food sectors.
  • New eco-designed product

  • The prototype of a new yoghurt has been designed and produced (using a plastic with a lower environmental footprint) with the help of the new tool. The improvements that have been identified and implemented are:
    • Replacement of packaging material.
    • Replacement of packaging equipment.
    • Optimisation of production cycles.
    • Optimisation of transport routes.

    The production of this eco-designed yoghurt consumes 4 % less water and 2 % less natural gas.


  • Consumer motivations

    In order to identify the key factors that affect purchase decisions, the main consumer purchasing motivations have been identified, where product quality has proved to be the main purchasing factor. According to the results, the category “sustainable” provides added value at the time a product is purchased, but it is not a determining factor. In addition, once the new eco-designed yoghurt was produced, a study on consumer behaviour has been carried out following a qualitative focus group dynamics. The results were that consumers do still not know about the concepts of “sustainability” and “eco-design” and they do not trust the environmental claims promoted by private brands. The outcomes of both studies are completely aligned and they highlight the need to carry out powerful consumer education campaigns on environmental issues to clarify basic concepts and to encourage purchasing based on objective values that are backed by the administration. In this way, several awareness-raising actions aimed at consumers have been carried out on sustainability and eco-design matters through two articles in the QUO magazine and the Eroski Consumer website, respectively.

About Ecolac

Project's aim is to prevent and reduce the environmental impact associated with the production of dairy products favoring the Ecodesign of food products by the design and use of software specially adapted to the special features of the sector.

LIFE13 ENV/ES/00615

Total budget: 1.452.503 €

49,78% UE Co-funding

Lifetime: 01/07/2014 - 30/09/2017

With the collaboration of the LIFE toolkit of the European Union.