An eco-profile is a useful tool for fully determining Ingeo's environmental impact. The profile adds up all of the inputs & outputs from our manufacturing process (like water to grow feedstocks, CO2 sequestered by plants, energy to produce fertilizers, and greenhouse gases emitted by our facilities) from the field to the polymer factory exit gate...or from the plants being grown to boxes of Ingeo leaving our plant in Blair, NE. This calculation helps us determine Ingeo's impact on several indicators including greenhouse gas emissions and non-renewable energy use.

Comparing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Two key indicators in a product's environmental footprint are greenhouse gases (GHG's) and non-renewable energy use. Measuring these two impacts and comparing data between Ingeo and traditional polymers (like PET & PS), provides a good insight into how Ingeo performs. For a final, definite comparison, the tool of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) should be used. In the two charts below the latest Ingeo data is compared with the most recent industry data for European & American products as published by PlasticsEurope and APC respectively. The Ingeo data reflects work done in tandem with Thinkstep (PE INTERNATIONAL) using their GaBi LCA software and their latest LCA database following ISO 14040 & 14044 standards.

Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Including Biogenic Carbon Uptake *1

Comparing Non-Renewable Energy Use

Primary Energy of Non-Renewable Resources **

*Uptake of atmospheric CO2 during crop production, which ends up in the biopolymer produced.
** Total use of primary energy sources like natural gas, coal, oil and nuclear.
*** Boustead data, not recently updated.
**** Not available for the US

Published Eco-Profiles

All of our environmental data has been reviewed and published in well-known journals to provide transparency in our claims.


 Life Cycle Inventory and Impact Assessment data for 2014 Ingeo™ Polylactide Production. Industrial Biotechnology, Vol 11, No. 3. Pgs 167-180. June 2015


 The eco-profile for current Ingeo polylactide production. Industrial Biotechnology. Vol 6, No. 4. pgs 212-224, August 2010


 The eco-profiles for current and near-future NatureWorks polylactide (PLA) production. Industrial Biotechnology. Vol 3, No. 1. pgs 58-81, Spring 2007


 The Sustainability of NatureWorks™ Polylactide Polymers and Ingeo™ Polylactide Fibers: An Update of the Future, September 12-14, 2003


 Applications of Life Cycle Assessment to NatureWorks Polylactide (PLA) Production, November 2002

Since our first eco-profile was published in 2002, both our business and our manufacturing process have evolved. The information below should help you connect the nomenclature and scenarios we used in our 2007 and 2010 publications to what we recently published in our 2014 eco-profile.

Publication Scenario GHG
(kg CO2 eq/kg Ingeo)
(MJ/kg Ingeo)
2007 PLA5 =
Ingeo 2005
2.02 50.2 We created an entirely new production system for polymers based on renewable resources. Ingeo 2005 is our benchmark for the cradle-to-pellet Ingeo production system in 2005.
Data is no longer valid.
2007 PLA6 =
Ingeo 2006
0.27 27.2 PLA6 is the same as PLA5, but the electricity used in the PLA production system is replaced by wind power-based electricity. PLA6/Ingeo 2006 included the purchase of green power (via REC's) to replace fossil fuel-based electricity. We used REC's to make the lower carbon footprint associated with our 2009 manufacturing improvements immediately available to the market. Now with the new technology in place, we no longer bridge the gap with REC's. For customers who value further reductions in environmental footprint, green power purchases are still an option.
This scenario is no longer in use.
2007 PLA/NG -0.68 16.6 Similar to PLA6/Ingeo 2006, this scenario includes the purchase of green power in addition to a suite of manufacturing technology improvements. We have chosen to no longer purchase REC's, instead focusing on evolving our manufacturing process to be as eco-friendly as possible.

This scenario is no longer in use.
2010 Ingeo 2009 CIT 1.30 42.2 Ingeo 2009 CIT includes the major change to our lactic acid production - the first of several improvements to how we make Ingeo. CIT stands for "currently implemented technology".
This eco-profile was valid since 2010 and will be replaced by Ingeo 2014 in the new publication.
2010 Ingeo Target  0.8  35 This number represents an outlook made in 2010 of an estimated future manufacturing state.

Recent technology improvements have made this estimate obsolete & data is no longer valid.
2015 Ingeo 2014  0.62 40.05 Ingeo 2014 is a revised profile that is based on the latest version of PE International’s GaBi LCA software and database, follows the ISO 14040/44 standards. While nothing in our manufacturing process changed, what has changed is the use of the latest LCA databases. These give us the most up-to-date and accurate picture on the greenhouse gas emissions and other commonly used indicators in LCA.

1Data on EU production from Plastics Europe. Data on US production from American Chemistry Council.