Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever calculation methodology

1,186 kg C02e, the amount of emission produced to manufacture one CAKE Kalk OR. To get to this number, we need to understand Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which is the methodology behind it. LCA is internationally standardised according to ISO 14040: 2006 and ISO 14044: 2006 (1). LCA is used as it looks at the possible cumulative environmental consequences* and resources used throughout the bike’s life cycle. As a result, inputs, and outputs from upstream-downstream* processes, as well as the environmental consequences connected with the bike over its life cycle, are collected, calculated, and evaluated (2,3). Every single material choice, its geographic origin, energy sources used during production and mode of transportation will be reflected in the LCA.

There are mainly two types of LCA modelling principles, Attributional LCA (ALCA) and Consequential LCA (CLCA). ALCA describes the potential environmental impacts* that can be attributed to a particular product system, while CLCA describes the potential environmental impacts induced by the marginal increase in product supply in the greater economic system that surrounds it. For the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project, we apply the ALCA as the goal is to understand, compare and contrast the environmental impact of Kalk OR and make a judgement about the various suppliers and market opportunities.

In order to secure data gathering and comparable results, LCA will be conducted by following a pre-designed process. As a framework, the ISO 14040 set of international standards covers four stages, as seen in Figure 1, including goal and scope definition, life cycle inventory analysis, life cycle impact assessment, and life cycle interpretation (2,4). There are interactions among the four stages to refine the analysis and better understand the results. We will now look into each stage in detail.

Life cycle assessment framework

Goal and Scope Definition

The first stage in an LCA is the goal and scope definition (G&SD) (5). For the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project, we applied an ALCA in order to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the KALK OR, from cradle-to-gate. Cradle-to-gate includes all the steps until the bike is assembled and ready to leave the CAKE factory. CAKE has a vision for and focus on the development of our cradle-to-grave strategy, handled parallel to this project. The system boundary* which defines the boundary of the study, was defined and as shown in Figure 2. As the project aims to manufacture a fossil free KALK OR, the system boundary is defined to include every process and input. Another key term called functional unit is defined at this point. Functional unit* is referred to as the item, service, or system whose effects are determined by a life cycle. For the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project, the functional unit is set to KALK OR manufactured, once again reflecting the cradle-to-gate goal set above.

Life Cycle Inventory Analysis

In this step, an inventory of all the inputs and outputs associated with the bike is created. Inputs include every raw material, manufacturing process and transportation. While output includes wastes and any co-product produced during any process. It is important to know the origin of every input. As every gram of CO2 counts for the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project, supplier’s were contacted to help tabulate the inventory. Every single component starting from the bike’s frame to single screw’s origin and detailed manufacturing plan was documented. A distinction was drawn between the data provided by the producer and the generic data offered by various databases. This is done to distinguish between the foreground and background system. A foreground system is one which is controlled by CAKE and a background system is one which is not in control. This process helps us understand the type of partnership needed to tackle each component.

Life Cycle Impact Assessment

In the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), the Life cycle inventory is translated into environmental impacts. This is where we see every input and output entered above convert into kg CO2e. The Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project is not just about carbon footprint, it goes beyond that, and this is reflected by the other environmental impact being studied for this project. From the list of all environmental impacts provided by the LCA, the ones that are of relevance to the project were selected and shown in Table 1.

Life Cycle Interpretation

The results and models from LCIA are interpreted in Life Cycle Interpretation. This step helps validate and understand the uncertainty in the results. It also provides an understanding of uncertainty involved in the data gathered. As the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project involves global suppliers and partners, it is difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to get primary data, due to the complex global supply chain and some assumptions that need to be made. This step helps validate those assumptions by providing a range of uncertainty, thereby giving trustworthiness to the findings.


Finally, after following the above steps, we landed with 1,186 kg CO2e. From the density of CO2, the equivalent volume for 1186 kg CO2e was calculated to be 637 cubic meters. We are now working with our partners to examine the parts/materials and recalculate the footprint to see our progress in numbers. The system boundary as defined in Figure 2, will remain constant and all our partners will have to provide data accordingly. No carbon offsetting is allowed in this project and the system boundary includes every single part and processes. We will do an LCA touchdown every quarter to measure our journey towards zero and redirect ourselves if needed. Keep following us for more updates on

Are you interested in starting to decarbonize your own business or product? Or do you want to learn more about our in depth LCA process? Just reach out:


1. International reference life cycle data system (ILCD) handbook - Publications Office of the EU [WWW Document], n.d. URL (accessed 2.3.22).

2. Curran, M.Ann., n.d. Life cycle assessment student handbook.

3. Wrisberg, N., Udo de Haes, H.A., Triebswetter, U., Eder, P., Clift, R. (Eds.), 2002. Analytical Tools for Environmental Design and Management in a Systems Perspective. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.

4. Sadhukhan, J., Ng, K.S., Hernandez, E.M., 2014. Biorefineries and Chemical Processes. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.

5. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Ed.), n.d. Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013 - The Physical Science Basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1–30.

Vocabulary (*)

Environment: The surroundings in which an organisation operates. Can be subdivided into the natural, social and economic environment.

Environmental impact: A change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, resulting from an organisation’s activities or products.

Functional unit: A quantified description of the performance of a product system, in terms of the obligatory product properties required by the market on which the product is traded.

Recycling: A treatment activity with a by-product output that can displace determining products from other activities, thus reducing the demand for new (virgin) production of these determining products.

System boundaries: The denominations of which entities are inside the system and which are outside.

Unit process: The smallest human activity considered in a life cycle inventory analysis.

Upstream (in the life cycle): Backwards in the life cycle, towards the raw material extraction and production of the product(s).

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