ACTA Key Messages Story Board -  Ho! Ho! Ho!Lifecycler_ACTA.html

This LCA is the first ISO 14040 compliant third-party peer reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) comparing the most common artificial Christmas tree sold in the United States to the most common real Christmas tree sold in the U.S.

The study was conducted by PE International - the international market leader in strategic consultancy, software solutions and extensive services in the field of sustainability.

Peer reviewed by an independent third party panel of PhD’s in Environmental Engineering (H. Scott Matthews), environmental chemist (Mike Levy) and forestry expert of fir species (Eric Hinesley)

The Study used statistical information from both the artificial and live tree industries, EPA data, peer reviewed studies and sensitivity analysis to determine various environmental impacts of both products.

The researchers used two completely different models for each product. This is important because it shows the researchers understood that the two trees would be made, distributed and used differently.

Researchers also used consistent boundaries –for example; a live cut tree included the purchase of the tree stand since the artificial tree is manufactured with the stand. 

How this differs from the Ellipsos Study?

The Ellipsos Study only focused on Natural Trees from Montreal Canada that were 15 years old, and 7 feet tall. It assumed a 6 year lifetime for a tree stand and used European electricity grid values to calculate Chinese energy usage. The study also found that regardless the chosen type of tree, the environmental impacts are negligible compared to other activities like car use.

How could this LCA have been improved?

  1. -Model several different styles of artificial and live cut trees and take an average rather than focusing on just the -two most common christmas tree types.

  2. -Look into what happens to Christmas Trees that do not sell after they are cut?

  3. -Consider the electricity and other resources needed to sell the christmas trees. Example: Lights at the local tree lot or the heating and lighting at Lowe’s

  4. -Cultivation stage and management practices of natural tree is broadly handled. 

  5. -More Detailed Analysis of Transportation

First ISO LCA on Christmas Trees.