Construction of a Climate SWOT starts by identifying the main life cycle stages of the company’s main product (physical product or service). If the company produces more than one product, a separate Climate SWOT would in principle be required for each, especially if their life cycles differ considerably. However, constructing a Climate SWOT for the most significant product already gives a fairly good understanding of climate impacts applicable to its business.
Figure 1 presents a typical product life cycle composed of six life cycle stages from cradle (raw material extraction) to grave (waste management). Examples of three product life cycles are given in the example box on the right. A rough description of the main life cycle stages is enough for the purposes of the Climate SWOT. Therefore, the number of the life cycle stages considered should be kept to minimum (around 5, absolutely max. 10).
Figure 1. Typical model of a product life cycle
Climate SWOT analysis tool can also be used for assessing the climate impacts of e.g. specific industry or region. In these cases it is not possible to use life cycle stages of a single product as the starting point of the analysis. Alternatively, most important processes or sectors could replace the life cycle stages in this type of study. However, it is important to note that Climate SWOT analysis tool is designed in the first place for the purposes of SMEs, and for them product based examination including life cycle perspective is recommended. For industrial sectors or regions other types of climate impact assessment tools might be more appropriate.
The template for identifying product life cycle can be downloaded from the Related files on the right.