life cycle analysis

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

By Paula Rook

When you search information you find role positions asking for a person expert in life cycle analysis. For me interesting to notice that the key word to find this type of positions is: sustainability. I have found a large list of companies offering expertise on life cycle analysis, you can hire one of this experts, however they do not call themselves sustainability experts. The final goal is to use a software promoted again by one of this companies to calculate footprint.

My mission on this post is to bring attention to this basic concept which is confused inside the role of a sustainability expert. It brings confusion by mixing a sustainability expert from a life cycle analyst. First of all, it mixed a practical work professional with a scientist. Second, it makes it hard for sustainability professionals to bring the best they can if a company is searching obsessed the calculations. And finally, it makes no sense to try to be the best at the reports of the company because it will never be real work towards sustainability due to the personal interpretation of data.

What can we understand as life cycle analysis (LCA)?

Is a methodology trying to visualize the environmental impact of products, for instance: a manufactured product. It needs of course listing all necessary to produce such as energy and materials to finally calculate the emissions. Then you can ask me how to do this. Well, the magic word: International Organization for standardization (ISO) shows a procedure for conducting the LCAs. If you are manager better read ISO 14040, and if you are doing the work read ISO 14044. Which impact is considered? they considered resource use, human health, and ecological consequences. The results of a LCA can be up to 10. Using an Atributional ( temporal period, how things are) or Consequential LCA ( looks into the future, how it wil change if we make a decision) makes the results even more exciting. Social Life cycle assessment comes here as new term.

As a resume: LCA only focus on the ecological aspects of sustainability. Here let’s be clear when we measure Greenhouse gas (GHG) which is an inventory of all greenhouse emissions. The four distinct phases of LCA are: Goal and scope, Life cycle Inventory, Life cycle impact assessment and Interpretation. You can found examples like this ones: Sustainable Wine Scoring System (SWSS) or Environmental impact analysis of a Chilean organic wine through a life cycle assessment.

I finish this subject because it is much better to see the information on a software and because I just want to warn you that companies who are using this method are looking for a LCA experienced person and not a scientist on sustainability. Such huge difference! By the way, look at the website of Science Based Target because it sound to me a lot to do working to reduce emissions.

React here: Paula Rook,

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