Llorenc Mila I Canals
Llorenc Mila I Canals
Topic: Life Cycle Thinking and related tools: prioritizing actions for sustainable consumption and production
Dr. Llorenç Milà i Canals is a Programme Officer and Science Focal Point in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), within the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, ...
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Number of questions: [2]
Posted on 03/07/2015 08:10:23
Hello Llorenc,

I want to take your perspective on the following:
1. How is the trend on adopting tools to go beyond e-LCA, integrating social and economic factors?
2. On economics, how are organizations globally looking at publishing Life Cycle Costing along with the standard Profit & Loss statements? Did PUMA do a right thing in publishing their Environmental P&L Statement?

Hope to see you again in India on LCA!
RaviTeja Pabbisetty (from India)
Dear Ravi,
Many thanks for your interesting questions!
1) To me, the trend is clearly growing in considering a life cycle perspective both for social issues and economic costs. On social, users are increasingly requesting the consideration / measurement of key social indicators across the value chain: it is not good enough to increase the resource efficiency of a product, if labour conditions or any other social metrics are not respected in the supply chain. The question here is to identify which metrics really make sense to be quantified and tracked through the life cycle, and which aspects need to be addressed by softer approaches (i.e. with location-specific indicators, not added through life cycle stages...). In terms of economic measures, Total Cost of Ownership (or Life Cycle Costing) is regarded as a more relevant measure of the cost of a product, and used increasingly to reduced overall costs of procurement and avoid unexpected increased costs linked to an initial saving at the purchase stage (e.g. by buying cheaper but energy-inefficient appliances that cost more through their lives due to increased energy use).
2) In terms of public reporting, there certainly is an increased interest to be more transparent, and this is a very useful trend. We still have some way to go to reach consensus on how to measure total capital (beyond financial, including natural and human / social capital) in public accounts; the work by PUMA is a great trend-setter, and hopefully more companies will continue it. In UNEP we work on increasing the robustness and transparency of sustainability reporting, e.g. through the Group of Friends of Paragraph 47 (intriguing name, hey!? see more here: http://www.unep.org/resourceefficiency/Business/SustainableandResponsibleBusiness/CorporateSustainabilityReporting/GroupofFriendsofParagraph47/tabid/105011/Default.aspx); I think approaches such as Organizational-LCA (mentioned in my earlier post today) may play a very important role in identifying and quantifying the key aspects for organizations to focus (and eventually report) on.

Posted on 03/07/2015 03:18:41
Hi Llorenc! What would you say is the easiest LCA tool an organisation should use to prioritise actions for SCP if they are LCA 'beginners'?
Janet Salem (from Thailand)
Hello Janet!
Many thanks for your question. The key thing for organisations is to incorporate Life Cycle Thinking, and this can be done at many levels. The recently published "Guidance on Organizational Life Cycle Assessment" provides 4 differentiated pathways for an organization of any kind (big or small, public or private) to incorporate Life Cycle Thinking depending on their level of expertise. You can download the guidance from http://bit.ly/1QUI0l0, and/or visit the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative website (www.lifecycleinitiative.org) to learn more about life cycle thinking.
Thanks for your interest! Llorenc