2012- 2016: Flagship activities and response to new challenges
The Life Cycle Initiative is currently in its third four-year phase (2012-2016) with the following vision, mission, objectives and work programmes.
The work programme, derived through an intensive strategy development process, includes three programme areas and a number of flagship and non-flagship projects. The programme areas are the following:
Data, methods and product sustainability information
One can already find several good examples of enterprises that have seen the potential benefits of life cycle thinking and approaches, and are applying them to meet the expectations of their customers and consumers, and to meet their internal sustainability objectives. However, enhanced methodologies, life cycle based approaches and accessible data are demanded by organizations worldwide to support the implementation of life cycle thinking.
One of the Life Cycle Initiative’s key Phase III objectives is keyed toward mainstreaming the use of life cycle approaches. This implies the accessibility of cost-effective, robust methodologies and tools based on reliable data.
- Environmental life cycle impact assessment indicators (including WULCA) [Flagship 1b]
- LCA of Organisations [Flagship 1c]
- Data and database management [Flagship 2a]
- Global Principles and Practices for Hotspot Analysis [Flagship 3a]
Capability Development & implementation
More capability development will be needed to fully operationalize and eventually mainstream LCA in product development, marketing and, decision-making. For example, more LCAs must be carried out in order for lessons to be learned through experiences, to overcome current limitations, to expand the available data, and improve techniques and methodology. The Life Cycle Initiative is poised to play an important role in making this happen through its Phase III by transfering the scientific knowledge (which is mainly discussed in the academic field) to a broader society.
- Global capability development [Flagship 4a]
A world where life cycle approaches are mainstreamed.
Enable the global use of credible life cycle knowledge for more sustainable societies.
The overarching objective of the Life Cycle Initiative is to: Facilitate the generation and uptake of science-based life cycle approaches and information for products by business, government and civil society practice worldwide as a basis for sustainable consumption and production. The specific objectives of the Life Cycle Initiative are to:
- Enhance the global consensus and relevance of existing and emerging life cycle methodologies and data management;
- Expand capability worldwide to apply and to improve life cycle approaches; making them operational for organisations;
- Communicate current life cycle knowledge and be the global voice of the Life Cycle community to influence and partner with stakeholders.
Communication & stakeholder outreach
Given the critical importance of a worldwide dissemination and appropriated communication of life cycle approaches and methods, the Life Cycle Initiative has identified the need to improve its global communication channels. The Life Cycle Initiative’s main activities in Phase III will focus on current life cycle knowledge and be the global voice of the Life Cycle community to influence and partner with stakeholders. It seek to engage the life cycle communities, experts and people who have influence on Life Cycle Assessment topics, in a long-term dialogue; increase the public awareness on LCA and LCM issues; and create an open discussion environment between experts and the general public.
- Life Cycle Communication Platform [Core activity]
Additional Work Streams
Life Cycle Managment – Capability Maturity Model (LCM-CMM)
The aim of the LCM-CMM is to focus on capability development and implementation to fully operationalize and mainstream Life Cycle Assessment in product development, marketing, and strategic decision-making in business. From a practical point of view, this approach aims at continuously raising the organisational maturity of an entity and its suppliers in order to make value chains more sustainable. To make that happen, the capability framework divides sustainability concepts into smaller elements, with specific objectives tailored to the current state of knowledge and practice of the organization.
This work stream has resulted in a set of training materials and case studies.