September/October 2020 Edition
• LC Net Focus
• Announcements
• Project and Activity Updates
• Our calendar of upcoming events
• Life Cycle Job Announcements

LC-Net Focus


Steering Committee election: Candidates announced!

The 4th General Assembly of the Life Cycle Initiative is approaching quickly. Like every year, one-third of the Steering Committee seats (i.e., one in each constituency) are being renewed through elections among the Life Cycle Initiative members. The election process will be electronic and will start during the General Assembly on 10th September 2020. Each member of the Initiative will be able to vote for the candidates in her/his constituency. The list of candidates is as follows (access full bios via the link provided):

1) Candidates for the Government Constituency:
  • Argentina – Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina, Rodrigo Rodríguez Tornquist – Government, Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Brazil – IBICT (Institute for Science and Technology Information), Marcel Garcia de Souza – Government, Latin America and the Caribbean (opting for re-election)
  • European Commission – DG Environment, Hugo Schally – Government, Europe
  • Switzerland – Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Laura Platchkov – Government, Europe
2) Candidates for the Business Constituency:
  • Ecoinnovazione, Alessandra Zamagni – Business, Europe
3) Candidates for the Science and Civil Society Constituency:
  • Sciaena, Siegfried Anton Schmuck – Science and Civil Society, Europe
  • World Resources Forum Association, Sonia Valdivia – Science and Civil Society, Europe (opting for re-election)


LCA Awards: And the award goes to...

The LCA Award aims to enhance the capacity to apply life cycle thinking around the world, by generating local life cycle data, knowledge and application.

This year’s list of awarded proposals is presented below. Follow the link provided for a table with full details of the awarded projects.
  • LCA on sharing bikes for eco-design and sustainable supply chain management
  • LCA study of environmental & social impacts of niche textile products
  • Walk the talk: Gyro's LCSA
  • Assessment of the life cycle of a vertically integrated waste collection, processing and disposal company and promotion of the life cycle concept in Kazakhstan
  • LCA based Environmental Impact Assessment towards development of Eco-Friendly Textile Manufacturing Sector in Sri Lanka
  • Study of Environmental and Social Impacts of a Silk Saree Using Life Cycle Assessment Tool
  • Life cycle sustainability assessment of housing sector in Santa Clara city
  • Using Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) to assess the social impacts of the recycling system in the canton of Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Recovery, revitalization and diversification of traditional knowledge in fermented and distilled beverages in Santander and Boyacá communities

Portuguese e-learning course “An Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking” now live

The Life Cycle Initiative is very excited to announce the launch of the Portuguese version of the e-learning course “An Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking”. The course is available for free and a certificate is obtained upon completion of the course.

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Prof Diogo Silva and his team from the Federal University of São Carlos in Sorocaba, Brazil who translated the course. In-kind contributions of this nature are what helps to extend the reach of the Initiative’s activities and are much appreciated!

WANTED! Excellent graphical representations for 'life cycle'!

The demand for life cycle approaches in all sectors and by all stakeholders continues to grow, which is great! This has led to an on-going demand for easy-to-understand presentations to further disseminate the life cycle concept, which is something the Life Cycle Initiative does day-in, day-out! For this reason, we’re always on the lookout for excellent visual/graphical ways of conveying the life cycle concept and perspectives.
Therefore, we now call out to the graphically-minded among the life cycle community… do you have a great representation of the “life cycle” concept in slides, graphics (or other form) that you are willing to provide to the Initiative? Graphics must be open for us to use in our presentations and publications and we will, of course, appropriately acknowledge the source. Please get in touch with us to share your visuals and conditions of their use.

WANTED! Experiences of FINDING LCA data through GLAD!

As our devoted readers will know, the Global LCA Data Access (GLAD) was launched last June, and we would love to hear your experiences in looking for (and FINDING) the datasets you need through this new platform. We want to hear to good, the bad and the ugly!

New Report and Tools: National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action

As noted in the last edition of the LC Net, UNEP, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Life Cycle Initiative have co-developed a ‘National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action’. The Guidance provides a methodological framework for identifying plastic leakage ‘hotspots’, finding their impacts along the entire plastic value chain, and then prioritising actions once these hotspots are identified. The Guidance report is now available for download. Spanish, French and Portuguese versions are coming soon.
National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action cover
Modules and tools to help users for data collection, modelling and calculations will be published on the project website in September. A webinar to introduce the guidance and tools will be organized on 1st October 2020. For more information, please contact Mr. Feng Wang.

New Report: LCA studies on single-use plastic take-away food packaging and their alternatives

The meta-analysis study on single-use plastic take-away food packaging developed with IVL has passed through stakeholder consultation and will be published and available for download on our website very soon.

The report summarises current knowledge about single-use plastic take-away food packaging and alternatives that could potentially replace them from a functional and transportation point of view. Different types of food packaging have been considered: food boxes, containers, clamshells, trays, crates and food savers; and different types of material were compared: single-use plastic, aluminium and wood or paper as well as reusable plastic and glass.

A series of other studies on single-use plastic products will be published throughout the year including beverage cups and face masks. A high-level summary report for policy makers integrating the findings in previous studies will be published in December 2020 as an information document to the Fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5).

Forthcoming work on LCAs of Single-Use Plastic Products (and call for studies!)

After the reports on single-use plastic bags, bottles and take-away food packaging and their alternatives (including reusable products), the Life Cycle Initiative is working on four new meta-analyses on the LCA studies of single-use plastic products, developed by our partner TGH Think Space NPC. These will be delivered in the coming months: single-use plastic cutlery, bowls and plates (picnic utensils), plastic beverage cups (takeaway style cups for both hot and cold beverages), disposable baby diapers/nappies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) (face masks) and their alternatives.

The studies are being prepared in view of informing the debate about pollution from single-use plastic products during the upcoming fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly, as a response to UNEA4 Resolution 9 on this topic. In this process, webinars are being organized during October to explain these studies to policy-makers and identify successful policy measures in tackling pollution from single-use plastic products.

We wish to highlight a range of government approaches to the development of policy on single-use plastic products, particularly where they have drawn on LCA as a tool to inform policy development. We aim to highlight these approaches in the final document and invite speakers from these governments to participate in the accompanying webinar series. We would be keen to hear from you about any such examples that you believe would be useful to share. Please email Alison Watson to discuss this further.

Also, members of the Initiative that have relevant LCA studies that could be useful for the meta-analyses, or that are interested in reviewing the studies, can directly contact TGH Think Space NPC by email, by reaching out to Philippa Notten.

Progress in the development of USEtox-related tools in the context of the SAICM project

To identify harmful chemicals and potential alternatives in building materials and plastic toys, new models have been developed in the context of a GEF-funded project where the Initiative is collaborating with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). These models estimate human exposure and risks for various chemicals and are part of a new modeling suite that consistently couples consumer exposure with population exposure in a life cycle perspective, taking the scientific consensus model USEtox as a starting point.

For chemicals in toys, new approaches are currently being developed to also account for mouthing of toys and other plastic children's products.

The new model suite will help industry professionals and regulators to prioritize harmful chemicals in consumer products and design more sustainable materials. The entire process of including exposure and life cycle impacts in chemical substitution and alternatives assessment is fully described in an open access article published in Green Chemistry.

New report: LCA-based assessment of the Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 deadline to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is quickly approaching! A new LCA-based assessment methodology that allows businesses to take the SDGs into account in sustainability decisions is nearly ready to give global efforts a major boost, thanks to the Life Cycle Initiative, 2.-0 LCA consultants and PRé Sustainability.

'Life Cycle Assessment - Theory and Practice': Book now available for free download

The Life Cycle Assessment textbook produced by the Technical University of Denmark (Quantitative Sustainability Assessment) in 2018 is currently available for free download from Springer link. This is part of their support for education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 1000 pages of information and over 5 million downloads so far. A great resource for anyone interested in LCA!

Reference: Hauschild, M. Z., Rosenbaum, R. K., & Olsen, S. I. (Eds.) (2018). Life Cycle Assessment - Theory and Practice. Springer.
book cover

Life Cycle Initiative Project Updates & Event feedback

SCP-HAT underpins country strategies on sustainability

UNEP has developed the Green Economy Progress Measurement Framework (GEPMF) to assist countries monitor progress in transitioning to an inclusive green economy. This tool is currently available to partner countries in the Partnership for Action on Green Economy.

The GEPMF can be applied at the national or regional levels. Regarding statistics and indicators, it uses the best available public data to measure progress on selected indicators covering environmental, economic and social dimensions. GEPMF relies heavily on UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption and Production Hotspot and Analysis Tool (SCP-HAT): an online application that provides visualisation of the footprints of nations based on data of 171 countries’ environmental and socio-economic performance over the last 25 years and covering 26 sectors. In this way, SCP-HAT offers empirical evidence of ‘hotspots’ where unsustainable consumption and production practices may be particularly prevalent.

SCP-HAT has also been applied to guide revision of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and to refine its analysis of GHG emissions by sector and for a more disaggregated assessment of reduction opportunities.

GLAD work progresses, but much more still to do

While the Global LCA Data Access (GLAD) was launched last June, work continues relentlessly behind the scenes to improve and assure the long-term interoperability of LCA datasets. The GLAD Nomenclature working group is one of the very active fronts and is progressing towards a framework to maintain elementary flow list mappings between nomenclature systems used in the LCA community. Crucially, the working group is supported by the in-kind work of key institutions and nomenclature systems (Japan’s IDEA; the European ILCD; the US Federal Elementary Flow List; ecoinvent…) working together towards the shared vision of LCA data interoperability.

Among other milestones, the work includes the definition of a standard GLAD format for elementary flow list files and mappings files, now used by four nomenclature systems (ILCD, ecoinvent, IDEA, FEDEFL); a GitHub repository to manage the mapping tasks; bi-directional mapping files between the four nomenclature systems, and the workflow to maintain this; a mapping tool (delivered in-kind by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre) to deliver automatic “pre-mapping files”, which are then being refined (also in-kind) by the US Environment Protection Agency… and more!

Despite the great progress so far, we still foresee much work needed before we reach a decent quality bi-directional mapping between the major nomenclature systems. Any contributions to the Nomenclature WG are welcome (see how to Get Involved), and we look forward to any feedback to data that is already in the GitHub repository.

Goodbye to Oumayma Ouzane and Feng Wang

As is usual in September, our intern for the past six months -- Oumayma Ouzane -- will leave the Secretariat of the Initiative to continue with her training and professional life. Oumayma has lived (to date) the strangest internship at the Initiative of all time, as her first day in the office was also the first day of lockdown in Paris! Despite the remote working and not meeting face-to-face with most of the team until several months into her internship, Oumayma has delivered brilliantly. We wish her all the best and recommend her skills to anyone looking for a hardworking young professional in the LCA field! Au revoir Oumayma!

Less usual is the move by none other than Feng Wang, Programme Officer in charge of the coordination of the Initiative Secretariat: Feng moved in August into a new temporary role within UNEP to coordinate work on integrating circular economy approaches into UNEP’s waste agenda. It would be hard to find anyone in this community who has not interacted positively with Feng in the past 5 years (!), and it will probably be harder still to fill the vacuum he leaves behind! But Feng is not going far and will continue supporting the Initiative in various ways even while undertaking his new role. We wish Feng the same stamina and savoir-faire as he has demonstrated within the Life Cycle teamin his new role! À bientôt Feng!

Our Calendar: where we and our partners will be active

4th General Assembly of the Life Cycle Initiative | VIRTUAL EVENT | September 10, 2020 | 11-15h CEST
The Life Cycle Initiative will hold its Fourth Online General Assembly on September 10, 2020. It is open to all Life Cycle Initiative members.

>> Add to your calendar

Colloquium AgriBalyse I 29 September 2020 I VIRTUAL EVENT (IN FRENCH)
The French Environment Agency (ADEME) has been working for over a decade in the generation of LCA data on food and agriculture, to enable informed decision-making by all actors in the value chains. This colloquium will bring together all stakeholders to debate around the achievements with the latest release of AgriBalyse 3.0 (which is already connected to GLAD!); the Life Cycle Initiative will also be there to observe the benefits and successes of this programme, as well as to discuss its major significance from an international perspective. The event will be held in French, 100% virtually and 100% free.

>> More information

The 12th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food I 13-16 October 2020 I VIRTUAL EVENT
The 12th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food will take place on 13th – 16th October 2020 VIRTUALY. It is chaired by the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Leadership at University of Witten/Herdecke (ZNU), corsus – corporate sustainability and thinkstep.

>> More information

Seventh edition of the Brazilian Congress on Life Cycle Management I 19-22 October 2020 | VIRTUAL EVENT
The Brazilian Congress on Life Cycle Management will promote discussions around topics such as: eco-design, circular economy, life cycle management in organizations, environmental labeling, life cycle inventories, databases, etc. A 'pocket' event will be held virtually with the full in-person event planned to take place again in 2021.

>> More information

CILCA 2021 I IX International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment in Latin America - "Think long term and act immediately" I 29-31 March 2021 I Buenos Aires, Argentina

CILCA 2021 proposes a space to address these new challenges with its traditional life cycle approach, accepting face-to-face and virtual participation in all its instances. In this way, we hope to provide an adaptable solution to the current pandemic of COVID-19 and the diversity of circumstances that can affect people and limit their participation in the traditional format.

>> More information or contact [email protected].

Call for manuscripts I Energies Special Issue "Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in Building Construction: Focus on Embodied Carbon and Energy"
Energies is planning a Special Issue about LCA in building construction with a focus on embodied carbon and energy. This Special Issue aims to present the latest research and development on the impacts and performance related to the embodied energy/carbon of built assets across scales (from products to building stock) and life cycle stages. The deadline for manuscript submissions is 20 April 2021.

>> More information

75th Jubilee Swiss LCA Forum I POSTONED TO 2021
The theme of the 75 Jubilee LCA forum is “Life Cycle Thinking = Lower Footprint?”. LCA is supposed to help us tackle the huge global environ¬men¬tal challenges, as the necessary improvements of our global environmental performance (climate, biodiversity, water, toxics, etc.) and the global trends don't yet match at all. LCA alone cannot do the trick, but we would expect LCA to be an important tool supporting economy and society to identify ways how to operate within planetary boundaries. But - is it? Which big decisions made use of LCA and lead to substantial absolute environmental improvements? And what can we learn from these cases? You are invited as participant, from industry, administration, science, or NGO to discuss:
  • How much does LCA really help in reducing pressure on the environment?
  • Which important decisions were based on LC thinking and analysis?
  • How can LCA become more effective for big & relevant issues?
>> Stay informed on the event

The SETAC 8th World Congress I POSTPONED TO 2021/22
The organizers of the SETAC 8th World Congress are in process of rescheduling the meeting to 2021 or 2022.

>> More information

Life Cycle Job Announcements

Intern at the Life Cycle Initiative | UNEP | Paris, France

We are pleased to announce that the Life Cycle Initiative will soon be accepting applications for two 6-month internship posts in our UNEP Paris office, first, for the period of September 2020 – March 2021, and second, for the period March 2021 – September 2021. The intern will work under the direct supervision of the Head of the Life Cycle Initiative, in coordination with Programme Officers of the Life Cycle Unit in UNEP. The job opening will soon be announced online, so please keep an eye on our Twitter and LinkedIn social media feeds, and/or consult our website and UN Career Portal Inspira.

Eco-innovation expert (Consultant) | UNEP | Geneva, Switzerland

UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption, Production and Resource Efficiency unit is looking for an expert who will help in the implementation of activities under the EU4Environment component “2.6: Ecological value-chain and product innovation”.

The team is looking for an international consultant who will (inter alia) facilitate eco-innovation assessments, trainings and technical guidance for SMEs in Moldova and Georgia.

The application deadline is the 19th of September 2020.

>> More information and to apply.

Environmental Project Engineer - Life Cycle Analysis and Eco-design I BONDUELLE I Villeneuve d'Ascq, France

Bonduelle is looking for an environmental project engineer specialized in LCA and ecodesign for a 12-month fixed-term contract.

Bonduelle’s Environment team is attached to the Group’s R&D department. It develops expertise in the technical and managerial control of natural resources and in assessing the environmental impacts associated with the company’s activities from field to plate. The Environment team is working to prioritize environmental challenges of the future within a regional network and to identify the opportunities to organize an eco-design dynamic for its portfolio of products.

>> More information

Ongoing call for LC Net contributions

Members of the Life Cycle Initiative, please feel free to submit your event, job vacancy, news, capacity development opportunities, topics and stories related to life cycle thinking and LCA, to be shared with the global life cycle community. We are always looking for featured coverage on the experience how life cycle thinking contributes to different policy agendas, sustainable business and decision making, in various countries and regions. You may send your content to [email protected] and copy Feng Wang. Note that we cannot accept contributions of a commercial nature. LCNet is released bimonthly in the beginning of January, March, May, July, September and November; please send us your piece approximately two weeks before the release date.

We look forward to your contributions in disseminating life cycle knowledge from global policy and business agendas!

Life Cycle Job Announcements

Thank you to the Life Cycle Initiative Funding Partners!

For more information, please visit our website or feel free to contact us by email.
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