January/February 2020 Edition
  • LC Net Focus
  • Announcements
  • Event feedback & activity updates
  • Project updates
  • Our calendar of upcoming events
  • Jobs

LC-Net Focus


Happy and healthy new year to the Life Cycle Community!

The Life Cycle Initiative takes this opportunity to wish to you and the entire Life Cycle Community a very healthy and happy New Year! To start the new year 2020, the Initiative has many exciting news to share with you, including the development of the Annual Report, the meta-analysis on single-use plastic bags coming to an end as well as encouraging results for the e-learning modules! This is not only a new year, but we also start a new decade which many have labelled as the make-or-break decade for the environment; we all need to step up our action and ambition to influence decisions that shift human development to sustainability, faster and more efficiently. We all need collective effort to bring life cycle thinking where it matters the most.

A brief look back at 2019

January represents the beginning of the new year and gives the opportunity of looking back at the achievements of the past year.
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2019 was a landmark year for the Life Cycle Initiative, as we have received unprecedented attention to mainstream life cycle thinking at the global policy arena. The resolutions adopted at the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA4), including the Ministerial Declaration, request UNEP to deliver specific studies, knowledge and support to member states related to life cycle approaches at different levels. The Life Cycle Initiative is in the best position to significantly scale-up its contribution for such request. In 2019, we have advanced significantly on providing policy support in the areas of national environmental footprints (SCP-HAT), comparing LCA studies of the single-use plastic bags and their alternatives, supporting the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment for its annual report with more than 200 businesses and government signatories, just to name a few. We have also launched new e-learning modules on life cycle thinking for business and policy, and published a guidance to recommend the methodological consensus and characterization factors on several environmental impact indicators. Please keep a close eye on our website in the coming month, for the 2019 Annual Report of the Initiative.

In 2020, we will continue the work towards delivering on relevant UNEA4 resolutions, as well as more in-depth work in sectors such as the plastics, textile, tourism and food system. We expect to publish a new set of guidance and recommendations on plastics, as well as new methodology on Social Life Cycle Assessment.



The GLAD Working Groups on Nomenclature and Metadata descriptors are back!

Many thanks to those of you who already expressed your interest to join these working groups on Nomenclature and Metadata descriptors after the call in the previous newsletter! The working groups will progressively start with calls and defining the work programme during January and February, and they are always open for new blood…
Do you have experience with developing, sorting and managing LCA datasets?
Have you been dealing with the intricacies of managing LCA data within software packages? If yes, this is for you!

As you saw in our previous newsletter, we are re-activating the working groups on Nomenclature and the Metadata Descriptors, two essential elements to ensure LCA data interoperability within GLAD. They will be animated by the Technical Management Group of GLAD, and will be key to ensure the adequate evolution of metadata descriptors as well as to maintain the nomenclature system that is required to keep up to date with new versions of databases being published, as well as new life cycle impact assessment methods requiring new flows, etc.

>> Please take 5 minutes to reply to this survey
>> More information on this project

Call for Applications for the 2019 LCA Award

With the great support from the World Resources Forum and various LCA databases and software companies (ecoinvent, IKE, ifu Hamburg, GreenDelta, Social Hotspot Database, PRé Sustainability, Thinkstep), the Life Cycle Initiative launches its new call for applications for the 2019 LCA Award. The award aims to enhance the capacity to apply life cycle thinking around the world, by generating local life cycle data, knowledge and application.

The deadline for application has been extended to 21 February 2020.

>> More information on how to participate

Call for Proposals: ‘Hotspots analysis for different value chains involving ozone-depleting substances’

The Life Cycle Initiative is issuing a Call for Proposals for a study aiming to carry out a hotspot analysis for the ODS using application and equipment, regarding the impacts on ozone depletion and climate change as well as other relevant impacts. The project should be a short summary report on the global overview of the hotspots in different value chains using ODS to deliver their functions and highlight the key areas of intervention.

The deadline for submission is 31st of January, 19h CET.

>> Access background information and download the application template

Call for Proposals: ‘Refining Hotspots assessment in the Food and Beverage Processing sector in Argentina and Shaping Action to address them’

UNEP’s Life Cycle Initiative is issuing a Call for Proposals to support activities applying the sectoral hotspots analysis methodology to the Food and Beverage Processing sector in Argentina, regarding the impacts on climate change as well as other relevant impacts. The project should deliver a guide for the sector to identify and implement improvement opportunities across its life cycle, as well as information and input to three stakeholder consultation workshops to leverage available data and knowledge, validate results, and shape recommended actions. The activities can be carried out by a local non-for-profit organisation or an individual, between February and November 2020.

The deadline for submission is 5th of February, 19h CET.

>> Access background information and download the application template

Call for Application to a Startup Competition: Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge

The UN Environment Programme has launched the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge, a competition for startups enabling sustainable everyday living in Asia and the Pacific.
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Startups that make sustainable goods and services in the following areas are eligible:
  • Low carbon energy: can you cut energy use in our everyday lives? Can you help make the switch to cleaner source of energy? This category is for you.
  • Low carbon mobility: electric vehicles, non-motorised transport, shared mobility – anything to help us get from A to B more sustainably.
  • Plastic waste prevention: Reuse, sharing, upcycling, extended product lifespans, sustainable materials.
This project is supported by the Ministry of Environment Japan, through the One Planet Network, in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Massive Earth Foundation.

The deadline for application is January 23rd, 2020.

>> Get more information
>> Get a chance to win $10,000, training, production of your very own video, and business mentorship from industry experts and a lot more!

Event feedback and activity updates

E-learning modules

We have exciting news regarding the e-learning modules!
  • 3,122 is the number of people who registered to the e-learning modules in English, French, Spanish and Arabic in our three courses -- Introduction to LCT, LCT for business decision-making and LCT for policy-making. If you are not part of this number, you are missing out so register now!
  • People who complete one of the e-learning courses will now receive a certificate of completion! If you have a course in process, then you have a good reason to pick up where you left off to complete the course and obtain your certificate!
  • Last but not least, Spanish-speaking friends, please note that we’ve consolidated the Spanish LCT Introduction course into the platform, alongside the other courses.
If you have NOT YET TAKEN our e-learning modules, read on!

Whether you are a business owner, a manager in a large or small business, a student, an industry association, a policy maker or other interested parties, our short online courses on application of Life Cycle Thinking to business decision making and to policy making are made for you! These e-learning modules will transform your way of thinking and doing business and provide you with a framework to consider the indirect impacts of policy and business decisions.

Each course is designed to take between one and two hours to complete, is self-paced, made up of videos, quizzes and reading activities, and includes links to additional resources for the most curious! The time you invest in the courses can change your decision making forever! So, register and take the courses now!

>> More information on the e-modules
>> Free registration for the courses

Welcome our new team member Claudia Giacovelli

Claudia Giacovelli joins the Life Cycle initiative team in Paris in January 2020, as a programme officer. Since 2016 she has worked at the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka, where she supported developing countries in implementing sustainable solutions to environmental and climate challenges, with a focus on waste management. Her background is in development economics and social sciences. Before UNEP she served at UNIDO South Africa for over five years, to secure partnerships and mobilize funds for climate mitigating projects and fast-track the transition towards an energy efficient and low carbon economy. Welcome to the team and the community Claudia!
Claudia Giacovelli joins the LCI team

Project Updates

LCA studies on single-use plastic bags and their alternatives

The meta-analysis study on single-use plastic bag developed with IVL is now being finalised after stakeholder consultation and will be accessible from our website during February 2020. A series of other studies on single-use plastic products will be published throughout the year including on take-away food packaging as well as beverage bottles.

Activity Update: Supporting the life cycle management of chemicals of concern through tools that build on the global scientific consensus model USEtox

As part of the project supported by the Life Cycle Initiative, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) has published a policy brief that addresses chemicals of concern in consumer products, and efforts to minimize their adverse effects on human health and the environment. The policy brief titled, ‘Understanding Chemicals in Products,’ is a contribution from the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project on ‘Global Best Practices on Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern under SAICM.’

The policy brief notes that transparency of information about chemicals in global supply chains has been an emerging policy issue since 2009, leading to, for example, the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Chemicals in Products (CiP) programme, which focuses on the textiles, toys, electronics and building materials sectors.

The policy brief also discusses measures to reduce chemicals of concern through:
  • legislation and information system tools such as regulations, standards and certification mechanisms, and ensuring brands control suppliers to enable compliance;
  • holistic assessment tools that consider the entire value chain such as life cycle assessment tools and eco-innovation;
    production tools that seek to minimize exposure and focus on cleaner and responsible production as well as chemical leasing; and
  • consumption tools that focus on consumer behavior, including sustainable public procurement and ecolabels.
The Life Cycle Initiative, through the USEtox International Centre (represented in this GEF-funded project by two of its active members, namely the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Michigan), is proud to be contributing to the second point above, with the development of near-field consumer exposure models that will eventually be proposed for incorporation into the USEtox modeling framework for broad application in life cycle based assessments around the world. Progress is on schedule to deliver new fate and exposure models for building products and children toys, as well as related data-mining engines to feed such models with chemical properties of chemicals of concern and their potential alternatives. Prior to this modelling work, prioritization methods to systematically identify chemicals of concern in specific consumer product classes, and to evaluate a wide range of chemicals as potentially suitable alternatives to chemicals of concern in certain consumer products.
Watch this space for more updates!

>> More information on the SAICM project
>> Read the policy brief ‘Understanding Chemicals in Products’

Our Calendar: where we and our partners will be active

The SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting I 3-7 May 2020 I Dublin

Be part of the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, which will be held from 3–7 May 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. This 5-day event featuring a variety of training, networking and learning opportunities, promises to be an exciting place if you are interested in emerging research, regulatory developments and the latest methodologies in environmental toxicology and chemistry. Over 2,500 scientists, assessors, regulators and managers from academia, business and government, representing an average of 60 countries, provides a unique networking opportunity and a chance for cross-collaboration long after the closing session.

>> More information
>> Register to attend the event

Swedish Life Cycle Center Conference I 15-17 June 2020 I Gothenburg, Sweden

Swedish Life Cycle Center are pleased to inform you that on June 15-17, 2020, the 7th international conference on Social Life Cycle Assessment will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, on the Chalmers campus Johanneberg. The conference is co-arranged by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, and it is hosted by the Swedish Life Cycle Center.

>> For more information about the conference, please visit the easychair website, or the life cycle center website.

ISIE Americas 2020 Conference | 6-8 July 2020 | Lima, Peru

The ISIE Americas 2020 conference will be held in July 2020 in Lima, Peru. The theme of the conference is "Enhancing circularity and well-being through industrial ecology for resilient and sustainable cities". There is a call for papers, and the deadline for submission is 31st January 2020.

The SETAC 8th World Congress I 6-10 September 2020 I Singapore

The SETAC 8th World Congress, which will be held from 6–10 September 2020 in Singapore, promises to be an amazing international meeting, especially appropriate for students, young scientists and those at the cutting edge of their respective scientific fields. The venue, Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, offers an incredible experience for attendees, where SETAC has secured a block of discounted rooms.
Note that abstract submission will open in January.
>> More information
>> More information on the venue

75th Jubilee Swiss LCA Forum I 14-15 September 2020 I Zürich, Switzerland

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 improve¬ments? And what can we learn from these cases?
You are cordially invited – as presenter and/or 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?
The deadline to submit an abstract is until the 7th of February 2020.

>> Register for the event
>> To submit an abstract, please download and fill out the abstract form

The 12th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food I 13-16 October 2020 I Berlin, Germany

The International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food is the leading conference series on sustainability of food systems worldwide. Every second year, it unites around 400 scholars and practitioners working in academia, industry and public institutions from more than 40 countries.

Organized by leading research and practice institutions dealing with the sustainability improvements of food production, the Conference brings the spirit of innovation and forces research and industry to work together towards sustainable agri-food systems.

The 12th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food will take place from the 13th to the 16th of October 2020 in Berlin at Ellington Hotel Berlin. This 12th edition focuses on “Towards sustainable agri-food systems” and will bring together results of sustainability research and applied activities to contributing to meet the challenges of the 21st century. 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.

The deadline to submit an abstract is the 19th of January 2020.

>> More information on the submission process
>> Key dates and conference topics

Seventh edition of the Brazilian Congress on Life Cycle Management (CGV 2020) I 19-22 October 2020 I Gramado, Brazil.

The Brazilian Congress on Life Cycle Management (GCV 2020) reaches its seventh edition, consolidating itself as a key event regarding Life Cycle Management in Brazil. This year, the Congress will focus on the theme “Contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals”. In addition to the academic approach, the event will also address the business use of LCA.

Proposals regarding the following theme will be accepted for GCV 2020: circular economy, eco-design, life cycle management in organizations, life cycle assessment (LCA) and public policy, life cycle cost (LCC), social LCA, labeling, Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) and databases.

The Congress will promote discussions around topics such as: eco-design, circular economy, life cycle management in organizations, environmental labeling, life cycle inventories, databases, etc.

The deadline to submit an abstract on those topics is the 28th of February. The word limit is 350 words.

>> More information
>> Submit an abstract


Unilever: Environmental Sustainability Scientist – Science Development

DEADLINE: 7 February. As an Environmental Sustainability Scientist, you will be involved in conducting research on environmental sustainability, including the evaluation and development of new scientific approaches, methods and models for assessing Unilever’s product portfolio in the areas of Foods, Home Care, and Beauty and Personal Care. In this capacity, your primary responsibilities will include:
  • Develop and manage research projects to improve SEAC’s environmental sustainability scientific capability.
  • Establish and maintain collaborations and partnerships with relevant key academic, governmental and industrial groups.
  • Present SEAC research at international conferences and engage with Key Opinion Formers to further enhance Unilever’s reputation.
  • Represent Unilever in relevant external activities on sustainability assessment of products and technologies.
  • Help to embed new approaches and methods and build capability via team-based ways of working.
>> Get more information and apply

On-going 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 [email protected]. Note that we cannot accept contributions of a commercial nature.

LCNet is released bi-monthly in the beginning of January, March, May, July, September and November, so 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!

Thank you to the Life Cycle Initiative Funding Partners!

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