Life Cycle Initiative announcements, events and more!

September/October 2017 Edition

• LC Net Focus

• Announcements

• Networks

• A look inside: Member profiles

• Our calendar of upcoming events

• Jobs

Contact us:

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LC Net Focus

General Assembly of the Life Cycle Initiative: a new phase begins | 21 September 2017 | online

On 21 September 2017, the Life Cycle Initiative will host a virtual, online General Assembly – the first such meeting in the Initiative’s new phase. This meeting is open to all members of the Initiative. One of the objectives of the General Assembly is for members to elect the Steering Committee, which will make decisions on the implementation of the new Life Cycle Initiative strategy and plan for future activities.

Please send your application to join the General Assembly and the election process before 6 September 2017, at which point the member census for voting closes (although membership registration is open throughout the year).

Since membership registration opened in June, we have received applications from some 50 organizations (government, business, academia and civil society), and 36 individual experts (in addition to the hundreds of individuals already active in our task forces). You or your institution can join by downloading and completing the membership application form and returning it signed to [email protected].


Including abstract deadlines, publications, and other interesting news

Our first E-learning Module is online!

The Life Cycle Initiative’s first e-leaning module is now online, giving you everything you need to know to get started on life cycle thinking in only a few hours! Developed by the Life Cycle Initiative, the ‘Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking’ is available in both English and Spanish. It has been co-financed by the European Commission REAL project.

The module aims to help participants gain an overview of life cycle approaches and develop understanding on how to assess the impacts for any given sustainability issue considering all life cycle stages. The module also provides guidance on which kinds of Life Cycle Thinking tools are best for this purpose. This module contains four components: (1) an overarching introduction to life cycle thinking, and its applications in public policies (2), businesses (3) and by consumers (4) respectively.

English version: http://www.learnlifecycle.com/courses/lct
Spanish version: http://www.aprendeciclodevida.com


O-LCA road testing report now available

The report ‘Road testing organizational life cycle assessment around the world: Applications, experiences and lessons learned’ is now published!

This report is being released following the successful launch in 2015 of the ‘Guidance on Organizational Life Cycle Assessment’, a Life Cycle Initiative publication with more than 10,000 downloads to date. After this report, the Organizational LCA (O-LCA) flagship project embarked on an ambitious piloting process: O-LCA was applied by 12 organizations from around the world: the “O-LCA road testers”. The new publication offers in-depth insights into O-LCA application, developed from the outcomes of the road testing. It includes an executive summary for each of the road testers’ case studies, and it presents the results of a comprehensive survey through which the road testers share their experience, feedback and lessons learned.

The publication’s case studies represent an important contribution to the existing body of examples and guidelines, which the authors hope will promote and inspire further application of O-LCA, greater use of the O-LCA Guidance, and on-going enhancement of the O-LCA methodology.

Download the report.


Hotspots Analysis methodological framework and communication protocol

The report ‘Hotspots Analysis: An overarching methodological framework and guidance for product and sector level application’ provides useful information for those wishing to commission or carry out a hotspots analysis in a life cycle context. However, as a framework, rather than a standard, it provides a degree of flexibility to enable hotspots analysis to be used in differing circumstances.

It aims to provide a consistent approach to hotspots analysis. As an action-oriented methodology, the key outcome is to identify where the greatest opportunity for improvement against an impact occurs, rather than communicating a precisely quantified current impact. Other organisations (i.e., trade associations) may wish to offer more specific guidance on implementing hotspots analysis for their own sectors or circumstances based upon this framework. The framework aims to be equally applicable to businesses, government, as well as individual researchers and other organisations (i.e., NGOs and academic institutions).

A protocol for the appropriate use and communication of sustainability information derived from hotspots analysis is available in a companion publication: ‘Communicating hotspots: The effective use of sustainability information to drive action and improve performance’.

Download the report and the communication protocol.


Road test Results published by Flagship project “Data and database management”

Completing its work in the third phase of the Initiative, the Flagship project on “Data and database management” will publish several reports and articles on its work.

Specifically, the results cover a second round of country-specific evaluations of datasets using refined criteria following the first round of reviews. Newly selected databases from Australia and Chile were included along with the Thai national database from the first round. Improvements in the applicability and interpretation of the criteria by the reviewers were noted. In the case of the Thai datasets, the improvements in the datasets themselves from the previous review were also observed. Two journal articles are being submitted for publication in parallel with the reports. One deals with the refinement of the criteria and the other with the aggregated roadtesting results and the path ahead for supporting data review.

A related component of the project is also completed. The Global Guidance Principles for LCA Databases (Sonnemann and Vigon, 2011) lays out a set of nine high level management practices for sound database operations. The nine Responsible Management Practices (RMP) were further elaborated into scores for management performance and applied to four national databases: Australia, Thailand, Chile and the US. Results from this roadtest included a self-assessment by the manager and an independent oversight by an experienced database manager. The results of this two-step approach clearly demonstrated both the applicability of the scoring system and the feasibility of combining self-assessment with independent third-party evaluation. In addition to an Initiative report, a journal article is in process.

The core project team of Guido Sonnemann, Dieuwertje Schrijvers, Anne Asselin, and Bruce Vigon is greatly appreciative of all of the contributions from reviewers, database managers, and independent evaluators. Visit our poster at the upcoming LCM Conference in Luxembourg.

Reference: Global Guidance Principles on Life Cycle Assessment Databases: A basis of greener processes and products, “Shonan Guidance Principles”, G. Sonnemann and B. Vigon, Eds. ISBN: 978-92-807-3174-3, 2011, 156 pages.


UN Environment launches Technical Helpdesk for National LCA Databases

UN Environment is launching a new forum for LCA data experts, developers of new national databases, managers of existing databases, and other interested individuals. This ‘Technical Helpdesk’ will provide stakeholders wishing to establish and operate LCA databases with both training and support by international experts. As an online platform, the Technical Helpdesk will facilitate communication among experts and stakeholders; provide key informational resources as well as guidance on responsible management practices and technical requirements for database set-up and operation. We are looking for members and experts to join the Helpdesk. Keep an eye on the website of the Life Cycle Initiative for further information!


Learn more about Sustainable Consumption and Production (#SDG12)!

Last slots available for the new @UNEP/@UNITAR e-learning course ‘Introduction to #SCP in LAC starts on 2 October, 2017. Geared toward policy makers and other stakeholders in LAC, the course introduces SCP concepts and practical applications in 8 weeks.

For registration and fellowships:  http://bit.ly/2vOM3xn

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News from our life cycle networks

Life Cycle Thinking workshop in Kenya

A workshop on ‘Life Cycle Concepts and LCA Award Scheme’ was held on 26 May, 2017 in Njoro, Kenya. Organized by Egerton University and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry with support from the Life Cycle Initiative, the workshop was aimed at introducing life cycle thinking and the associated policy and business solutions that can support better decision making. Being action-oriented, the workshop challenged participants to develop project ideas for consideration of the lifecycle perspective in their own work. Project ideas discussed by participants included: costs vs impacts vis-à-vis life cycle of refurbished cars sold in Kenya; conversion of poultry litter into farm manure as compared with cattle feed; recovery of heat energy wasted during mechanized farm operations, and; the recycling of packaging waste in Kenya.

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A look inside: Profiling our members

Under the new strategy of the Life Cycle Initiative, a great number of institutions have joined us as members. Each edition of LC Net will feature the profiles of our sponsors and members.

This edition, we feature three member organizations that share a close history and connection with the Initiative – their establishment was initiated, inspired and/or supported by the Initiative.



The USEtox® model is based on a multi-year scientific consensus-building effort for characterizing human toxicological and freshwater and ecotoxicological impacts of chemicals in life cycle impact assessment. The main output includes a database of recommended and indicative (recommended, but with higher uncertainty) interim characterization factors including environmental fate, exposure, and effect parameters for human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity.

The USEtox® model was developed by the USEtox Team – a team composed of international researchers from the Task Force on Toxic Impacts under the auspices of the Life Cycle Initiative, and is owned by the USEtox International Center hosted at the Technical University of Denmark.

The main goal of the USEtox International Center is to provide a scientific and technical rationale for the comparative assessment of chemicals based on their toxicity-related impacts on human health and on ecosystems (as applied in life cycle impact assessment and comparative risk assessment). The USEtox International Center thereby aims at:

• Creating and maintaining a model for calculating characterization factors for human toxicity and ecotoxicity impacts;

• Increasing the availability, quality and credibility of characterization factors for use in life cycle impact assessment and other comparative assessment contexts for all kinds of chemicals;

• Disseminating the developed USEtox model and characterization factors through the organization of user workshops, training courses, PhD summer schools and demonstration projects (see events at http://usetox.org/events); and,

• Contributing to creating international consensus on the principles for the comparative assessment of chemicals.




The WULCA working group acts as an international working group focusing on water use assessment and water footprinting, using the life cycle perspective. The group was founded in August 2007 under the auspices of the Life Cycle Initiative. The working group represents a community of people from academia, various industries (i.e. chemical, food and consumer goods industry, pulp and paper, water treatment, etc.) and public institutions. Constituting a multi-stakeholder group, the group is cross-sectoral and acts globally.

The WULCA working group’s overall goal focuses on providing practitioners, from both industry and academia, with a coherent framework within which to measure, assess and compare the environmental performance of products and operations regarding freshwater use. The specific objectives comprise:

• Developing a general assessment framework for water use including indicators that measure the environmental impacts on human health, ecosystems and freshwater resources;

• Establishing impact assessment methods for characterizing water use and related environmental impacts;

• Deriving recommended practice and guidance for LCA method developers and practitioners.

The key activities involve:

• Modeling of the impacts generated by freshwater use depending on the geographical context;

• Harmonization of the LCA scheme towards freshwater use accounting and water impact assessment;

• Application of the methods and indicators developed on industrial case studies;

• Communication and dissemination within industry and the scientific community.



Social LC Alliance

The founders of the Social LC Alliance have worked together since 2004 when the Life Cycle Initiative established a Task Force on the integration of social criteria into life cycle assessment. The first deliverable of this Task Force was a feasibility study (2006), and after which the project group published ‘Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products’ in 2009. After the task force accomplished its objectives and the project under the Life Cycle Initiative, members of the former project group set up the Social LC Alliance, as a spin-off of the Life Cycle Initiative. 

The Social LC Alliance has renewed itself with a new team and work plan in 2017. Its new steering committee members are Sara Garrido Russo, Catherine Benoit Norris, Elisabeth Ekener Petersen, Sonia Valdivia and Marzia Traverso.

The mission of Social LC Alliance is to act as a hub where researchers and practitioners share and develop initiatives and knowledge to promote the development, application, and outreach of SLCA. The Social LC Alliance act as a catalyst to deliver an update of the Social LCA Guidelines by 2019. It also offers a communication platform featuring an online speakers’ series.

The Guidelines update process will be launched on September 19th by webinar. Please reach out to Elisabeth Ekener Petersen if you would like to join the initiative at [email protected]


Our Calendar: where we and our partners will be active

LCM2017 CONFERENCE | 3-6 September 2017 | Luxembourg

This eighth edition of the LCM conference will focus on practical solutions for the implementation of life cycle approaches in strategic and operational decision making. This could be at the stage of methodology development, tools and methods experimentation, or LCM-driven success stories as market innovations. 

The Life Cycle Initiative Secretariat will make a presentation on our new strategy during the closing ceremony of the conference (3:40 pm, 6 September). Join us there!

>> Consult the conference’s website.

Basque Ecodesign Meeting 2017 | 19-20 September 2017 | Bilbao

Every two years, the Basque Ecodesign Center organizes an international event on eco-design; this year it will host Basque Ecodesign Meeting BEM2017.
One of Europe’s most important ecodesign events, the Basque Ecodesign Meeting attracts nearly 500 company representatives from the field of strategic decision making in addition to professionals interested in introducing ecodesign and product environmental innovation to the policies of their organizations to obtain competitive advantages. Professionals and technicians from the field of product and service industrial design, the university and the public administration also participate.

The Life Cycle Initiative Secretariat will make a presentation on our new strategy during the conference (10.20 am, 19 September). Join us there!

>> Consult the conference’s website.

Indian Conference on Life Cycle Management (ILCM) 2017 | 9-10 October 2017 | New Delhi

The 2017 event will gather Indian and international LCA community experts and stakeholders including government, industry, academia and the voluntary sector to explore the applicability of life cycle thinking for realization of sustainable consumption and production patterns. The objective of ILCM 2017 is to discuss and advance the implementation of life cycle approaches along business value chains, supporting environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

The Life Cycle Initiative will present the new strategy in the conference!

>> Consult the conference website.

World Resources Forum 2017 | 24-25 October 2017 | Geneva, Switzerland

This year’s WRF conference on ‘Accelerating the Resource Revolution’ will focus on conditions, challenges and opportunities for governments, businesses, academia and civil society. More specifically, participants will look at how to accelerate the resource transition and how to manage, coordinate, finance, track progress, train and communicate.

The Life Cycle Initiative will present the new strategy in the conference!

>> Consult the official event website

The [avniR] Conference on ‘Life Cycle Management, the pathway for eco-transition’ | 8-9 November 2017 | Lille, France

The [avniR] conference is the international event that brings together more than 300 professionals (large companies, SMEs, public actors, international academics) and experts around Life Cycle Management issues. The objective of this year’s conference is to share the latest best practices, scientific insights and innovations leading to the successful implementation of Life Cycle Management to boost competitiveness.

The Life Cycle Initiative will present the new strategy in the conference, and please also visit us at our booth!

>> Consult the conference website.

You can also consult our Events page for more information about the events above. Is there an event coming up in your area? Just let us know and we'll add it to our list.

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ICMM position on materials stewardship and LCA

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is seeking an accomplished professional to lead programme activities in materials stewardship and make an impact on a global scale. The successful candidate will have academic and professional experience with one or more of the areas of materials stewardship which includes life cycle assessment, chemicals management and resource efficiency.

Get job description and details on how to apply.

Consultant position at UN Environment on corporate sustainability reporting

The Consumption and Production unit of the Resources and Markets branch at UN Environment is looking for a consultant to support its work on corporate sustainability reporting. Please apply to this post before 17 September 2017 by downloading the instruction.

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Secretariat of the Life Cycle Initiative

For more information, please visit our websiteor feel free to contact us by email