Phase II (2007-2012): Becoming a stakeholder

Based upon the achievements and success of Phase I and on the growing interest perceived from our stakeholders to advance life cycle approaches worldwide, UNEP and SETAC agreed to continue their partnership in Phase II.

At UNEP new opportunities favorable to the Life Cycle Initiative were identified and helped reaching more channels for international cooperation, dissemination and exchange. The 10-year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (Marrakech Process) that is being pursued by UNEP and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) directly deals with substantive issues which are within the scope of work of the Life Cycle Initiative and consequently the planned activities for the second phase of the Life Cycle Initiative were articulated with a clear link to the activities of this Framework of Programmes.

Moreover, the Life Cycle Initiative identified in its first phase the need to better communicate to private businesses and to provide them with useful, feasible and innovative life cycle solutions.

Phase II activities (2007-2012) saw the Life Cycle Initiative evolve to be more participative, encouraging more involvement from global stakeholders in order to achieve common understanding and agreement on tools and strategies being developed. The main outcomes of this phase were accomplished through close collaboration with key actors in the field. By engaging with experts and practitioners working in product policy, management and development, the Life Cycle Initiative provided support in the application of sustainability-driven life cycle approaches based on lessons learned from leading organizations.

Mission To bring science-based life cycle approaches into practice worldwide.

Objectives Phase 2 will build on the Life Cycle Initiative’s continual strength to maintain and enhance life cycle assessment and management methodologies and build capacity globally. As we look to the future, LCA and LCM knowledge is the Life Cycle Initiative’s anchor, but we will advance activities on LCA and LCM to make a difference within the real world. Therefore, the objectives for Phase 2 are the following ones:

Objective 1: Enhance the global consensus and relevance of existing and emerging life cycle approaches methodology;

Objective 2: Facilitate the use of life cycle approaches worldwide by encouraging life cycle thinking in decision-making in business, government and the general public about natural resources, materials and products targeted at consumption clusters;

Objective 3: Expanding capability worldwide to apply and to improve life cycle approaches.

Work areas

The identified Phase II objectives were met through projects in five Work Area Interest Groups (WAIG) (see figure below):

  1. Life Cycle Approaches for Methodologies and Data (including data, methods, case studies, etc.)
  2. Life Cycle Approaches for Resources and Impacts (including natural resources, chemicals, water, energy, etc.)
  3. Life Cycle Approaches for Consumption Clusters (structured in housing, mobility, food and consumer products)
  4. Life Cycle Approaches for Capability Development (including institutional empowerment, training, curricular development, etc.)
  5. Life Cycle Management in Businesses and Industries

The figure below indicates the relationship among the WAIG. In this way it was expected that the impact of the Life Cycle Initiative goes beyond the work on methodologies and capacity building, to practical applications that make a difference in the real world and thus contribute more effectively to the ongoing international efforts to change unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. The expectations for each of the objectives were met by having the secretariat conducting the work and the experts carrying out projects in the five WAIG.

Relationship among the 5 WAIG chosen for the practical application approach of Phase II


The key deliverables of the Initiative’s Phase I and II activities are listed below, and are described in more detail throughout this publication as indicated in the links:

  • Life Cycle Impact Assessment Framework: links a product’s environmental interventions or impacts to the ultimate effects on human health, ecosystem quality and resource depletion.
  • Life Cycle Management Approach: Life cycle management provides a coherent methodology for implementing life cycle approaches and activities with the goal of continual performance improvement.
  • USETox™: an environmental model for characterization of human and ecotoxic impacts in Life Cycle Impact Assessment and for comparative assessment and ranking of chemicals according to their inherent hazard characteristics.
  • Social LCA: This framework sets out the key elements, indicators, and limitations for assessing the positive and negative social impacts of a product over its life cycle, with consideration of human rights, working conditions, health and safety, among others. This is a final key element that will enable a full triple-bottom-line approach to product sustainability assessment.
  • Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment: Framework that combines techniques for enabling the evaluation of positive and negative environmental, social and economic impacts of a product throughout its life cycle.
  • Global Guidance principles for life cycle assessment databases: These principles give guidance for proper gathering and management of data, which enable better, more reliable life cycle assessment results and improve their use for decision making.

Project groups have published in international journals the following midterm reports where they propose life cycle based methodologies for discussion and their finalization in Phase III:

Fase II (2007-2012): promoviendo el enfoque del ciclo de vida mundialmente y involucrando a la comunidad

En base a los logros y los éxitos de la Fase I y en base al creciente interés percibido por nuestros interesados para promover el enfoque del ciclo de vida mundialmente, PNUMA y SETAC se pusieron de acuerdo en continuar con su asociación en la Fase II.

En UNEP se identificaron nuevas oportunidades favorables para la Iniciativa del Ciclo de Vida y éstas ayudaron alcanzando más canales para la cooperación, difusión e intercambio internacional. El marco de los programas de consumo y producción sostenibles de 10 años (Marrakech Process) que está siendo seguido directamente por UNEP y por el departamento de asuntos económicos y sociales de las Naciones Unidas (UNDESA) trabaja con asuntos fundamentales los cuales están dentro del campo de trabajo de la Iniciativa del Ciclo de Vida y por ello las actividades planificadas para la segunda Fase fueron articuladas con una clara conexión a las actividades del marco de programas.

Además, la iniciativa del Ciclo de Vida identificó en la primera fase la necesidad de comunicar mejor con las empresas privadas y de proporcionarles con soluciones útiles, factibles y innovadoras.

Las actividades de la Fase II (2007-2012) vieron como la Iniciativa del Ciclo de Vida evolucionaba para ser más participativa, incentivando la intervención de los interesados con el fin de conseguir un comprensión y acuerdo común en herramientas y estrategias desarrolladas. El principal resultado de esta fase fue realizado a través de una colaboración cercana con los principales actores.

Interaccionando con expertos y profesionales que trabajan en la gestión y desarrollo del producto, la Iniciativa del Ciclo de Vida proporcionó apoyo en la aplicación de un enfoque del ciclo de vida sostenible basado en las lecciones aprendidas de las organizaciones lideres.


Poner en práctica mundialmente los enfoques del ciclo de vida con base científica


Los objetivos de la Iniciativa del Ciclo de Vida en la FASE I eran:

  • Mejorar el consenso global y la relevancia de la existencia y la aparición de la metodología del enfoque del Ciclo de Vida
  • Facilitar el uso de los enfoques del ciclo de vida mundialmente, promoviendo la idea del Ciclo de Vida en la toma de decisiones de las empresas, gobiernos y del publico general
  • Expandir mundialmente la capacidad de aplicar y mejorar los Enfoques del Ciclo de Vida