Global capability development (Flagship 4a)

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.

This flagship project has the aim to strengthen and consolidate the life cycle work in the regions, including documentation of local consultants and databases available. Focal points at Governmental offices (including national statistic offices for data management aspects) and chambers of commerce will be identified and linked to the national networks. Some deliverables identified for this flagship include:

  • Establishing a baseline on the level of Life Cycle Thinking worldwide, assessing the current capabilities on Life Cycle issues in non-OECD countries, with updates planned for every 3 years to trace the evolution.
  • Life cycle tools (i.e. on life cycle management, life cycle based footprinting indicators and ecodesign) spread across the emerging and rapidly growing economies via the Life Cycle Initiative’s or local platforms.
  • South-south (e.g. in Latin America) cooperation for increased implementation and North-South cooperation for methodologies’ enhancement, data generation and exchange.
  • Life cycle experts’ and practitioners’ network established in each region.
  • Online tools, if possible, translated into several languages including English, Spanish, Chinese & Portuguese.

Support from ENRTP funding from the European Commission

Global Capability Development activities are currently supported by ENRTP funding from the European Commission and the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. Target countries include Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico in Latin America, Turkey and Russia in Europe, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa in Africa and China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand in Asia. From 2014 onwards, additional countries will be considered based on the growing demand and expressions of interest from the regions; these countries include Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Vietnam, Ukraine, Colombia, Bahamas, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador and Costa Rica. The Life Cycle Initiative is keen to work with non-target countries in developing or emerging economies, and is particularly interested in how synergies can be developed with similar programmes operating in target countries, such as carbon or water footprinting. A network of regional and local trainers on environmental footprinting is supporting the global dissemination and the identification and development of local cases. The current process involves holding a workshop in “mainstreaming life cycle thinking” which addresses issues such as data availability and databases, capacity building needs and networks. The action plan and information obtained from the meeting are used to assist with developing a national road map for mainstreaming life cycle thinking. UNEP is looking for organizations willing to contribute with resources to expand the implementation of capacity building activities worldwide. If your organization can assist, please contact us.

For more information on this Flagship Activity, please contact its co-chairs, Sonia Valdivia, Cassia Ugaya, and Sanjeevan Bajaj.