As we bid farewell to 2021, we are excited to welcome 2022 with a renewed sense of purpose.

2021 was a memorable year, in many ways. COVID-19 continued to play a large role in our lives. Unfortunately, this meant that the return to in-person events and opportunities was not as common as we had hoped, but on the bright side, following from our learning experience in 2020, the virtual world has become much more efficient and stimulating- we always find the silver-lining! The Life Cycle Initiative used this experience to continue its diverse work, driving the uptake of a Life Cycle Approach across the world.

The Life Cycle Initiative has had tremendous success in 2021 in relation to its studies on single-use plastic products and their alternatives, in particular on nappies. These studies were so successful that the Nappy Alliance requested to work with us in hosting a webinar, which generated widespread interest publicly. Coming soon will be the LCA study on single-use masks, vital research as the pandemic continues!

Another exciting development has been various elements of work related to the Sustainable Consumption and Hotspot Analysis Tool (SCP-HAT). Version 2.0 of the SCP-HAT has been developed throughout 2021 and is now available to the public. This updated version of the tool has much more extensive analysis capabilities and additional time and sector coverage. The SCP-HAT is causing a storm in the policy-making scene and this growing interest has led to the development of the SCP-HAT Regional Centres of Excellence in the latter part of 2021. These RCoEs will act as experts of the SCP-HAT in their regions, increasing the reach of the SCP-HAT, and aiding policymakers in their regions to harness the power of this tool. Watch this space!

LCA is popping up everywhere, and this is evident in the space of Plastic Pollution. One of our greatest highlights this year was the request for a webinar and resource on ‘What does a life-cycle approach applied to address marine litter and plastic pollution look like?’ This was a direct request from member states as they prepare their discussions for a global agreement on plastic pollution. We strive to drive this discussion forward and integrate LCA further on this topic through the discussions in UNEA in late February and through 2022!

In 2020, the updated Social LCA Guidelines were released, and in 2021, the translated version of these guidelines were launched in French, Italian and Dutch, alongside the Methodological Sheets. This release culminated at an extremely successful hybrid event in Brussels, with over 300 people in attendance both in-person and online.

The Life Cycle community is fiercely passionate and engaged and it is this passion that allows the Initiative to continue meeting its goals and reaching higher- bringing life cycle thinking to the forefront of conversations in both businesses and in policymaking. We need your help and support, and we look forward to strengthening our collaboration with you, organisations and individuals, in 2022. In this pivotal moment in history, it is imperative we work together.

The above is just a small glimpse into the work that has been completed by the Life Cycle Initiative in 2021. As the pandemic continues, we strive to continue our work and deepen our impact, aiming to provide countries with information on their key hotspots of unsustainable consumption and production, so COVID-19 recovery plans can symbolise the beginning of a new, more sustainable economy.

Don’t forget to stay up to date with us and our work at the Life Cycle Initiative website and via our social media channels, Twitter and Linkedin.