Happy New Year to the vibrant and dedicated Life Cycle Community!
As we embark on the journey through 2024, let’s reflect on our achievements and embrace the possibilities that lie ahead.
In 2023, we launched the Community of Practice with LCA Networks, supporting regional and national LCA networks. Notably, the webinar on “Advancing Life Cycle Approaches in MENA Region” supported the launch of a new regional LCA Network in the MENA region.
The successful launch of the Biogenic Carbon Project marks a significant milestone in addressing existing gaps in internationally recommended approaches to account for biogenic carbon in LCA.
On other ongoing projects of the Life Cycle Initiative, the SCP-HAT tool is now an integral component of the UNEP-UNDP-UNFCCC digital toolbox, “Building circularity into NDCs” launched at MENA Climate Week in October 2023. GLAM is in its final stage, building on the recommendations from more than 150 scientists worldwide engaged through 11 virtual workshops, and an in-person consensus workshop in Copenhagen in May 2023. Moreover, GLAD‘s notable enhancements, including metadata descriptors and an upgraded conversion tool, mark significant strides in accessibility and efficiency.
To our dedicated Community and esteemed Funding Partners, our deepest appreciation for your steadfast support. The Life Cycle Initiative remains committed to fostering collaboration, pushing boundaries, and advancing sustainability globally.
Stay informed about our ongoing work through our website, joining us on this journey toward a more sustainable future.
Celebrating a Major Milestone: 100,000 records in GLAD
We are thrilled to announce a major achievement for the Global LCA Data Access network (GLAD) – our database has now reached an impressive 100,000 records, including a significant milestone of over 10,000 freely accessible datasets. This marks a momentous step in our ongoing commitment to the proliferation and accessibility of LCA data, reflecting the core principles of the Life Cycle Initiative and GLAD.
We express our sincere thanks to the invaluable contributions of our data providers, whose collective efforts have played a pivotal role in reaching this milestone. Special recognition goes to TianGong, the new kid on the block and a key contributor exemplifying openness and transparency in LCA data. The TianGong database is established under the TianGong Initiative, led by Prof. Ming Xu of Tsinghua University and involving over 30 research teams from different universities and institutions, with more than 150 researchers participating. Check out our interview with Prof. Xu, on their experience of adding the TianGong Database node in GLAD.
COP28 Pavilion: The Buildings Breakthrough from GlobalABC
The Governments of France and Morocco, together with UNEP, launched the Buildings Breakthrough on 6 December 2023 at COP28 in Dubai, uniting countries to accelerate the transformation of the high-impact building and construction sector. Twenty-eight countries have so far pledged their commitment to the Buildings Breakthrough, that is part of the Breakthrough Agenda.
Under this umbrella, the UNEP hosted Global ABC, co-organized several events at COP28, including the panel discussion Building a Net-zero and Nature-positive Future: Whole life cycle approaches and circularity as key drivers for building decarbonization.
The now launched buildings breakthrough will serve as a starting point for further work on the decarbonization of the built environment and on the implementation of life cycle approaches for building and construction!
UNEP is excited to announce the launch of the One Plastics Initiative Newsletter*!
It will inform you of timely updates on the latest science and data, publications, compelling stories, engaging videos, upcoming events, collaborative partnership opportunities, and more regarding the One Plastics Initiative’s global, regional, and national efforts.
*The One Plastics Initiative consolidates all UNEP’s plastic-related projects, activities, actions, and results into a unified programme, aiming to lead and implement a system-wide transformation towards a circular economy of plastics. Click here to learn more about the Initiative.
New Project Alert: Blueprint for Digital Product Passports
Among the initiatives to drive circular economy forward through digitalization, digital product passports (DPP) hold significant potential. Various countries and regions are working on different sectors -such as batteries, plastics, electronics- monitoring distinct aspects and using different criteria. A universally accepted DPP framework would benefit businesses and consumers by increasing transparency, accountability, innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. The One Planet Network and the Life Cycle Initiative have started a research project to collaboratively develop a blueprint for a global framework for digital product passports (DPPs) engaging with key partners including UNIDO and ITU.
If your organization possesses experience on DPPs and is keen on exploring potential partnerships, we invite you to contact Archana Datta.
Please provide details outlining your expertise for consideration.
Life Cycle Initiative internship applications opening soon!
The Life Cycle Initiative will soon open applications for internships covering a 6-month period. Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing the announcement through our social media channels. Don’t miss out if you’re interested!
Project & Activity Updates
SCP-HAT 3.0: Coming Soon
The underlying data under SCP-HAT are now being updated, and the new version is planned for release in March 2024. SCP-HAT is a prime example for an interactive online assessment tool to support science-based policymaking, fulfilling two requirements: the scientific soundness of the underlying method and the need for simplified results for a broad range of countries and policy applications.
Linking UN SDGs to Life Cycle Impact Pathway Framework: Review coming soon
In the beginning of 2024, we will start the review process for the reports related to the project “Linking the UN SDGs to life cycle impact pathway frameworks”. A list of documents will undergo technical review, describing the SDG screening and assessment approaches and the details regarding each SDG pathway. Write to Eugenia Brignone-Fois if you are interested in supporting the technical review of these reports.
MENA LCA Network set to launch its activities
The newly announced MENA LCA Network will launch its activities in the Middle East and North Africa from Saudi Arabia in February.
The first event is planned to be an awareness-raising session about LCA and its uses in the business environment in Riyadh City in collaboration with EPD MENA and the Life Cycle Initiative.
The MENA LCA Network aspires to be more than a community; it serves as an interactive platform that brings together LCA experts and stakeholders committed to advancing sustainable practices in the Middle East and North Africa. Functioning as a pivotal hub for regional professionals, the network seeks to enhance awareness of Life Cycle Sustainability Thinking and establish a comprehensive regional database. Through initiatives such as training workshops, webinars, and conferences within the MENA region, the network strives to propel the shift towards more environmentally, socially responsible, and energy-efficient products and services.
Life Cycle Community News
InTex project: moving towards full PEF studies and action plans
Under the ongoing European Union (EU) funded project “Innovative Business Practices and Economic Models in the Textile Value Chain (InTex)”, we are pleased to share that UNEP, in collaboration with its implementing project partners, completed the capacity building on the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology for 15 SMEs in Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia. This entailed the development and training of the companies and technical intermediaries on the PEF methodology as well as on an easy-to-use calculator to identify the environmental hotspots of textiles products based on the draft Apparel and Footwear Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR). The companies in Kenya, South Africa, and Tunisia are actively engaged in modelling activities using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software. The objective is to develop the life cycle inventory of targeted apparel and footwear products, with the aim to identify the most critical drivers of impact while also developing roadmaps for the implementation of improvement measures in line with the PEF study findings.
The first Social Product Declaration and Product Category Rules published in December 2023
In December 2023, the first Social Product Declaration (SPD) and Product Category Rules (PCR) were published, marking a groundbreaking achievement in sustainability assessment. This initiative began in April 2021 as a collaboration between Hitachi Rail, Circular s.r.l and EPD International. The S-LCA, conducted following UNEP 2020 guidelines, collected primary and secondary data from relevant suppliers through specific questionnaires and sustainability reports, offering a comprehensive view of the train’s social life cycle inventory.
Now publicly accessible at https://www.environdec.com/spd, this declaration is a significant step in addressing communication gaps, as highlighted in the position paper by The One Planet Network Consumer Information Programme.
Life Cycle Initiative’s LCSA Position Paper is 2022’s most downloaded paper in IntJLCA
The Life Cycle Initiative’s Position Paper titled ‘Principles for the application of life cycle sustainability assessment’ has been noted to be the most downloaded paper in 2022 in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. This comes from data published in September 2023, which covers all the Journal’s downloaded Full-Text Open Choice articles published from 2020 to 2022.
The LCSA position paper was published by the Life Cycle Initiative in August 2021, with the aim to support improved Life Cycle Sustainability Assessments worldwide. This open-access paper — now counting over 32,000 accesses — was the most downloaded in the year 2022 of all articles published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment between 2020 and 2022. The article is also the second most downloaded of all time, trailing only one article published in 2017.
On Mission: Wednesday, November 8th, our Programme Officer Mona Mohammed spoke at the Carbon Footprint Policy Accelerator Conference at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) in Potsdam, Germany! The conference provided valuable insights from the current practice of applying LCA for decarbonizing the high-impact sector of building and construction by uniting various scientific perspectives as well as examples from current practices in the Netherlands and Denmark.
Mona presented our work on life-cycle approaches in the high-impact sector of buildings and construction, emphasizing the need to harmonize different LCA approaches and methods as well as the activities of Working Group on Whole Life Cycle Policy Coalitions (WLCP.Co).
Upcoming MENA LCA Capacity Building Events
In 2024, the MENA LCA Network is set to host two capacity building events in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, aimed at fostering expertise in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The sessions target a diverse audience, including engineers, LCA experts, consultants, students and industry professionals. The overarching goal is to strengthen the LCA-MENA network, positioning it as a dynamic and service-oriented community of experts and stakeholders committed to advancing sustainable practices. By building local and regional expertise, the workshops aspire to contribute significantly to the promotion of environmentally conscious decision-making rooted in LCA in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Life Cycle Event Calendar
SETAC Europe 34th Annual Meeting
5-9 May, 2024 • Seville, Spain
The 34th Annual SETAC Europe Meeting is scheduled for May 5th to 9th in Seville, Spain. The conference theme, “Science-based Solutions in Crisis: Uniting Science and Policy for Environmental Challenges” focuses on global-scale environmental approaches addressing safety concerns, sustainability, and remediation options for chemical pollution during crises. Registration will open in February.
9th International Social Life Cycle Assessment Conference (S-LCA 2024)
28-31 May, 2024 • Curitiba, Brazil
The 9th International Social Life Cycle Assessment Conference (S-LCA 2024) will take place from May 28th to 31st 2024 in Curitiba, Brazil and abstract evaluations are available! For those who have already submitted their abstract, you can review the comments and adjust your paper until January 22nd.
The S-LCA 2024 is organized by Gyro, from the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR), together with the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) and the Federal Institute of Goiás (IFG), supported by the Social LCA Alliance and the Working Group on ACV-S (GTACV-S).
The 5th Chilean Conference on Life Cycle Assessment will take place on August 7th until 9th at the Universidad Católica del Maule (UCM), Chile. The Conference is jointly organized by the local LCA Network (RedACV Chile) and the UCM, with the support of the Iberoamerican Network of LCA (RICV) and the Life Cycle Initiative.
The event will bring together researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from Chile and abroad, to discuss the central theme of “advancing efforts towards a sustainable economy”. You may contribute to this Conference by submitting an abstract for the following sessions:
Environmental Life Cycle Assessment
Social Life Cycle Assessment
Life Cycle Costing
Eco-labelling and Environmental Product Declarations
The 14th LCA Food conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain. Hosted by IRTA, a research institute under the Government of Catalonia and the Ministry of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda, this conference is committed to reducing the environmental impact of agrifood systems and advancing healthier, more sustainable diets. With a 28-year legacy, it has grown into the world’s foremost platform for addressing environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. It attracts participants from academia, consultancy, agrifood companies, NGOs, and public bodies, occurring biennially across Europe, America, and Asia.
SETAC Europe 26th LCA Symposium, “Making LCA Meaningful: Good Data, Better Models, Sustainable Decisions”
21 – 23 October 2024 | Gothenburg, Sweden
The SETAC Europe 26th LCA Symposium is a two-and-a-half-day event gathering experts from academia, industry, government, and NGOs to discuss the latest research and applications in life cycle assessment (LCA). This year’s theme, “Making LCA meaningful: good data, better models, sustainable decisions,” aims to enhance life cycle inventory data, improve life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) application, and deepen the understanding of LCA’s diverse contexts and enhancements. The symposium will offer presentations, discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities to contribute to these goals.
Open call for 3 positions as Assistant Professor Tenure Track in Engineering at the Department of Engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. The deadline to submit the documents is January 15th 2023. A successful candidate should specialize in one of the following research areas:
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Analyst at Unilever • Sharnbrook, England
Unilever is hiring multiple junior LCA analysts with a passion for environmental sustainability to join the expanding team at the Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC). This is an exciting opportunity for anyone wishing to use their scientific expertise to make a significant positive impact, whilst working in a supportive, team-based environment.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Research Scientist at Unilever • Sharnbrook, England
Join Unilever as an LCA Research Scientist, where you’ll spearhead collaborative research efforts to advance life cycle assessment methodologies. Your role involves partnering with global institutions, publishing influential research, and advocating for innovative sustainability practices.
The work of the Life Cycle Initiative would not be possible without the support of its sponsors. By contributing to the Initiative, organizations not only gain access to unparalleled expertise in how to align their activities with their United Nations Environmental and Social Development commitments, but they also play a role in transforming their activities, as models of Life Cycle Thinking. With the new 2022-2027 strategy of the Life Cycle Initiative, funding partners will also get significant visibility through the Initiative’s support to UNEP projects in high-impact sectors such as plastics, textiles, buildings and construction, mobility, etc. If you are interested in becoming a funding partner, please contact us!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Ms Emma Poghosyan.
Note that we cannot accept contributions of a commercial nature. LCNet is released bimonthly in the beginning of January, March, May, July, September and November; 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!