Circular Economy (CE) is gaining more and more attention worldwide as a way to advance efficiently towards sustainable consumption and production patterns, which in turn contributes to achieving the sustainable development goals. With its regenerative nature, CE aims to extract the maximum value out of resources, keeping products, parts of products, and materials available in cycling loops (as opposed to in a “take-make-dispose” linear model), thus preserving natural, manufactured, human, and social assets.

Our paper argues that Life Cycle Assessment can be used as a tool to understand the environmental and social implications of CE strategies, as well as identifying the most promising of those strategies and options for improving the environmental performance of society’s consumption and production patterns.

The Life Cycle Initiative has published this paper to position the use of LCA in the development, adoption, and implementation of CE worldwide, in order to advance more efficiently and effectively towards sustainability. This paper defines the conceptual relationship between CE and LCA and recommends further steps towards enhancing their synergies. Furthermore, the paper also points out the assessment limitations of LCA in the context of CE, and prioritises issues to be developed in order to enable better support from the information, models, and results of LCA to the implementation of circular economy.

>> Read the position paper.