In the past two years in particular, life-cycle thinking and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have been widely adopted and recommended by a series of Chinese national policy documents.

In ‘China’s National Green Product Policy’, life cycle thinking is recognized as the fundamental principle for establishing a uniform standard, certification and labelling system for all kinds of green products – similar to the European Product Environmental Footprint programme. In the ‘Made in China 2025’ policy (the Chinese national plan for industry for the coming decade), a group of life cycle approaches were proposed, such as: eco-design, green supply chain, and green procurement to “enhance product whole life-cycle green management”. This was followed by a batch of nationwide activities such as: standard making, eco-design pilot enterprise programmes, and pilot programmes for “integrated green manufacture” which were initiated by several central governmental departments.

Towards an open LCA platform for China

Hundreds of Chinese leading manufacturers are engaged in these pilot programmes and the standard-making. In principle, they will conduct LCA for their products and supply chains.

In addition, the China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID) is one of the policy research institutes that proposed those LCA-related policies. It is joined by the Beijing Association of Green Design and Green Manufacturing Promotion; an association of eco-design pilot enterprises. Sichuan University (Chengdu) and IKE Environmental Technology are providing technical support for the implementation. Their major aim is to establish an open LCA platform for business in China, which plans to include the following components and activities: general LCA guidelines and documentation format for LCAs of various products (in addition to large-scale training for LCA practitioners); research on LCA-supportive policies, and; an exploration of the value of LCA in business (in collaboration with dozens of leading enterprises in the co-design pilot programme).

For further information on LCA-related policies and the LCA platform in China, please contact Life Cycle Initiative’s Strategic Partner Professor Hongtao Wang of Sichuan University.