Update on training, networks and conformance information sharing

The successful publication and subsequent information dissemination on the Global Guidance Principles (GGP) for LCA Databases in 2011 was just the starting point for implementation of the principles worldwide. Elements of those implementation steps are being conducted during Phase 3 of the Life Cycle Initiative. Updates on key activities are as follows:

  • Training – although information sessions held in various parts of the world after the launch in October 2011 have been very well received, those involved or potentially involved in the creation, maintenance and management of databases, as well as their data providers, have not been able to participate in a hands-on training session relating to making the Global Guidance operational. Efforts are underway to change this. A draft Training Kit, built for now in MS PowerPoint, will be piloted on February 17, 2014 in Chengdu, China. The kit consists of lecture materials, classroom discussion topics, and hands-on exercises.

Several of the instructors were participants in the Shonan Village workshop so will bring first-hand knowledge to the training effort. The instructors tentatively include Hongtao Wang, Bruce Vigon, Clare Broadbent, and Thumrongrut Mungcharoen. Feedback from this first pilot will be used in conjunction with reviews of the draft training materials by the workshop steering committee and other stakeholders.

  • Networks – A kickoff meeting for a data and databases network was held in Gothenburg, Sweden on 27 August. About 30 persons from all regions participated with strong interest in organizing regional networks and linking or coordinating these into a global network. Details on how the regional groups would be connected are still to be finalized but most of the ideas involved some form of electronic or virtual connection, e .g. social media, electronic collaboration or meeting portal, wiki, etc. Immediate expressions of interest were received from three regions – Latin America (probably organized through the Ibero-American network or a collaboration of Latin American national networks), India and China. Other national groups, e.g. in the EU and North America, also expressed interest. Guido Sonnemann and Bruce Vigon, co-managers of this project, are working toward formalizing the networks and developing a plan of action. (Note: related to this networking and to the Global Guidance Principles, is a project to start in 2014 to establish and maintain technical support for LCA data and database development and operation with funding from the EC.)
  • Conformance Information Sharing – Lastly, the incorporation of information on conformance or mapping or databases to the Global Guidance is moving forward, albeit slowly. The basic idea is to prepare a checklist of criteria addressing various aspect of the Guidance and completing such a checklist for each database at minimum and ideally for each dataset or group of datasets. How to make these description sheets available is still in discussion but one idea is to augment the UNEP/SETAC database registry and/or provide the information through the data acquisition resource openLCA Nexus operated by GreenDelta.