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Lewandowska A.,Poznan University of Economics | Matuszak-Flejszman A.,Poznan University of Economics | Joachimiak K.,Poznan University of Economics | Ciroth A.,GreenDeltaTC GmbH
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2011

Purpose The paper presents a discussion on the possibilities of using LCA in identification and assessment of environmental aspects in environmental management systems based on the requirements of the international ISO14001 standard and the European Union EMAS regulation. Some modifications of LCA methodology are proposed in Part 1 while the results of a review of environmental aspects for 36 organisations with implemented EMS are presented in Part 2 of the article. Materials and methods The scope of the systems analysed in EMS and in LCA is different. This comes as the result of the fact that both ISO 14001 and EMAS are focused on an organisation on contrary to ISO14040x which are focused on a product life cycle. For the present work, this resulted in a need of adjusting the LCA methodology to EMS specificity and vice versa. Some suggestions of such modifications are presented and discussed in the paper. Results A preliminary analysis was carried out on 36 organisations which have environmental management systems compliant with the ISO14001 or EMAS regulations. A certain disproportion between input and output related environmental aspects included in most of the analysed registers was found. The probable reasons for such disproportion could be the fact that the output related environmental aspects are easier to manage by organisation and are often regulated by laws. Legal requirements are a significant criterion in the environmental aspects assessment. Discussion Based on the assessments carried out and the observations made, some conclusions have been drawn with regard to weaknesses and strengths and usefulness of LCA, as a result of a comparison to the traditional approaches used in EMS in the discussed area. LCA has evident advantages like: standardised methodology, possibility of inclusion of the quantitative information, presence of some methodological steps enabling the verification of the collected data, and ability to generate of reproducible results. At the same time, the following potential weak points can be observed: A complexity of the procedure, higher time, and cost requirements (especially related to an inventory phase); difficulties with assessing of environmental aspects with the qualitative character and these related to emergency situations; and limitation related to the lack of relevant characterisation factors in the currently used life cycle impact assessment methods. Conclusions LCA ought to be considered as a tool used for identification and assessment of environmental aspects in environmental management systems. The listed limitations do not disqualify its suitability to be used. After certain simplifications, LCA seems to be a valuable alternative to the methodologies currently in use. © Springer-Verlag 2011. Source


Klopffer W.,LCA Consult and Review | Ciroth A.,GreenDeltaTC GmbH
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2011

In a recent letter to the editor, Jørgensen et al. questioned that life cycle costing (LCC) is relevant in life cycle-based sustainability assessment (LCSA). They hold the opinion that environmental and social aspects are sufficient. We argue that sustainability has three dimensions: environment, economy, and social aspects in accordance with the well-accepted "three pillar interpretation" of sustainability, although this is not verbally stated in the Brundtland report (WCED 1987). An analysis of the historical development of the term "sustainability" shows that the economic and social component have been present from the beginning and conclude that LCSA of product systems can be approximated by LCSA = (environmental) LCA + (environmental) LCC + S-LCA where S-LCA stands for social LCA. The "environmental" LCC is fully compatible with life cycle assessment (LCA), the internationally standardized (ISO 14040 + 14044) method for environmental product assessment. For LCC, a SETAC "Code of Practice" is now available and guidelines for S-LCA have been published by UNEP/SETAC. First examples for the use of these guidelines have been published. An important practical argument for using LCC from the customers' point of view is that environmentally preferable products often have higher purchasing costs, whereas the LCC may be much lower (examples: energy saving light bulbs, low energy houses, and cars). Also, since LCC allows an assessment for different actor perspectives, the producers may try to keep the total costs from their perspective below those of a conventional product: otherwise, it will not succeed at the market, unless highly subsidized. Those are practical aspects whichfinally decide about success or failure of "sustainable" products. Whether or not an analysis using all three aspects is necessary will depend on the exact question. However, if real money flows are important in sustainability analysis of product systems, inclusion of LCC is advisable. © Springer-Verlag 2011. Source


Lewandowska A.,Poznan University of Economics | Kurczewski P.,Poznan University of Technology | Kulczycka J.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Joachimiak K.,Poznan University of Economics | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: In this two-part paper (Background and Initial Assumptions (Part 1) and Results of Survey Research (Part 2)), we present surveys whose main objective is to determine, whether and to what extent the life cycle assessment (LCA) technique is used for the identification and assessment of environmental aspects in environmental management systems (EMS) and whether there are any differences in this respect between the companies and countries analysed. Methods: The survey research was carried out using the computer assisted self-administered interviewing (CASI) method among selected Polish, German and Swedish organisations which implement EMS in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14001 and/or the EMAS regulation. Results: The organisations investigated, regardless of their country, are dominated by qualitative and semi-quantitative techniques of assessment and identification of environmental aspects. LCA was used sporadically, although some differences can be observed between the countries analysed. Conclusions: The environmental managers accustomed to traditional qualitative and semi-quantitative solutions, have not been given preparation to enable them to understand and adopt the different approaches such as LCA. On the other hand, representatives of the organisations investigated declared that they were ready to accept an even longer timescale for the identification and assessment processes relating to environmental aspects, which represents a potential opportunity for LCA. The more precise understanding and definition of environmental problems that are precisely defined in LCA would represent a novelty for environmental managers. In practice, environmental problems are defined in a general sense and rather ambiguously, as this level of detail is sufficient in the context of qualitative and semi-quantitative techniques commonly used for the identification and assessment of environmental aspects. © 2012 The Author(s). Source


Lewandowska A.,Poznan University of Economics | Kurczewski P.,Poznan University of Technology | Kulczycka J.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Joachimiak K.,Poznan University of Economics | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: In this two-part paper (Background and Initial Assumptions (part 1) and Results of Survey Research (part 2)), we present surveys whose main objective is to determine whether, and to what extent, the life cycle assessment (LCA) technique is used for the identification and assessment of environmental aspects in environmental management systems (EMS) and whether there are any differences in this respect between the companies and countries analysed. Methods: The survey research was carried out using the computer assisted self-administered interviewing method among selected Polish, German and Swedish organisations which implement EMS in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14001 and/or the EMAS regulation. Results: The organisations investigated, regardless of their country, are dominated by qualitative and semi-quantitative techniques of assessment and identification of environmental aspects. LCA was used sporadically, although some differences can be observed between the countries analysed. Conclusions: The environmental managers accustomed to traditional qualitative and semi-quantitative solutions have not been given preparation to enable them to understand and adopt different approaches such as LCA. On the other hand, representatives of the organisations investigated declared that they were ready to accept an even longer timescale for the identification and assessment processes relating to environmental aspects, which represents a potential opportunity for LCA. The more precise understanding and definition of environmental problems that are precisely defined in LCA would represent a novelty for environmental managers. In practice, environmental problems are defined in a general sense and rather ambiguously, as this level of detail is sufficient in the context of qualitative and semi-quantitative techniques commonly used for the identification and assessment of environmental aspects. © 2012 The Author(s). Source


Franze J.,GreenDeltaTC GmbH | Ciroth A.,GreenDeltaTC GmbH
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2011

Purpose There is a need to assess social impacts of products along the full life cycle, not only to be able to address the "social dimension" in sustainability, but also for potentially improving the circumstances of affected stakeholders. This paper presents a case study for a social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) based on the recently published "Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products" developed by the United Nations Environment Programme/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (UNEP/SETAC) working group. General aim is to "try out" the proposed method. The case study itself compares the impacts of rose production in Ecuador with the Netherlands. Furthermore, the objective is to identify differences and similarities in environmental and social life cycle modelling and both social and environmental hot spots in each of the life cycles. Methods: The study considers the production of rose blossoms and the cutting and packaging process in two fictitious companies in Ecuador and the Netherlands. Both rose bouquets are delivered to the European market and auctioned in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands. The social assessment is based on the UNEP/SETAC guidelines for S-LCA. Data are mainly obtained from governmental and nongovernmental organisations. For the calculation of the environmental burden, a screening-type LCA is conducted, including midpoint impact assessment. Results and discussion: This paper asserts that rose production in Ecuador is associated with many negative social effects, e.g. child labour, unfair salary, or bad impairment to health. The rose production in the Netherlands has no obvious negative social impacts but rather ecological consequences. Responsible for this is the high-energy consumption of the greenhouses. Conclusions: Application of the UNEP/SETAC guidelines in case studies can be encouraged based on results of this case study. The consideration of different stakeholder groups with corresponding, very diverse themes allows a comprehensive analysis of the actual conditions. However, finding suitable indicators to measure the status of the subcategories may be challenging. Moreover, the case study shows that results can be completely different for the environmental and for the social dimension, so that it often will be needed to perform both assessments if a complete picture is required. Recommendations and perspectives It will be interesting to apply the UNEP/SETAC approach of S-LCA to other products; products with a more complex life cycle will be a special challenge. As with any new method, getting experience on data collection and evaluation, building a data stock, integrating the method in software, and finding ways for effective communication of results are important steps until integrating S-LCA in routine, recognized decision support. © Springer-Verlag 2011. Source

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