A decision-analytic framework for impact assessment part I: LCA and decision analysis

LCA Methodology

Abstract

Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) are conducted to satisfy the aspiration of decision makers to consider the environment in their decision making. This paper reviews decision analysis and discusses how it can be used to structure the assessment and to integrate characterization and valuation. The decision analytic concepts of objectives (goals) and attributes (indicators of the degree to which an objective is achieved) are used to describe steps of the assessment of the entire impact chain. Decision analysis distinguishes among different types of objectives and attributes; it describes how these relate to each other. Impact indicators such as the Human Toxicity Potential are constructed attributes. A means-ends objectives network can show how the different constructed attributes relate to the objective of protecting the environment. As LCA takes disparate environmental impacts into account, it needs to assess their relative importance. Trade-off methods in decision analysis are grouped into utility theory and multicriteria decision aids; they have different advantages and disadvantages, but are all more sophisticated than simple weighting. The performance of the different trade-off methods has not yet been tested in an LCA context. In the second part of the paper, we present criteria for the development of characterization methods.

Keywords

Acidification decision analysis evaluation criteria global warming human toxicity potential impact assessment LCA life-cycle assessment (LCA) weighting 

References

  1. Arrow, K. J. 1951. Social choice and individual values. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  2. Bana e Costa, C. A. 1990. Readings in multiple criteria decision aid. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  3. Basson, L. and J. G. Petrie. 1999. Decision Making during Early Stages of a Project Life Cycle: Roles for Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis, Life Cycle Assessment and Ecological Risk Assessments SETAC 20th Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.Google Scholar
  4. Bras-Klapwijk, R. M. 1999. Adjusting Life Cycle Assessment Methodology for Use in Public Policy Discourse. Delft: Delft University of Technology: 280.Google Scholar
  5. Ekvall, T. 1999. System Expansion and Allocation in Life Cycle Assessment with Implications for Wastepaper Management. Technical Environmental Planning. Goteborg: Chalmers.Google Scholar
  6. Fava, J., F. Consoli, R. Denison, K. Dickson, T. Mohin and B. Vigon, Eds. 1993. A Conceptual Framework for Life-Cycle Impact Assessment. Pensacola, Fl, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.Google Scholar
  7. Finnveden, G. 1997. Valuation Methods Within LCA — Where are the Values? Int.J. LCA 2(3): 163–169.Google Scholar
  8. Frischknecht, R. 2000. Allocation in life cycle inventory analysis for joint production. Int. J. LCA 5(2) 85–95.Google Scholar
  9. Giegrich, J. and S. Schmitz. 1997. Valuation as a Step in Impact Assessment: Methods and Case Study. In Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment, edited by M. A. Curran. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  10. Goedkoop, M. 1995. The Eco-indicator 95, 9523. Utrecht, NL: Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment, National Reuse of Waste Research Programme (NOH).Google Scholar
  11. Guitouni, A. and J. M. Martel. 1998. Tentative guidelines to help choosing an appropriate MCDA method. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 109(2): 501–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heijungs, R. 1998. Towards eco-efficiency with LCA’s prevention principle: an epistemological foundation of LCA using axioms. In Product Innovation and Eco-efficiency, edited by J. E. M. Klostermann and A. Tukker. Dortrecht: Kluwer: 175–186.Google Scholar
  13. Hertwich, E. G. 1999. Toxic Equivalency: Accounting for Human Health in Life-Cycle Impact Assessment. Energy and Resources Group. Berkeley: University of California: 237.Google Scholar
  14. Hertwich, E. G., J. K. Hammitt and W. S. Pease. 2000. A Theoretical Foundation for Life-Cycle Assessment: Recognizing the Role of Values in Environmental Decisionmaking. J. Ind. Ecol. 4(1): 13–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hertwich, E. G., W. S. Pease and T. E. McKone. 1998. Evaluating toxic impact assessment methods: What works best? Environ. Sci. Technol. 32(5): A138-A144.Google Scholar
  16. Hofstetter, P. 1998. Perspectives in Life Cycle Impact Assessment: A Structured Approach to Combine Models of the Technosphere, Ecosphere and Valuesphere. Boston: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  17. Holdren, J. P. 1980. Integrated Assessment for Energy-Related Environmental Standards: A Summary of Issues and Findings. LBL Report 12799. Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.Google Scholar
  18. Kahneman, D. and J. L. Knetsch. 1992. Valuing Public Goods: The Purchase of Moral Satisfaction. J. Environ. Econ. Manage: 57–70.Google Scholar
  19. Kahneman, D., J. L. Knetsch and R. H. Thaler. 1991. Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias. J. Econ. Perspect. 5(1): 193–206.Google Scholar
  20. Kahneman, D., P. Slovic and A. Tversky. 1982. Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kahneman, D. and A. Tversky. 1979. Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk. Econometrica 47: 263–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Keeney, R. L. 1992. Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Keeney, R. L. and H. Raiffa. 1976. Decisions with multiple objectives: preferences and value tradeoffs. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Kleindorfer, P. R., H. C. Kunreuther and P. G. H. Schoemaker. 1993. Decision Sciences: An Integrative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lundie, S. and G. Huppes. 1999. Environmental Assessment of Products — The Ranges of Societal Preferences Method. Int. J. LCA 4(1): 7–15.Google Scholar
  26. Marsmann, M., S. O. Ryding, H. Udo de Haes, J. Fava, W. Owens, K. Brady, K. Saur and R. Schenck. 1999. In reply to Hertwich & Pease Int. J. LCA 3(4), S. 180–181 ‘ISO 14042 Restricts Use and Development of Impact Assessment’. Int. J. LCA 4(2): 65.Google Scholar
  27. Miettinen, P. and R. P. Hamalainen. 1997. How to benefit from decision analysis in environmental life cycle assessment. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 102(2): 279–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Owens, J. W, L. Barnthouse, J. Fava, K. Humphreys, B. Hunt, S. Noesen, J. A. Todd, B. Vigon, K. Weitz, et al. 1997. Life-Cycle Impact Assessment: The State-of-the Art. Pensacola, Fl: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.Google Scholar
  29. Paruccini, M. M. 1994. Applying multiple criteria aid for decision to environmental management. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  30. Popper, K. R. 1959. The logic of scientific discovery. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  31. Raiffa, H. 1968. Decision Analysis. Reading, MA.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  32. Scheringer, M. 1999. Persistenze und Reichweite von Umweltchemikalien. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-vch.Google Scholar
  33. Schoemaker, P. J. H. 1991. Choices Involving Uncertain Probabilities: Tests of Generalized Utility Models. J. Econ. Behav. Organ. 16: 295–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shrader-Frechette, K. S. 1991. Risk and rationality: philosophical foundations for populist reforms. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  35. Simon, H. A. 1957. Models of Man. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  36. Tukker, A. 1998. Uncertainty in Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Toxic Releases. Int. J. LCA 3(5): 246–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. von Neumann, J. and O. Morgenstern. 1944. Theory of games and economic behavior. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Wuebbles, D. J. 1995. Weighing Functions For Ozone Depletion and Greenhouse Gas Effects On Climate. Ann. Rev. Energy Environ. 20: 45–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Ecomed Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Energy & Resources GroupUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.LCA-LaboratoryNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Harvard Center for Risk AnalysisHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations