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Launch of a new report: “Road testing organizational life cycle assessment around the world: applications, experiences and lessons learned”

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational life cycle assessment (O-LCA) is still a rather young proposal, but moving towards becoming more broadly accepted as a scientifically mature and practical method. The UNEP/SETAC flagship project “LCA of organizations” concluded its “road-testing” phase and is glad to announce the publication of the final report “Road testing organizational life cycle assessment around the world: applications, experiences and lessons learned.” The full report can be accessed at http://www.lifecycleinitiative.org/download/6060. This article shortly summarizes the flagship project phases and main outcomes, particularly the report recently launched, and pinpoints future actions.

Methods

In 2015, the “Guidance on Organizational Life Cycle Assessment” was published. During the following 2 years, the flagship project accompanied 12 organizations in the road testing of that O-LCA Guidance. They represent four world regions, different sectors and sizes. The road testers’ case studies and their feedback are the basis of the Road-testing Report.

Results and discussion

The Road-testing Report aims to complement the O-LCA Guidance through the road testers’ experience, thus delivering advice for future practitioners and inspiration to method developers. It includes executive summaries of the O-LCA road testers’ case studies and the main results of a comprehensive survey through which the road testers share their experience, feedback, and lessons learned. The road testing confirmed the application potential of the O-LCA method and the positive outcomes of the road testing have shown that no immediate updates to the O-LCA Guidance are needed, but some priority actions were identified in order to further ease the application of O-LCA.

Conclusions

Three main tasks for the coming years are identified by the authors: firstly, the challenges highlighted during the road testing should be addressed in the future by the LCA community; specific methodological difficulties of certain kinds of organizations, like the service sector, should be targeted; and finally, the potential revealed by the organizational perspective can be deployed in adjacent LCA fields. The flagship project team hopes that this second publication, together with the great acceptance of the O-LCA Guidance and the contribution of third parties, will pave the way to make O-LCA a mainstream tool.

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Notes

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Acknowledgements

We would like to particularly thank all the road testers for their commitment and dedication during the pilot phase and their valuable contribution to the Road-testing Report. We would like to also acknowledge Prof. Atsushi Inaba and the feedback stakeholders for their precious comments. Finally, we thank the sponsors and the secretariat of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative for their support.

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Correspondence to Julia Martínez-Blanco.

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Responsible editor: Mary Ann Curran

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Martínez-Blanco, J., Forin, S. & Finkbeiner, M. Launch of a new report: “Road testing organizational life cycle assessment around the world: applications, experiences and lessons learned”. Int J Life Cycle Assess 23, 159–163 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1409-5

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Keywords

  • O-LCA
  • Sustainable supply chain management
  • Survey
  • Case studies
  • Footprinting
  • Environmental management