New Methods I: New Methods and Concepts of LCM I
The business case of life cycle management
Nordic Institute of Product Sustainability, Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, Denmark
Sustainability is an emerging and evolving concept used with increasing frequency in today’s globalized business world. One route to more sustainable business practices is that the company’s ecological footprint is reduced, and their resource efficiency and productivity increased so that resources are not unnecessarily depleted or permanently damaged, and still ensuring a sufficient profit and the creation of social value.
A company’s footprint includes the footprints of its product portfolio. When a product passes from one part of a product chain or life cycle stage to the next, it gains value and make impacts.
So, how can companies spread the message of sustainability to employees and the many suppliers and customers throughout the product and value chain to promote more sustainable products and business practices into the future and in that way improve the bottom line?
A special aspect is training of the many smaller SME suppliers struggling to survive and meeting the requirements of the large international companies. Here Capability Maturity Models and life cycle management may be useful. Leading companies with hundreds or thousands of small suppliers have understood how life cycle management can be used to make value chains more sustainable and are applying it to create value.
Life cycle management approach to the design of large-scale resorts
Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, United States of America
The Walt Disney Company has been dedicated to understanding and reducing its environmental impacts for years. As a large and complex corporation, quantifying and understanding the most beneficial and cost-effective ways to reduce these impacts can be a challenge. Life cycle costing (LCC) has already played an important role in the evaluation of design decisions at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI). Recently, WDI has started to incorporate environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) alongside existing LCC efforts to move towards life cycle management (LCM). In order to be a practical tool for large-scale developments, LCM must be scalable and effective at a wide level of detail.
Evaluating the large footprint of a major resort is highly complex and involves a wide variety of components and processes, at a scale shared by small to mid size cities and communities. A detailed assessment would require an intimate understanding of thousands of suppliers’ processes and product footprints, but such data for analysis at a high level of detail is often not readily available. To date, we have used a combination of Economic Input-Output models, published data, off-the-shelf LCA software and sensitivity models to make evaluations and validate assumptions. To deliver a sustainable design for a new Disney resort, our research is focused on determining what level of detail and scope will be sufficient to support design decisions on this scale, without expending more resources than necessary.
Furthermore, the development of internal tools and processes may be necessary to integrate environmental impact information into the design process. Familiarity of sustainability concepts varies widely from casual to in-depth knowledge among disciplines needed to design and build a theme park resort. Providing life cycle information to the broad spectrum of park designers and planners in a useful and understandable format is critical to fully pursuing life cycle management. Integrating these tools into the design process will help establish sustainability as a core consideration in the design of our resorts.
A life cycle stakeholder management framework for enhanced collaboration between stakeholders with competing interests
Brunel Business School, United Kingdom
Implementation of a Life Cycle Sustainability Management strategy in a supply chain can involve significant challenges because of competing or conflicting objectives between stakeholders. These differences may, if not identified and managed, hinder successful adoption of sustainability initiatives.
This article proposes a conceptual framework for Life Cycle Stakeholder Management in the context of the Packaging Industry. The framework identifies the key sustainability stakeholder groups, highlighting the conflict hotspots between these groups, with suggestions on management tools to harness dysfunctional conflict into constructive collaboration. One of the suggested tools, communication, is discussed in greater detail especially the notion of previous research indicating that an ambiguous communications strategy might be particularly effective to create common ground for stakeholders with competing interests. Finally, the application of the framework is illustrated with a case study from the Packaging Industry. This context was chosen because of the multifaceted demands that need to be considered when designing packaging. Requirements of functionality need to be addressed to ensure sufficient protection and preservation of the goods the packaging is intended for. In addition packaging serves as a promotional platform as it is an important tool to attract consumers and to support brand image. Last but not least, because packaging has become a very visible symbol for waste, there is significant pressure for sustainability efforts from various external stakeholder groups. Sustainability initiatives in the Packaging Industry therefore involve significant balancing of conflicting and competing interests of stakeholders. In addition, the Packaging Industry is of particular interest from a Life Cycle Sustainability Management perspective, as decisions on packaging design will not only have an impact on sustainability for the packaging itself but will determine transportation efficiency and waste reduction also for the product it protects. It is therefore paramount to adopt a holistic approach with close collaboration with stakeholders along the supply chain to ensure minimum adverse environmental impact along the life cycle of both product and packaging.
The framework is of practical value as it can be used as a guideline by managers who wish to improve collaboration with stakeholders along the supply chain to optimise sustainability efforts. The article also fills a gap in the academic literature where there is only limited research on stakeholder management and strategic ambiguity in a Life Cycle Sustainability Management context.
A novel graphical method in consequential life cycle assessment for technological policy making
1The University of Tokyo, Japan; 2National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
There is a growing concern of achieving sustainable development in modern society, leading to innovation of a myriad of environmentally-friendly technologies. For effective technological policy making, expected reductions in the environmental interventions induced by these technologies should be assessed from life cycle perspectives. Consequential life cycle assessment (c-LCA) is the approach applicable, however, a systematic method to interpret the consequences of technology implementation based on assumptions on interrelations among technologies is still absent.
In this study, we proposed a novel graphical representation method in c-LCA for technological policy making. The evaluated technologies and their interrelated technologies are sorted in different life cycle stages (i.e. production and utilization). For each of those stages, the minimum and maximum environmental impacts caused by various consequences are visualized as curves over the amount of provided product. The maximum and minimum curves are then summed to show the range of environmental impact across a product life cycle. Because implementation and/or replacement of technologies are not merely driven by environmental factors, the various combinations formed by the selected domain technologies have to be explored. In the proposed methodology, theoretically all of the environmental consequences of the combinations are located in the range encompassed by maximum and minimum curves. Therefore, the consequences of different choice of technologies subject to economic and social constraints can be systematically discussed and analyzed within the identified range.
The applications of this methodology are demonstrated by case studies discussing scenarios of implementing various renewable energy sources and technologies into Taiwanese society. The system-wide environmental impact reduction by technology innovation is explored making it possible to feedback to early stage of technology design or regenerate a more strategic policy.
The proposed methodology visualizes the environmental effects among corresponding technologies. This is especially useful for assessing different scenarios of implementation of technologies under various economical and social circumstances. In this way, stakeholders (ex. technology developers and policy makers) can concentrate on discussions of visions of the future society that lead to different choice of technologies.
Technology as a catalyst for consumer behavioral changes: Socio-psychological impacts of solar photovoltaic systems
Yokohama National University, Japan
The creation of a sustainable society would require revolutionary changes in consumption behavior. Therefore many studies and attempts to address changes of consumers’ behavior have been performed. However no attention has been paid to the role of technology as a catalyst for their behavioral change.
Turning our eyes to the real world, we can observe some interesting phenomena associated with the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. For example, members of households where PV systems have been installed seem to raise concerns about energy and environmental issues and increase electricity-saving behavior. Similarly, students of schools with PV systems installed appear to have not only acquired electricity-saving behavior but become more diligent about keeping the school clean. These phenomena indicate that the existence of PV systems may influence the values and norms of individuals or societies such as households and schools, in terms of energy and the environment.
The objective of the present study is to theoretically and empirically examine a causal mechanism between changes in people’s pro-environmental behavior and the introduction of energy technologies. As the first step, the author analyzes a mechanism of changing people’s consciousness and behavior towards the environment after the installation of PV systems.
The author extensively performed questionnaire surveys in order to elucidate socio-psychological impacts of the introduction of PV systems in various places such as houses, nursery schools and junior high schools. Statistical analyses on the survey data revealed a mechanism of change in people’s pro-environmental behavior. The results concerning households with PV systems show that, in households where the family members are highly aware of their PV systems they tend to increase environmental behavior after installing the PV system. It is also found that an increase in communication about environmental behavior in a family tends to go hand-in-hand with the increase in pro-environmental behavior. The findings suggest that the installation of residential PV systems affects family member’s concern and norms related to energy and the environment, and consequently influences their pro-environmental behavior.
For life cycle management of a technology/product, it is important to consider indirect effects through behavioral changes of people associated with the introduction and use. The present study, which focuses on socio-psychological impacts of energy technology, can contribute to decision-making on strategic technology/product development towards a sustainable society.
The European standard FprEN 15804 for EPD in the construction sector and the application of the modularity principle
Five Winds International, Germany
The purpose of the paper is to communicate the recent outcome of the European standardisation project TC 350 “sustainability of construction works” which in its environmental part is based on LCA. The paper will show how the standard can be applied for any of the many different construction products by large organisations or SME, making use of the modularity principle.
The European standard prEN 15804 provides the rules for declaring a construction product’s environmental performance based on LCA. This declared performance of construction products is one necessary input into the European assessment scheme for sustainable construction (prEN 15978).
A set of 24 indicators mostly derived from LCA is declared, indicating the performance of the product for a sequence of 16 modules. The modules encompass defined unit processes of the product’s life cycle e.g. raw material extraction, manufacture, installation during construction, use, maintenance, repair, waste processing, deposition, recycling potential etc. The modules are defined by system boundaries within the product system. The system boundary of the construction product system is congruent with the system boundary of the building in which the product has its function. Rules how to assign processes to the modules and how to allocate the material flows are given. The modules are calculated as independent entities and can be combined in different ways when the standard rules are followed and the results are verified to be consistent. The paper will explain the standard and its applications including the standardisation work for data quality and communication.
The set of rules given in this standard comply with the relevant European directives in the construction sector, such as the EPBD or the Waste Directive. An LCA conducted along those rules and declared in an EPD may therefore provide compliant information e.g. in the upcoming Construction product’s regulation. The modular approach simplifies the LCA models for similar products, thus enabling associations to provide calculation tools for their SME members when they want to declare the performance of their product. Examples will be given in the full paper.