Regions: LCM in the Regions
Time: Tuesday, 30/Aug/2011: 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Session Chair: Nydia Suppen
Session Chair: Harro von Blottnitz
Location: Room 2
1st floor


Sustainable resource management (SRM) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region

Sonia Valdivia1, Elisa Tonda2

1UNEP DTIE, France; 2PNUMA ROLAC, Panama

The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is a major source of renewable and non-renewable resources for the world market. This region is rich in minerals reserves. Water quality problems are common to the whole region. The LAC region includes 23 % of the world’s potential arable land. As such, improving resource management in the region promises to have important benefits for the inhabitants of LAC. The present paper introduces the 2-year project "Strengthening National Capacities for Sustainable Resource Management (SRM)" (GESRE, for its Spanish abbreviation) which has the aim to strengthen capabilities on SRM and promote SRM practices in the LAC region.

The project started in 2010 and is being implemented by UNEP. The focus of the SRM project includes actions and organizations within a system that help facilitate the use and continuous provision of natural resources in order to cover the needs of the present without compromising the capacity of the future generations of covering its own needs. It is about an integrated approach for resource management. Therefore, SRM avoids the transfer of impacts of a productive chain to another, of a category of impact to another, and from one region to another.

As a result of the implementation of this project during the 1st year, the launch event, two stakeholder consultations and two training events took place in 2010 which also provided substantial input to finalize the report on "Critical Resources Evaluation Report in LAC region". The report identifies six critical resources which relate to the following sectors: Agricultural land (agro-industry), wood (forestry), landscape (tourism), metals (mining), fisheries (fishing), water (all sectors). Next steps are the implementation of two national SRM pilot projects. Outcomes expected at the end of the project are

• Established networks on SRM of public officials and relevant stakeholders.

• National action plans launched and opportunities identified for SRM in the LAC region.

• A knowledge management system including training materials on the critical natural resources identified by the region.

Life cycle inventories of the Latin-American electricity production systems

Claudia Pena1, Claudio Zaror2, Alejandro P. Arena3, Cassia Ugaya4, Isabel Quispe5, Nydia Suppen6, Sonia Valdivia7

1Research Center for Mining and Metallurgy, Chile; 2University of Concepción, Chile; 3National Technological University, Argentina; 4Federal Technological University of Paraná, Brazil; 5Catholic University of Peru, Peru; 6Center of LCA and Sustainable Design, Mexico; 7UNEP DTIE, France

The goal of this project was to enhance the use of the life cycle approach within the Latin-American Region. It was focused on capacity building for developing Regional Life Cycle Inventories. The project was developed by researchers belonging to the LCA community in cooperation with UNEP, and Governmental representatives and statistic offices providing the data. More precisely, this project aimed at building home-grown expertise, including capacity for South-South cooperation, environmental leadership, and also at supporting the use of science-based approaches and evidence-based decision-making in mainstreaming environment in government policies in each of the countries participating in the project. It is worthwhile to mention that this project has not finalized yet and, therefore, the application of the results is not visible yet. The critical review process is still to be done, but it must be accomplished by next June. The project started with the establishment of general rules for harmonization of sound and comprehensive life cycle inventory data and information. These rules were applied to the field of electricity production, transmission and distribution. This productive sector was chosen due to the fact that it is a common and necessary key input to all economic activities. Results: A quality guideline was developed for the project, based on the one used to build the national Brazilian LCI. Four different LCI were built in ecospold format, based on information collected in four different countries, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru, which cover the hydroelectric and thermoelectric generation processes, and the transmission and distribution systems. Lack of LCA acknowledge in the industrial and public sectors, and difficulties to find reliable public data and information, arise as the major problems in most of the participating countries, even though the electric sector is more incline than other sectors in providing the public with more and more information regarding its emissions and compliances. The capacity building process and differences between the countries in terms of structure, technology, environmental regulations, among other factors, made the used of a common and detailed quality guideline very difficult to be applied. Thus, capacity building process on LCA in emerging regions seems better to be conducted on a step-by-step basis, which must consider the development of a simpler approach to build generic prototype models that can undergo later a continuous improving process. Data consistency and harmonization appears to be two of the major issues that must be specifically addressed in a Regional quality guideline.

Application of life cycle assessment in service industries: A review

Sabrina Rodrigues Sousa, Aldo Roberto Ometto

University of São Paulo, Brazil

In recent decades, special attention has been given to minimize use of natural resources, as well as for reducing waste generation, without incurring economic losses. One of the strategies for sustainable consumption and production highlighted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is dematerialization, which focuses on needs and functionality rather than the product alone, on tracking the materials and energy flows in industrial and consumption processes and on increasing the resource productivity. The introduction of services in the economy adds value in an intangible way while promotes dematerialization. As products, services are developed to fulfill customers’ needs but, despite of their non-physical attributes, they may also give rise to, direct and indirect, environmental impacts. One common factor is that, in most cases, the environmental loads of service companies are not produced at the actual site of activity (indirect impacts), that give us an idea of a clean industry. And more, although they produce immaterial products, they very often supply material goods or use them in the course of their operations. So, investigations concerning the environmental contribution of services is quite important to unveil their actual performance. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as established by ISO 14040 and 14044 standards, is a technique developed to assess the environmental profile of product (good) and service systems considering its life cycle. Thus, this paper aims to understand how services are being studied using LCA methodology, demonstrating their significance in a environmental standpoint. This literature review focused on goals, functional unit, system boundaries and impact assessment. The articles found cover case studies in the service sectors of transport and mobility, food, building and infrastructure, waste management, telecommunication and media, energy and tourism, and were published between 2000 and 2011, with the highest incidence of studies in Europe. There was no research done by Latin American and African authors registered. We hope, with this paper, to stimulate the accomplishment of this kind of evaluating in South American countries, specifically in Brazil, where service sector is responsible for 57% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Establishing a data framework for Life Cycle Management in India

Gregor Wernet1, Matthias Stucki1, Megha Shenoy2, N Muthusezhiyan3

1Ecoinvent Centre, Switzerland; 2Resource Optimization Initiative (ROI), India; 3Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, India

In an increasingly globalised world, international trade is one of the major growth factors in developing and transition countries. Such countries are acting more and more as suppliers of commodities for developed countries. There is a growing demand for sustainability assessments and life cycle management of produc-tion processes in these countries, both internally and from the customers in developed countries. Therefore, the need for background data on industrial processes is high.

The ecoinvent centre has initiated a program to support local Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) initiatives in develop-ing and transition countries. One such partner is the Indian LCI Initiative. This initiative recently formed and is, in cooperation with ecoinvent, working on creating an Indian LCI background database to support the awareness and use of LCA and LCM in India. Interest in LCM in India is very high but few experts exist. To fa-cilitate the development of the Indian LCI database, we have held stakeholder workshops in Switzerland and India and analyzed supply-use tables of India to determine critical industry sectors and products, which are priorities for LCI collection. We also established methods to use existing ecoinvent data as a preliminary proxy to fill gaps in Indian data and supply chains. A global market model allows automatic modelling of In-dian processes with global background data as long as local data are missing. The presentation demonstrates some of the differences of life cycles in India compared to established production chains in Europe using re-sults of LCI collection efforts. One example is the common occurrence of cottage-scale industries, which can be the dominant production route for many processes (e.g. reeling of silk fibres, etc.). Several policies and schemes to train and financially subsidize operations of such industries have lead to large scale employment in rural and semi-urban regions in India. These industries are vastly different from the large industrial plants observed in Europe and have different environmental and social impact profiles.

There is a growing demand for LCM in both India and the countries it exports goods to. A lack of background process data hinders the use of LCA and LCM in India and may create trade barriers for Indian goods in de-veloped countries that demand proof of sustainable productions. A strong data foundation is therefore a vi-tal step towards the better use of life cycle approaches in India. We highlight results, experiences and prob-lems of collecting LCI data in an emerging economy.

Life-cycle based sustainability assessment as decision support for an Integrated Water Resources Management in an Indonesian karst region

Annekatrin Lehmann1,2, Matthias Finkbeiner1, Helmut Lehn2, Jürgen Kopfmüller2

1Technische Universitaet Berlin, Germany; 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

The Integrated Water Resources Management Project (IWRM) in Indonesia framing the work presented here, aims at improving the living conditions in Gunung Kidul, currently one of Indonesia’s poorest regions. For this, appropriate technologies for water supply, -distribution, -treatment and waste water treatment/disposal will be analyzed and implemented in this project taking into account socio-economic impacts, vulnerability aspects and sustainability criteria. Sustainability Assessment is conducted using the approach of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) and the Integrative Sustainability Concept of the German Helmholtz-Association.

LCSA is used for analyzing and assessing alternative technologies. Many challenges occur in conducting an LCSA: 1) practically, due to a lack of valid specific data and the fact that some technological alternatives considered are still in a developing phase; 2) methodologically, due to the novelty of the LCSA-approach, especially regarding the integration of social aspects, and 3) regionally, due to the particular stakeholder interests and needs in this developing region in Indonesia. To date, only few case studies exist for such LCSA applications and none which focuses on technologies. Within the IWRM-project this approach is applied to serve as an additional decision support tool within the project but also to support the suitable expansion of technologies to regions in the world with similar problems.

Future scenarios for waste management in Kumasi, Ghana – a life cycle perspective

Cecilia Sundberg, Emma Wikner, Kristina Dahlman

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Urban growth in developing countries is rapid and largely unplanned. Sanitation, both waste water and solid waste management, is in a poor state, with detrimental effects on human health and the environment. Earlier efforts to adopt conventional piped sewage and wastewater treatment plants have failed, and for the future radically different systems are needed. Various ideas and technologies have been brought forward by innovators and researchers. Waste from excreta and solid waste are potential resources; fertilizer and energy sources, that mayprovide renewable energy for cities and countries in the developing world. In this project, a few development scenarios for solid and liquid waste are described for Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana.

Four scenarios for the future sanitation system in Kumasi, were elaborated. Technologies used include waterborne sanitation, urine diversion, co-composting of faecal sludge and food waste, landfilling, anaerobic digestion and incineration. Solid waste and wastewater were investigated together. As management systems of all wastes and wastewaters are in need of innovative solutions, co-treatment of some fractions may be beneficial, and thus there is good reason to include all wastes of organic origin. A model was set up to describe the mass and energy flows of all scenarios. The model structure is based on the same principles as the ORWARE (organic waste research) model, which has been developed and used to evaluate waste and wastewater management in Sweden.

All scenarios were analysed from a life cycle perspective. Energy consumption and production, nutrient recovery potential, as well as emissions to air and water were quantified. Emissions were categorised in environmental impact categories such as global warming potential. Preliminary results show a large potential to recover nutrients and to decrease the water need for sanitation purposes.

The solid waste management and sanitation systems of all modern cities have developed over several decades, in socio-technical processes where new solutions to upcoming problems have developed over the years. The long life time and high investment costs in water and sanitation infrastructure makes the development highly path-dependent, with the actions of yesterday and today highly restricting the viable options for tomorrow. It is therefore relevant to investigate the consequences of development that is projected to take several decades, even for decisions that are about to be made today.

Global warming implications of construction works in Western Australia

Wahidul Karim Biswas, Michele Rosano

Curtin University, Australia

To date, social and environmental benefits and costs associated with the planning, development, operation and disposal of infrastructure assets have not been a primary focus of the infrastructure industry. The industry has now acknowledged this shortcoming and through the Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC) will lead a new approach to delivering and operating infrastructure through more careful examination of the carbon footprints of their construction activities.

In order to more fully understand the carbon footprints of civil construction works, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis has been undertaken using a “cradle to cradle” approach for a number of civil works, including road/pavement, footpath and retaining wall construction for a new residential area in Western Australia.. This research was funded by a land development company interested in understanding the carbon footprint of a number of their standard and frequently used civil construction works including the building of retaining walls, footpaths and road pavements. This LCA research was carried out for a number of different specifications for a 3 dimensional cross section of a 100m section of civil work, including a road/pavement, footpath and retaining wall, for the entire life cycle of the works to identify the best environmental specification for each of these civil works. The breakdown of the carbon footprints and embodied energy for all inputs and outputs was determined to identify the GHG “hotspots” occurring during the life cycle of the civil works, including manufacturing and transportation of construction materials, construction, use and end of life phases.

Social life cycle assessment of solid waste management in Kathmandu City Nepal

Pradip Gautam

Paracon Consult Private Limited, Nepal

A Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) has been conducted to assess the social components under current SWM practices in Kathmandu (KMC) Nepal. Stakeholders mainly the waste dependent workers, city inhabitants, city dwellers, tourists, Municipality authorities were consulted in order to assess the attributes of human rights, working condition, health and safety, cultural heritage, decision making and socio-economic repercussions associated with the SWM of KMC. Traditionally, waste work has been assigned to the low caste groups living in residential segregation. The discrimination persists even in modern educated Nepali society where it has been declared illegal. Due to misconception, waste pickers are often regarded as beggars and suspected of being thieves. Reusable and recyclables from urban wastes are fulfilling the basic needs of many waste workers. Nearly 80% of their income is spent on food and water. Hundreds of people are directly employed by the KMC but thousands of other informal workers building their regular occupations upon wastes. They are compelled by the cost and scarcity for basic needs and try to retrieve items which are discarded by the better-off society. Most of workers are unskilled and merely educated. They do not use safety mates and suffer from diseases. They are often indebted to scrap dealers who provide cash advances or lend bags and cycles and tri-cycles for collecting recyclables. Waste workers are deprived of same services themselves because they live in slums, ignored by municipality and government. The perception of the waste workers reveals that they are in the lowest of the social order in urban areas where they work. Women and homeless children are most affected among others who are in this type of work. Waste workers particularly girls and woman are sexually abused and children are addicted to the smoking, drinking and drugs. Tributaries of Bagmati River flowing through the City receive wastes on its banks thus affecting the rituals of Hindu devotees.Open burning of wastes, creating the smoke and other hazards. Leachate percolated posing a severe threat of ground water contamination. After having the social debate in SWM decision-making it has been concluded that success of any new initiative for SWM of KMC will largely depend upon more rational and humane processes of decision making that allow for progressive adaptation as social and environmental knowledge grows and people’s need and values change.