TU.3.D || Life Cycle Innovation to Drive Sustainability and Business Performance

Fava, James; Fava, James; Cowen, Lina; Evers, David; Faludi, Jeremy; Meyer, David; Vigon, Bruce; Zeman, Jeff; Nebel, Barbara; Koehler, Stefanie Koehler; Heiler, Dustin; Heiler, Dustin

Despite the fact that Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) has a history of over 30 years of method development, sound technical underpinnings, and standardization under the ISO scheme, uptake and application of LCA has not achieved full market penetration. Over the past several years it has become apparent that there is a gap between LCA providers and results users. The dimensions of this gap are several. One obvious one is the need to better connect the LCA inventory and impact outputs and users design attributes. A multi-phase project, jointly supported by SETAC, ACLCA, and FSLCI, has been developed to address these and related issues. The initial effort was a short-term pilot study known as a Rapid Prototyping (RP) exercise. Our vision of success is an increased relevancy and demand for LCA results to create positive organizational and societal value through informed and actionable decision making by multiple user communities. Part of the Rapid Prototype project is to identify actions to take to bridge the gap between the LCA provider and user. The enhanced use of LCA results depends on a number of factors being studied. Four observations/results have been identified to date – design attributes and LCA impacts, systematic LCA interpretation stage enhancement, linkage of LCA results to business value and sustainability targets, and the power of storytelling. Systematic interpretation enables on-going communication and connection between the LCA provider and the user. These initial outcomes include both aspects of communicating knowledge to decision-makers rather than raw numbers or data; and improvements in visualization of results as they inform decision criteria, rather than inventory or impact assessment metrics. Results highlight the importance of good LCA scoping, through upfront communication with product development teams (users) to understand their opportunities and constraints, voice of customer, pain points, and the associated business imperatives.