WE.1.B || SDG as a Basis for Sustainability Assessments of Products and Companies

Harmens, Rosan

Two approaches for linking LCA and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) are developed with support from the UNEP Life Cycle Initiative and a number of companies. The main structures of the approaches, and a large part of the SDG linkages are ready, and have been tested in case studies with the industry partners. This presentation focusses on the main learnings from the case studies. Within the project, that is still running, a qualitative mapping of social and environmental impact categories with the targets and indicators of the SDGs is investigated. This mapping makes it possible to determine whether or not a company contributes to each of the SDGs on the basis of their environmental and social LCA results. In addition, a comprehensive quantitative impact pathway framework is developed that looks at the endpoint sustainable wellbeing, and integrates the SDG indicators. This allows companies to calculate how much their product contributes to the SDGs and to overall sustainable wellbeing. This development responds to the need of companies that recognize the need and responsibility to contribute to achieving the SDG’s, and to report and monitor their contribution. A key challenge is that the 17 SDGs, consisting of 169 targets and 230 indicators, were developed with governments and policy makers in mind, not companies. This has led to companies that struggle with measuring their contribution and progress to the SDG’s. However, many companies are using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to measure and monitor their progress in terms of environmental and social impacts. By linking the SDG’s to LCA, the project aims at making the SDG’s more relevant for companies.