What will LCM do for you?
For business, knowing about the environmental effects of the entire production life cycle of products or materials has always made sense but more so now, with resources such as minerals, land, water and energy becoming increasingly scarce, consumer awareness rising and carbon emissions acquiring financial value around the world. Eco-efficient production is a necessity. Corporate social responsibility means taking a share in the responsibility for the entire value chain that you are part of, at the same time creating opportunities for reducing costs and risks for yourself and others. Carbon foot printing and environmental product declarations (EPD) are used commonly in business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) communication. Industrial sectors may gain insight into their overall contribution to climate change (e.g. dairy) or work towards common foot printing rules (e.g. coffee).
For NGO, life-cycle evaluation is a vital tool to address and compare overall impacts. In topics as wide ranging as coal power to mink fur, life-cycle impact assessments have provided input to campaigns. Evaluation of external costs is a powerful means to compare societal costs with benefits in an objective framework.
For government, it is important to include life-cycle effects in environmentally oriented policy to avoid burden shifting across boundaries or to other impact areas. The promotion of renewable energy and resources in climate strategy is a topic that has demonstrated the need for integral assessments to establish actual net emission reduction and to prevent trade-offs between climate change and e.g. biodiversity. Some other policy area's that are increasingly life-cycle oriented are waste, natural resources, electric vehicles and energy-using products. Impact assessment is part of accounting for societal costs of public projects or policies, notably of air pollution. Local governments are striving toward carbon neutral councils and even carbon neutral cities.
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