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Define Environmental assessments

Used to describe the procedure that ensures that the environmental implications of decisions are taken into account before decisions are made

Ex: the way an airport should be built, is it more environmental beneficial to build new runway in Heathrow or gatwick?

(One of them is LCA)


What can you explain by the phrase "it's all about the life cycle"?

1. the impact of products and services is key to the decision making process ( cradle to grave)

2. The whole lifecycle of products and services is considered

3. it's about going beyond manufacturing and traditional production to think of the impact a product has on its entire life cycle

- life cycle thinking: it is a perspective that you adopt, you see beyond immediate impacts to further down stream of supplier chain and upstream supply chain in order to account for all the impacts you ,any possible be causing. "System wide view"


What are the different variants of life cycles?

1.Cradle-to-grave: (second most complete) from resource extraction to consumption a disposal phase

2. Cradle-to-Cradle (most complete) end life of a product becomes a resource input into supply chain (closed loop)

3. Cradle-to-gate:(last most complete)from resource extraction to the factory gate, before product is transported to consumer

4. Well-to-wheel: fuel extraction of oil to the consumption of fuel in terms of filling up a vehicle ( specifically for cars and fuel)


What are the frameworks and guidelines of LCA?( 4 different stages)

- established by the international standard organization (ISO)
- different standards: particular one is ISO 1400 series (1404: relates to general framework and 14044

General framework: all independent of each other however output of one feeds into another.

1. Goal and scope definition:
- identify goal
- state functional units (compare on fair basis)
- draw system boundary to see the inputs impact

2. lifecycle inventory:(most challenging and most important)
- collection of data for all inputs
- data base of lifecycle inventory (ecoinvent)

3. Impact assessment:
- need to choose impact category (eg:climate change)
- impact of chosen category is then calculated as the product sum of the quantities of all materials and the impact intensities of indicator and material

4. LCA interpretation:
- what do the numbers actually mean? What actions need to be taken?


What are the critical assumptions about the LCA framework?

1. Location: is the data you are using from a different country compared to what you are looking at?

2. What is the mode of transportation? Due to different emission intensities

3. Equipment efficiency: old/new ethnological plant? Affects the use

4. Level of aggregation of data


What is life cycle?

- it is a complete set of activities associated with the production and consumption of a product or service. ( raw materials beyond the use phase of the product)


Define life cycle assessment?

It is a tool for assessing the environment impact of a product or service from cradle to grave.

It can be extended back to cradle when you consider the end of life use.


What do we account for in LCA?

- compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle.

It's like a black box (tool): we have to account for all the inputs, the inputs that causes the impacts are all the resources (raw material and energy) and then the output is the waste and emissions. These are associated with production of a product or a system.


What are the drivers of LCA?

- consumers
- the need for corporate social responsibility
-green supply chain regulations


What is the importance of LCA?

It can be used to design a product or process.
- decision making: Things that can be implemented in the design phase of a product to determine how efficient raw materials are used. it is one of the components of sustainability management when it comes to the Resources oriented view (rational view) : can be used to inform decision making, to identify alternative process or raw material with lower impact in design phase of a product.

- communication: Can also be used to communicate how environmental friendly a product is.Used to benchmark product against similar ones

-learning and exploring: Determine the environmental hotspots , map out all the entire life cycle of a particular product you can identify some,specific outputs and processes within the lifecycle with the most impact and can therefore be focused on.