Towards prospective sustainability life cycle assessment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a well-established tool for measuring environmental effects of existing technology. While the most recent LCA research has focused on environmental impacts, in particular on the effects of climate change, there is growing interest in how LCA can be used prospectively. A 2019 workshop in Duluth, Minnesota sought to define the needs and priorities of prospective life cycle assessment from a perspective that considers diverse viewpoints. In that workshop, participants outlined frameworks for how sustainability impacts might figure into a prospective LCA tool focused on assessing technologies currently under development. Those frameworks included social and economic impacts, which were characterized alongside environmental impacts, with the goal of predicting potential impacts and developing recommendations for improving technologies. Cultural perspective, in particular the roots of the German circular economy, was explored and held up as a reminder that different communities are influenced by different sustainability concerns, leading to diverse policy and cultural prerogatives. The purpose of this paper is to catalyze conversation about how to frame methodologies of existing LCA tools that could be used in a prospective sustainability context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication25th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference (DFMLC)
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791883952
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
EventASME 2020 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 17 2020Aug 19 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume6

Conference

ConferenceASME 2020 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2020
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/17/208/19/20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment for project funding. Project No. MF-0013-18.

Keywords

  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Nonmarket valuation
  • Prospective LCA
  • Social impacts
  • Sustainability

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