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The use of Life-Cycle-Assessments in business decision-making processes and its implications for environmental policy

Objective

The objectives of the network are :

1. To provide a European forum for the dissemination and exchange of scientific and technological knowledge and ideas relating to all aspects of contaminated land arising from industrial activities.
2. To promote coordinated, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research that will enable European manufacturing and processing industry to identify, assess and manage contaminated sites more efficiently and cost effectively.
3. To inform relevant EU and Member State RTD Programme Planners of needs and priorities for future research and to improve the synergy and coordination of research being carried out in EU programmes and other initiatives at the European and Member State levels.


OBJECTIVES :

To make a comprehensive inventory of the role of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) applications and identify the barriers and opportunities which influence the implementation of LCA within business decision making. To examine the links between business decision-making and environmental policy and to analyze the relevance of LCA for European environmental policy.
DESCRIPTION :

The project focuses on :

i) the analysis of the influence of LCAs on business decision-making processes. Here the utilization of LCA in decision-making is explored by a set of 20 case-studies in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. The case-studies include enterprises of different sectors and sizes and aim at highlighting questions such as: how is LCA used in practice, how do other tools influence the process, how is the environmental dimension considered in relation to other aspects such as social and economic, how does LCA influence the distribution of knowledge and information in the companies and how does it fit within different environmental management cultures and structures in the context of decision making? This part is supplemented by a survey on environmental product management among companies in these four countries.

ii) the policy relevance of LCA in a European perspective. Here the project will focus on examining the relationship between the policy expectation of a strengthening of shared responsibility and the experiences gathered in the project work. This task is explored through the examination of the European environmental policy with a specific focus on product-oriented environmental policy and the role of LCA in this as well as in other selected policy areas. The questions in this context concern: are there different application "cultures" wthin the EU, how can the use of LCA be improved considering existing barriers and opportunities, what are the expectations among policy makers as to the role of the principle of shared responsibility and in particular of LCA . The results from these analyses will be examined and discussed in workshops involving industry and policy makers.

The strategic contribution of this project will be the provision of LCA decision support tools for policy makers and business-decision makers, a concretisation of the concept of shared responsibility and a possible improvement of the use of LCA in industry by reducing barriers and enhancing opportunities.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Institut für Ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH
Address
97,Bergheimerstraße
69115 Berlin
Germany

Participants (4)

COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES
Spain
Address
S/n,isla De La Cartuja S/n, World Trade Centre
41092 Sevilla
ISTITUTO DI RICERCHE AMBIENTE ITALIA SRL
Italy
Address
Via Carlo Poerio 39
20129 Milano
Stiftelsen Ekonomiskt Forskningsinstitut vid Handelshoegskolan i Göteborg
Sweden
Address
3,Oevre Fogelbergsgatan
411 28 Göteborg
Ökoscience Beratung AG
Switzerland
Address
31,Quellenstraße
8031 Zürich