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Learn from the best - "Best Practice in Applied LCA and Carbon Footprinting" Symposium 2009

Life Cycle Assessment and Carbon Footprinting have moved from the shadows into the limelight; a strategic tool for environmentally leading companies like Apple, Alcan Packaging, Volkswagen, Dassault Solidworks, Evonik, and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen.

 

Experts from these extremely successful companies shared their view on their success factors and expertise at the “Best practice in applied LCA and Carbon Footprinting” Symposium 2009.

 

 

Summary Messages

by Michael Betz, Claudia Meder, Daniel Maier, PE INTERNATIONAL & Jim Fava, Five Winds International

 

 

What a day was had on 28 October 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany. Over 200 professionals from throughout Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Latin America participated in what was one of the best interactions to learn on applying life cycle assessment and carbon foot printing.


Twenty years of LCA and GaBi Software

Twenty years ago, Dr.  Peter Eyerer, then director of the LBP – University of Stuttgart – initiated a program entitled life cycle engineering, which lead to the creation of one of the best, if not the leading LCA software GaBi, its extensive global life cycle inventory data base, and the generation of hundreds of life cycle professionals entering the workforce.


LCA - to understand the impact of products

During a similar timeframe, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) was embarking on their efforts to establish the technical framework for life cycle assessment, which laid the foundation for the ISO LCA standards and ultimately the partnership between UNEP and SETAC with the life cycle initiative to advance the practical life cycle approaches globally. The junior author was instrumental in moving this latter expansion of the development and application of LCA over this period. Collectedly these efforts have shaped the future of life cycle assessment moving towards a practical tool to understand the impacts of product systems over their entire life cycle.

 

sustainable buildings, greener products, carbon footprints..

Until recently the focus on environmental issues was often on the manufacturing facilities; now with the globally accepted importance of understanding the full life cycle impacts of products linked to more sustainable buildings, greener products by retailers and consumers, and critical need to reduce our carbon releases, tools like life cycle assessment are in demand.

Key learning’s

This important forum provided an in-depth examination of several key learning’s:  

 

 

There is proven experience in conducting LCA and carbon footprint studies – we have now 20 years with IKP, PE and others, ISO LCA standards exist, and we are also moving towards carbon and water standards with groups like WRI/WBCSD and ISO. Software, databases and simpler user friendly tools (what if tools) are surfacing and becoming more common within companies – e.g., VW’s experience to reduce the time to complete assessments from originally 150 days to 30 days to 3 hours in certain applications; Alcan Packaging’s ASSET tool and other industrial design support tools (e.g. SolidWorks). There was a call for a continual need for updated, reliable data and user friendly software.

 

We will continue to improve our tool box, including LCA tools – e.g., land use, water use; and we will also go beyond LCA tools to include complementary tools like life cycle costing, eco-efficiency, social – moving towards life cycle sustainability assessment.

 

There is increasing interest in applying the results to provide additional information to inform decision making – within the private sectors users/buyers, e.g., fleet managers, retailers, building and construction architects and engineers, and greener electricity providers are using or talking about using LCA; and within the government sector, the enormous buying power of governments; and the creation of stimulus packages (percent greener technologies being used) are examples of this increasing application.  

 

Ability to communicate with the downstream market place and application of a proven methodology to identify tradeoffs are just two of the proven applications of LCA

  • The results from LCA and CFP studies informs the downstream market place customers on the environmental benefits of products and materials (e.g., EPD, environment certificates, carbon labels)
  • LCA provides a proven methodology to identify intervention points where actions can be taken to reduce footprints and create business value (e.g., reliable and stable recommendations; identification of trade-offs and development of greener products/technologies; full systems – not just packaging)

 

Sustained applications of life cycle approaches requires integration into the company and business units functions

  • Establishment of environmental policy/sustainability officer/councils
  • Integrated of environmental/social factors into business practices – e.g., branding, product development, material selection, procurement
  • Translate technical LCA language into the language of the business
  • Build capacity within the companies to better understand the value of and how to utilize a  life cycle approach

The Symposium - a success

The forum to learn from the best was successful. While we learned a lot, there is obviously much more to be learned particularly in building capacity in both the user of life cycle knowledge and information as will as the practitioners who perform the studies. Our collectedly abilities to be able to communicate to the scientific, business and broader society with stories and explanation that can be understood will be a critical factor in the long term success in taking a life cycle approach towards a more sustainable future for ourselves and our children.


Speaker 2009

Michael Betz

PE INTERNATIONAL

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Eyerer

Fraunhofer ICT

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Sedlbauer

Universität Stuttgart LBP and Fraunhofer IBP

Cem Özdemir

Die Grünen

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Finkbeiner

TU Berlin

Dr.-Ing. Stephan Krinke

Volkswagen

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens Hesselbach

University of Kassel

Dr. Gerald Rebitzer

Alcan Packaging

Henrik Dissing

Confederation of Danish Industries

Erwin Ostermann

Evonik

Rick Chin

DassaultSystèmes Solid Works

Kevin Ramm

Carbon Trust

Ingrid Amon-Tran

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

Participants 2009

AEB

AIGIS S.A. 

Akzo Nobel Surfactants

Alcatel-Lucent

Alcan Packaging

Apple

Aquafin

Audi

BASF

Bay Zoltán Foundation for Applied Research 

Beiersdorf

Bios

BMW

Bolten

Bombardier Transportation

British American Tobacco

Carbon Disclosure Project

CarbonFix

Carbon Trust

CECIMO

Celanese

Continental

Corus

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Daimler

DEKRA

Deutsches Kupferinstitut

DI-Confederation of Danish Industries

Dow Chemical Company

ECN

ECOHZ 

Ecole des Mines d'Alès

Eko

ENEA

enofis

ESCI

European Bioplastics

Evonik

faurecia

FEBE ECOLOGIC 

FEVE - European Container Glass Federation

Ford

Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe 

Fraunhofer IML

Fraunhofer IBP

Fraunhofer ICT

Gazi University

Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie

GUT

Hermann Bantleon

HeidelbergCement

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

HOBAS Engineering

Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz

Husqvarna 

Hydro Building Systems 

Institut for industrial ecology

ITAM

Johnson Controls

KOP

KERP

Knauf Gips

Kraft Foods

Lappeenranta University of Technology 

Man A Frozen Foods

MANN+HUMMEL

Metso

MTT Agrifood Research Finland

Nickel Institute 

Novicor Technology Partners

PAUL HARTMANN

Phillips

PlasticsEurope

Rätia Energie

Renault

Ricardo

Rieter Automotive Management

Robert Bosch

Saft

SAIMS

Salzburg University of Applied Sciences

Schindler Elevator

Shell

Siemens

Solidworks

Sony

SKF 

Sto

Stuttgarter Strassenbahnen

Süleyman Demirel University

Technical University of Berlin

Technical University of Munich

Tetra Pak 

ThyssenKrupp Steel

TÜV Rheinland

Tupperware

Umicore 

Unisource Global Solutions

University of Brussel

University of Colorado

University of Esslingen

University of Hohenheim

University of Kassel

University of Manchester

University of Rome

Universitat Rovira i Virgili 

University of Stuttgart LBP

University of Technology of Troyes

Uzin Utz

VDE - Testing and Certification Institute

Voith Hydro Holding

Voith Turbo

Volkswagen

Wieland-Werke

Würth Solar

Yadava College Madurai

Zen Digital

Zumtobel