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ALCAS President's Report - Sept '17

September 4, 2017

The Australian LCA Society has a proud history and a far-reaching impact and influence across all sectors and levels of governments in Australian economy. Going on 16 years, we have most recently seen an increase of LCA in decision-making and benchmarking. We often look overseas and sometimes wish we could do even more, but I would argue we have an impressive body of work to be proud of, and momentum to build on going forward:

  • Bi-annual conference on life cycle management and LCA. The next one will be the 10th conference. The main regional conference is the key event for national and international students, practitioners and stakeholders to come together. In-between, ALCAS provides a range of specialized conferences, seminars, webinars and roundtables.

  • ALCAS Certified Practitioner scheme in collaboration with our New Zealand and US colleagues has certified 11 practitioners in two years, including an option for executive certification. The certification is used as evidence for qualified professionals by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

  • AusLCI developed by ALCAS is the irrefutable main source of life cycle data for Australia. It has grown significantly since its official launch in 2011. The database is a trusted source of primary life cycle data for electricity generation, fuels, transport, waste treatment, water, agricultural production and materials.

  • Environmental Product Declarations have entered the Australian market in earnest in the last two years. There are now 38 Australian EPDs published by 16 companies published at the International EPD System’s website, delivered through the Australasian EPD Programme, and more through Global GreenTag. EPDs are revolutionising how LCA is used in design, decision-making and procurement. EPDs are widely adopted in green rating tools such as Green Star, the Infrastructure Sustainability rating tool, and by organisations seeking transparency and in-depth information on major capital investments, such as a transport authority placing requirements on trains.

  • Methodology development: our best practice guidelines collects the best knowledge and thinking of experts, and is widely referenced and used.

  • International collaboration: ALCAS is contributing with leading initiatives internationally, including ecoinvent, the International EPD System, the US Certified Practitioner scheme, and we are a member of the Life Cycle Initiative.

These impressive achievements and positive progress are the fruits of the passion, dedication and hard work by the ALCAS board and members.

 

Moving forward, my ambition is to mobilise to make ALCAS even more relevant for its current and future members. I think we can play a more prominent role in the public debate, where sustainability and environment concerns can benefit from a scientific and holistic approach. Too often, we see short-sighted perspectives and a glaring lack of scientific method and facts guiding us forward.

 

There is a need for more tools and guidance from ALCAS in the market, such as:

  • better interpretation support for assessments covering multiple impacts, especially how to manage trade-offs through normalisation and weighting,

  • training for practitioners and industry more broadly in how to conduct or review LCAs for specific sector and purposes such as building LCAs for Green Star.

 

ALCAS can also benefits from collaborating with our colleagues specialised in input/output modelling, circular economy, and in emerging challenges such as addressing modern slavery in supply chains.

 

ALCAS is a great community, and I am convinced we have a bright future and that we will see a growing interest in getting involved, and using the resources and guidance provided by our expert community.

 

Looking forward to the year ahead,

Jonas

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