This month we profile Andrew Moore who recently became the latest ALCAS Certified LCA Practitioner.
Andrew’s upbringing on a semi-rural property, surrounded by nature, ensured that he understood the need to look after the world we’ve been given from a very young age.
After studying Botany and Geography GIS), he spent a decade working with various state government environment agencies. Discovering that saving the environment was more complex than he had ever imagined, he temporarily switched countries and industries: working in telecommunications in the UK.
But the call of the environment prevailed and Andrew returned to Australia to do a Masters in Renewable Energy. He spent 6-years with thinkstep before striking out on his own with Life Cycle Logic, a consultancy helping companies to improve sustainability outcomes using a life cycle approach.
Where & why did you first become involved with LCA?
When I was studying for my Masters one of my professors asked the question, “Does it take more energy to make a solar panel than it will ever produce?” That flabbergasted me. Here I was studying renewable energy in an attempt to save the environment, yet this question suggested it might all be for nothing. I made this question the subject of my Masters thesis. In the end life cycle assessment proved it wasn't all for nothing: the embodied energy of solar was shown to be but a fraction of what the solar could produce over its lifetime. This big picture approach to tackling sustainability just made so much sense, and I have never looked back.
How are you using LCA today?
I use LCA to help organisations improve their sustainability by using life cycle assessment to provide the big picture. Too often well-meaning organisations take steps to improve sustainability and environmental outcomes in a very ad hoc manner. These ad hoc decisions often don’t end up adding up to very much. With an LCA approach we start with the big picture first. That enables businesses to target the actions that will have the greatest effect.
What made you decide to become an ALCAS Certified LCA Practitioner?
I’ve been involved with ALCAS for quite a few years. I’m on the Professional Development Committee and the Database Development Committee and until recently I was on the ALCAS Board. I also Chair the Australasian EPD Technical Advisory Group. So I’m a big believer in the industry organisations that are advancing the cause of LCA in this part of the world. I have long advocated for industry certification so that we can ensure prospective clients can access well-trained LCA experts. Otherwise we risk the reputation of the entire industry.
How did you find the certification exam?
It was grueling! There were 387 questions, which had to be answered in 3 hours with absolutely no supporting material. Out of all the exams I’ve ever done this was definitely the hardest.
But that’s a good thing. The exam has to be tough to ensure that the certification is reserved for only those with genuine expertise.
What do you predict will be the future of LCA in Australia?
In my view LCA has been in its infancy for the last twenty years and it is only now really starting to come into its own. When you see things like the Green Building Council adopting LCA practices or the development of tools like eToolLCD that will make LCA easier and faster – that’s when you know that LCA is really starting to become embedded in how we tackle sustainability issues now and in the future.