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  • Tim Grant and Brad Ridoutt

Call for ideas to update Standards

The two fundamental standards that underpin life cycle assessment (14040 and 14044) have recently undergone a Systematic Review and both have been reconfirmed for a further 5 year period.

However, as many of us know, these standards are becoming outdated and there seems to be a feeling from some member countries around the world that there is need for new developments in standards for LCA.

On the flipside many people remember the difficulty in developing the standards in the first place and effort to get consensus across countries and different practitioners. This has also been evident in the recent development of some of the carbon and water footprint standards.

Nevertheless ISO has asked its member bodies (that’s Standards Australia and its membership organisations including ALCAS) to provide comments on what actions they would like to see in terms of new standardisation projects for LCA.

ALCAS put out a call to members early last month for people wishing to attend a meeting to discuss possible inclusions. While the attendance at the meeting was consummate with what you might expect when discussing a topic like standards (there were two of us!), it doesn’t mean there aren’t some important things that could be put forward for amendment of 14040/44 or additional new standardisation projects.

From my perspective, the most important updates would be to address the definition and roles of attributional and consequential life cycle assessment. There is also a need to address some of the definitions around indicators. Great work has recently been done by the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative in both the global guidance on database development and the recent work on life cycle impact assessment indicators which could help update the ISO standards.

There is also substantial practical development in standards such as EN 15804 and EN 15978 which have become proxy international standards through their broad adoption, but would benefit from being developed as ISO standards.

Got ideas for updates and amendments to ISO 14040 or 14044?

Do we need new and additional standards covering LCA?

Anyone wishing to contribute ideas to the Australian standards mirror should contact Brad Ridoutt before March 15.

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