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Communicating LCA the focus at LCM2019

LCM 2019 is the premier international event on the LCA and life cycle management calendar. With 450 people and 7 parallel sessions over three days, the event covered everything from a wide range of sectors and activities.

While there were some sessions on the science of LCA, the main focus of LCM was on how to communicate the results of LCA and how to make them relevant for companies and decision makers. To this end LCA and its application to the circular economy, the role of marine litter to environmental damage, and the links of LCA and Social LCA to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were extensively covered in multiple sessions.

On the circular economy three were three presentation using circularity index of product systems and comparing these results to LCA. They showed there are a range of circumstances where there is good alignment between LCA results and the CE Index and many where they gave opposing results. The takeout from these sessions was that decision-making LCA is still required, even when using the CE index.

There were presentations on social LCA, including and update to the life cycle initiative guidance document from 2009 which is currently in progress. The guidelines have expanded the scope of Social LCA to include topics such as sexual harassment and now propose to include “children” as a key stakeholder.

Two presentations were held on Linking the UN SDGs to life cycle impact pathways which shows how traditional LCA and social LCA indicators can be used to report on SDGs, an alternate approach which states the SGGs and their indicators and build an analysis framework based on LCA and Social LCA.

Work was presented by different groups on marine litter impacts. We heard about on the ground experience on material dynamics in different environments and discussed methods being proposed in the interim, while environmental fate models are lacking.

There was also an awards ceremony held by the Life Cycle Academy for excellence in LCA publications. Three Australian papers were nominated with two led by Brad Ridout and one led by Maartje Sevenster. Full details here.

The next LCM conference will be held in Stuttgart in Germany in September 2021.

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