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Applied Life Cycle Thinking for Sustainable Value Chains

In order to face current sustainability challenges on e.g. climate and resource issues, companies, authorities and other actors need to develop their abilities to contribute to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of products and services over the whole “life cycle”, from raw material extraction, production, use, to end of life.

Applied life cycle thinking (LCT) for sustainable value chains demands new relationships and collaborations in order to enable change, e.g. in the transition towards a more circular economy. Within the area of LCT, RISE offers competence in the areas of research, knowledge building, tools and strategies to help organizations to collaborate with suppliers, producers, customers and other actors with the aim of more sustainable value chains. As such, we support the development of innovative solutions that benefit sustainable development as well as the competitiveness of companies. In order to assist internal and external processes, RISE can support companies in collaborating with stakeholders, facilitate dialogue and anchor processes. RISE also offers educations. 

Visulisering av LCM

Governance, Management and Organization 

LCM entails different forms of governance, management and organization of companies and their value chains with the aim of increased sustainability. This can entail work e.g. related to strategy development, organization, and decision support, as well as analysis, procurement and communication. LCT is now also a demand within ISO 14001. Here, RISE can help with different approaches, such as business model development, decision support, supply chain management or demands on supply chains actors, environmental communication, development of indicators, environmental management systems etc. 

Analysis and Decision-Making Processes 

The ability to execute and make use of sustainability analyses and data becomes more and more important in both industry and in the public sector, as a basis of increased ability for innovation and competitiveness as well as new business models and forms of collaboration. 

LCT and LCM often make use of e.g. 

  • Life cycle assessment (LCA),  

  • Life cycle costing (LCC), and  

  • Social LCA (S-LCA)  

Many organizations have knowledge of, or have conducted, a LCA on a product or service. But it can be difficult to implement knowledge of this type of analysis in the daily operations. Here, RISE can support in overcoming barriers and make use of drivers within an organization or help to develop a concrete action plan. We also conduct research in the area of decision support, and how companies can act on life cycle information, e.g. from LCAs. 

To conduct a full-scale LCA is however not a requirement for working with changes in the company value chain. A good starting point is to take a comprehensive perspective on products and services and to hold a will to implement changes that will improve the overall environmental performance of the system. 

More information

Link to related training courses at the Swedish Life Cycle Centre (SLC)

Emma Rex

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