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Improved communication of environmental impacts

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a widely used environmental assessment tool, with the ability to cover the whole life cycle of products and services, and for assessing different types of environmental impacts. The aim of this project is to improve the communication of LCA results since the information extracted from LCA is difficult to understand.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a widely used environmental assessment tool, due to its ability to cover the whole life cycle of products and services, and for assessing several different types of environmental impacts (e.g. climate change, acidification, and eutrophication). Nevertheless, the explanation, or interpretation, of LCA results, is often abstract, limited or even missing.

That the climate impact of driving 1 km with a car can amount to 120 g CO2-eq is comprehensible to many. However, other products and associated categories of environmental impact can impose more challenges, and can be considered more intangible. For example, stating that the photochemical ozone creation potential of the production of 1 m3 of concrete is 0.04 kg C2H4-equivalents can be more confusing than helpful to non-LCA practitioners (and even for LCA practitioners).

The aim of this project is thus to improve the decision support and communication of LCA results. The objectives of this project can therefore be summarized as follows:

  • Identify and evaluate approaches for interpreting LCA impact category results.
  • Provide guidance on improved LCA result interpretation. 

To review, and generalize, on communication and interpretation of LCA results, the study will focus on certain products manufactured in Sweden, from for example the chemical, forest, furniture and automotive industry. At the core of the project are the environmental impact categories climate change, acidification, eutrophication, and photochemical ozone creation potential (central to the Swedish environmental goals). 


Summary

Project name

Communication of LCA

Status

Active

RISE role in project

Project owner, project leader, project members

Project start

Duration

Till 2019-08-01

Total budget

300 000 SEK

Partner

Michael Martin, researcher IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Funders

ÅForsk

Project members

Frida Røyne

Contact person

Frida Røyne

Forskare

+46 10 516 65 80
frida.royne@ri.se

Read more about Frida