Title: Towards a research agenda for the use of LCA in the impact assessment of policies
Authors: REALE FRANCESCACINELLI MARCOSALA SERENELLA
Citation: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT vol. 22 no. 9 p. 1477-1481
Publisher: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC106481
ISSN: 0948-3349
URI: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11367-017-1320-0
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC106481
DOI: 10.1007/s11367-017-1320-0
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment are vital elements of sustainability assessment and increasingly mentioned as being essential for informing decisions in a comprehensive and holistic manner in both business and policy contexts (Sala et al. 2013). The European Commission has recently released a Communication on Better regulation (CEC, 2015a) in order to improve the policy making process. The Communication is complemented with a Better Regulation toolbox (CEC, 2015b) which lists models and methods to be used for assessing impacts and benefits of policies, in the so called “policy impact assessment” step. Life Cycle Assessment is listed among the models, aiming at supporting the environmental assessment of impact and benefits associated to different policy options (Sala et al. 2016). Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) may play a relevant role all along the policy cycle, from policy anticipation and problem definition, to policy evaluation. Indeed, the life cycle perspective and the systemic approach to the evaluation of options is a crucial added value. However, when the scope of the assessment changes spans from the product (micro) scale to the system (meso-macro) scale, several improvements are required to benefit the most from the LCA methodology. Suitable frameworks, methods and tools for system analysis are needed to properly develop sustainable policies on e.g. bioeconomy, circular economy, resources efficiency, eco-innovation and sustainable production and consumption. This calls for reflecting upon current and future challenges of the application of LCA within the policy development cycle.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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