Title: Critical Review of the Current Research Needs and Limitations Related to ISO-LCA Practice
Publisher: ENEA - Italian National Agency for New Technologies - Communication Unit
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC48134
ISBN: 88-8286-166-X
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC48134
Type: Books
Abstract: This volume has been produced within CALCAS project, the EU 6th Framework Program Coordination Action for innovation in Life-Cycle Analysis for Sustainability. The partnership includes outstanding research organisations, science promoter, innovation centre, worldwide scientific society: Institute of Environmental Science (CML) of Leiden University, Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Institute for Environment and Sustainability of Joint Research Centre (JRC IES), School of Chemical Engineering Analytical Science, University of Manchester, ARMINES of Ecole Nationale Supèrieure des Mines de Paris, Environmental Policy Research Centre of Freie Universität Berlin, Technical Institute of Lisbon, Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), European Science Foundation, Chemistry Innovation, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). CALCAS is aimed at identifying short- mid- and long-term research lines on life cycle analysis approaches in supporting the sustainability decision making process. Starting point of the project is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standardised by ISO 14040 series: indeed, despite the standardisation process has contributed to its broad acceptance and wide use, there are a number of shortcomings which cannot be resolved through standardisation and which are often considered too restrictive, in particular for meso (e.g. waste treatment, industry sectors, etc.) and macro (e.g. complex technological systems) scale applications, where sustainability problems reside. CALCAS addresses the question which directions the methodology should move to in order to improve reliability, significance and usability of the LCA applications and to perform analyses more suitable for the broader concept of sustainability. This is achieved by crossing the results of analyses both at the science supply (available knowledge, gaps therein and strategies for filling them) and at the demand side (users¿ needs in all public and private domains). The most interesting and feasible options for expanding LCA will be pointed out in terms of definition of the scientific framework and identification of the main research lines towards a New LCA. The present report deals with a review of the scientific literature on ISO-LCA, performed in order to identify present limits and opportunities for LCA, in particular: intrinsic limits of ISOLCA due to assumptions and simplifications; elements in current ISO standards which are not in line with new scientific developments or best practices; new directions for broadening (e.g.: including economic and social aspects, or covering new environmental aspects) and deepening LCA towards the definition of a New LCA (e.g.: including behavioural aspects in the inventory modelling or including more fate and exposure mechanisms in impact assessment).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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