Title: Normalisation factors for Product Environmental Footprint: challenges towards robust inventories of emission and resources
Citation: 20th SETAC Europe LCA Case Study Symposium - LCA in promoting eco-innovation and sustainability: education, research and application
Publisher: SETAC Europe
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC91744
ISSN: 2310-3191
URI: http://meetings.setac.org/frontend.php/session/listForPublic
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Normalisation is an optional step of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that can help appraising the magnitude of a certain impact category relative to that of a reference system. In order to develop normalisation factors for Europe, data on emission into air, water and soil as well on resource use has been collected. An ‘apparent consumption’ perspective in accounting had been adopted by adding impacts occurring within domestic boundaries, adding impacts associated to imported products and subtracting impacts associated to exports, consistently with a ‘footprint’ perspective. The purpose of this set of indicators is to tracking the overall environmental impact of the European Union (limited to EU27) and ultimately of each Member State (of the EU27), while taking into account also the burdens associated with trade. A set of LCA-based indicators of environmental impacts had been developed at country scale for the EU27 member states for the year 2010 integrating data available from monitoring efforts with extrapolation strategies for filling data gaps. In fact, the ‘domestic’ inventory of environmental interventions had been developed by making use of existing national statistics and through estimation techniques, whereas the ‘trade’ inventory, composed of both import and export, had been estimated through bottom-up modeling of life cycle inventories of representative products on the basis of a commercial software (Ecoinvent 3.0). The impact assessment had been done by applying the set of 15 (+1) impact categories and underlying indicators of environmental impact as recommended in the ILCD and then consistent with the LCIA methods used within the Product Environmental Footprint. The current set of normalisation factors is significantly more complete compared to previous normalisation exercise. Nonetheless, high uncertainty characterize some impact categories more than others because of the underlying data sources and modeling. Further on, the role of trade is highly variable across impact categories, however in its current formulation it is considered as a prototypal assessment needing additional refinements. The presentation will illustrate the results, discussing challenges and uncertainties.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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