Title: Consensus building results on the new scarcity indicator from WULCA
Publisher: SETAC Europe
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC93238
ISSN: 2309-8031
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC93238
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has served as a decision-support tool to help reduce environmental impacts for a few decades already. Recently, the methodology has been used to assess impacts related to water and group them in a new water footprint concept, now framed in ISO 14046:2014 (ISO, 2014). While this document provides principles, requirements and guidelines, no specific impact assessment method is recommended ,although several have emerged in the past 5 years to assess impacts from water use (Kounina et al. 2013). The need for consensus-developed and recommended methods is clear and the challenge was undertaken by the Water Use in LCA (WULCA) working group, founded under UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative in 2007. Including method developers and experts from the fields of LCA, hydrology, ecology, etc., the group is developing consensus-based indicators to assess impacts from water use, which can be used to comply with the requirements of the ISO document. This work presents the progress of the working group on the consensus method development and provide first applicable characterization factors for water use. Materials and methods WULCA commenced a new two-year activity in January 2014 aiming at developing consensus-based indicator(s) for water use impact assessment. The first steps defined a framework (based on previous WULCA deliverable (Bayart et al. 2010; Kounina et al. 2013)) and led to the identification of the three sets of indicators on which to focus: 1) The impact pathway leading to damages on human health is already modeled by different methods and ready for harmonization (Boulay et al. 2014). Hence it was included in the work and a consensus-based methodology defining this impact pathway is under development. 2) The ecosystem impact pathway includes several methodologies with possible complementary assessments (Kounina et al. 2013). A sub-group was formed to harmonize the different impact pathways in this category, by defining a consistent framework and possibly identifying a midpoint indicator early in the impact pathway, with the goal of developing a complete and consistent framework. 3) Answering the demand from industry for a generic (not human- or ecosystem-oriented) and recommended stress/scarcity indicator, a specific sub-group focused its efforts on the development of such a metric. It was set out as an indicator independent of other impact pathways and not leading directly to any endpoint damages. This paper is presented by the sub-working group focusing on this last stress-based midpoint indicator and presents results of the findings to date.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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