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InLCA Session IV D - External Reporting & Communication
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Using an LCI Database for Reporting and Communication

Presenter: Ann-Christin Pålsson
(slides in pdf)

Ann-Christin Pålsson
CPM - Chalmers University of Technology
Kapellgangen 5
SE-412 96 Göteborg
Sweden
Phone: +46-31-772 56 46
FAX: +46-31-772 56 49
E-mail: ann-christin.palsson@cpm.chalmers.se

Raul Carlson
CPM - Chalmers University of Technology
Kapellgangen 5
SE-412 96 Göteborg
Sweden
Phone: +46-31-772 21 73
FAX: +46-31-772 56 49
E-mail: raul.carlson@globalspine.com


When establishing the Swedish national life cycle inventory (LCI) database it was required that data should be documented like data reports. The reason was that the database should be used as a communication platform where LCI studies and LCI data should be exchanged between practitioners. To reduce the transaction costs for the data exchange, the communicating parties should not necessarily be in contact with each other. This requires that the data in itself carry its interpretation, in the form of a data report.

The data report contains a description of the technical system and its system boundaries, conditions under which the data was compiled and other relevant information. To enable such data reports to be supplied with the data in a well-structured manner, the data format SPINE is used as reporting, communication and storage format.

The data quality requirements for the database is that the data reports shall be consistent, understandable by someone not familiar with the original acquisition of the data, and that it should be written in a clear language.

To start and secure a stable inflow of data into the database a methodology was developed for efficient data documentation and reporting. Dedicated software was developed and released as freeware, and a documentation manual was published. In addition, courses and supervision was given to the practitioners who should submit data to the database.

Now the Swedish national LCI database holds hundreds of data reports, describing both LCI studies and LCI data, and it has been available to the international public since 1998, via the Internet. It has been visited by thousands of users from all over the world.

The aim through the work with the database has been to develop generally applicable solutions. As a result of this, the national database now stands as model for corporate Intranet data communication and reporting, as well as model for other similar international solutions.

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Comparing Eco-labeling Policies: Experimental Evidence

Presenter: Mario F. Teisl

Mario F. Teisl
Assistant Professor
5782 Winslow Hall
Resource Economics and Policy
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: 207-581-3162
FAX: 207-581-4278
E-mail: Teisl@maine.edu

Huaping Rong

Research Assistant
University of Maine
Orono, ME

Brian Roe

Assistant Professor
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Alan S. Levy

U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Washington, DC


Few studies have attempted to identify the effectiveness of alternative eco-labeling programs. The issue of eco-labeling is important because different labeling regulations may have substantially different environmental and market effects. The research uses experimental methods designed to examine how marketing, environmental labeling and environmental seals of approval may affect consumer choice of electricity products.

Research participants were designated into one of several control or treatment groups. In all groups participants viewed products exhibiting general marketing information. In the control groups, products only exhibited this marketing information, providing a measure of the persuasiveness of this information alone. In some treatment groups participants viewed environmental seals of approval on some or all of the products. Participants in other treatment groups viewed products exhibiting more detailed environmental labels. In some of these latter treatments all of the products displayed the detailed labels, mimicking policy scenarios in which environmental labeling is mandatory. In others treatments, only some of the products feature a label, mimicking policy scenarios in which label disclosure is voluntary.

We asked participants to indicate their choice of products. To determine the effect of the information treatments we estimate discrete choice models for each group. Comparisons are made between treatments by estimating the models for each of the groups singly and pooled; likelihood ratio tests are then performed to determine if the vector of parameter estimates are significantly different across experimental treatments. The results indicate that environmental seals of approval did not alter participants' choice of products. In contrast, more detailed labels did impact participant choice. However, the strength of the latter effect is dependent on whether the labeling program is mandatory or voluntary and the content of the marketing information available to the participant.

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LCA for Environmental Product Information Schemes
Possible Approaches for a Correct Use

Presenter: Paolo Frankl
(slides in pdf)

Paolo Frankl and Lucia Pietroni

Dip.to ITACA, Università di Roma I "La Sapienza"
Rome, Italy
Phone: +39-06-4991.9014
FAX: +39-06-4991.9013
E-mail: frankl@axrma.uniroma1.it

Frieder Rubik

Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung
Institute for Ecological Economy Research
Bergstrasse 7
69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Phone: +49-6221-649160
FAX: +49-6221-27060
E-mail: frieder.rubik@heidelberg.ioew.de

Raffaele Scialdoni

Dip.to Ambiente, ENEA
Lungotevere Thaon di Ravel 76
Rome, Italy
Phone: +39-06-3627.2332
E-mail: scialdoni@sede.enea.it


In the past, especially in Germany, companies have had great expectations about the use of LCA for marketing purposes. However, a recent study analyzing the use of LCA in industry and business in four European countries reveals that the large majority of expectations about the use of LCA for marketing could not be satisfied [Frankl&Rubik 1999]. The reason for this is mainly related to methodological issues, which often render results disputable. Lack of transparency and sometimes unknown origin and quality of data are major issues. Another problem is how to summarize in a simple way for the public the results of a complex study, which always includes important assumptions, and often subjective valuation factors. Unfortunately, there have been several cases of misuse of LCA results in the past.

For the future however, we do not exclude that LCA might be used for marketing. On the contrary, in the long-term, companies may certainly want to develop a tool which is able to provide economically tangible benefits. However, this requires a maximum of transparency and clear rules for simplification procedures, reporting, definition of system boundaries, all kind of assumptions made, impact assessment methodologies, etc. Despite the great progress made within the framework of ISO standards, it is clear that a big effort is still required in this direction.

In the meantime, LCA can certainly be used to inform and influence suppliers and industry clients. As a matter of fact, in several companies LCA is already used to provide generic and extended information to suppliers, customers and stakeholders. Some companies are already using LCA for environmental product declarations (first party ISO-type III).

The goal of this paper is twofold. The first objective is to describe and discuss the current company approaches and uses of LCA for external communication. The second and more important goal is to identify under which conditions LCA might be correctly used for Environmental Product Information Schemes. In particular, we discuss to what extent LCA can contribute to the extension of the experience of eco-labels into the development of effective environmental product information schemes within the framework of Integrated Product Policy, which is currently being developed in the European Union. This is the subject of an on-going research project, which will shortly be presented.

Keywords: Reporting & Communication, Management & Regulatory Issues, Decision-making Approaches

References:

[Frankl&Rubik 1999] "LCA in Industry and Business ­ Adoption Patterns, Applications and Implications ", P. Frankl, & F. Rubik., to be published by Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany, October, 1999.

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Framework for Environmental Decision Making, FRED:
A Tool for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

Presenter: Mary Ann Curran
(slides in pdf)

Mary Ann Curran
U.S. EPA, Systems Analysis Branch
26 W. MLK Dr.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45268
E-mail: curran.maryann@epamail.epa.gov

Rita Schenck
Institute for Environmental Research & Education
E-mail: rita@iere.org


In support of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program of the US EPA, the Systems Analysis Branch has developed a decision-making tool based on life cycle assessment. This tool, the Framework for Responsible Environmental Decision-making or FRED streamlines LCA by choosing a minimum list of impact categories, providing guidance about data sources and data quality requirements, and examples of LCA's performed in this streamlined fashion. The tool also provides models for calculating indicators, while recognizing that other models may be more appropriate for certain studies.

FRED identifies the following impact categories as a minimum list:

FRED also gives guidance on data quality objectives based on the function and usage of the product.

Three pilot projects were undertaken during the development of FRED. Two of these were based on previously collected data made available through the National Institute of Standards and Technology EPP tool called BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability). The third project was a new data collection effort on a road maintenance product produced by a small business.

The outcome of the project indicated that there are significant data gaps in pre-existing databases, which may limit some types of analysis, particularly those relating to land use. On the other hand, it was possible to collect and analyze the data from a small vendor in a reasonable period of time (about four months), using the FRED format. This indicates that it is possible to use a streamlined life cycle approach for environmentally preferable purchasing without unduly burdening even small businesses.

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LCA at the Heart of the EMS:
IERE's Agricultural Community EMS Program

Presenter: Rita C. Schenck
(slides in pdf)

Rita C. Schenck and Deborah Siefert

Institute for Environmental Research and Education
E-mail: rita@iere.org
E-mail: deborah@iere.org


Although LCA has the potential to inform all parts of environmental management, from planning through marketing, few programs explicitly integrate their EMS's on LCA. The Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE) has developed an ISO 14000 plus program that places LCA at its heart.

The program was designed to assist farmer-owned meat processing facilities to produce non-commodity meat carrying a Type III ecolabel. The program is the subject of a U.S. EPA Community XL Project, trading improved environmental performance for expedited permitting.

The program is based on the meatpacking facilities developing an ISO 14001 EMS, where aspects and impacts are evaluated using life cycle indicators. Performance is evaluated and reported to the community on an annual basis, and the community environmental board provides trained verifiers to assure that the annual report is accurate. Verified annual reports are stored on the IERE website.

The program recognizes continuous improvement by having three levels of participation. Participation requires substantive compliance to applicable regulations. In the first level, facilities develop an ISO 14001 conforming EMS, and report their performance, including compliance status, in an annual report. In the second level, facilities measure all their own performance based on life cycle indicators, and have begun the process to obtain appropriate LCA information from their vendors and customers. In the third level, the facility has completed LCA's on its products, and reports its performance relative to industry averages.

Because the meatpacking facilities are farmer owned, data on the upstream of the life cycle will come from the farmers themselves. This information will be used to develop a type III ecolabel, which will contain a serial number and the website storing the life cycle assessment behind the label. The farm-specific ecolabel will allow individual farmers to advance their environmental performance in order to gain market advantage, thus tightly linking environmental and economic performance.

The agricultural community EMS approach builds on the strength of LCA to provide a rational integration among all the elements of environmental management: identifying aspects and impacts, selecting goals and objectives, reporting performance to community verifiers, and ecolabeling. This approach can be used in many other industries as well.

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Material/Energy Flow Balance Analysis With Life Cycle Assessment For A Large Metropolitan City

Presenter: Ian Christensen
(slides in pdf)

Mr. Kanduri Krrishnamohan, Research Associate

Centre for Integrated Environmental Protection
Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
Phone: +61-7-3875 3661
FAX: +61-7-3875 5288
E-mail: k.krrishnamohan@mailbox.gu.edu.au

 

Prof. Ashley Scott, Director

Centre for Integrated Environmental Protection
Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
Phone: +61-7-3875 3661
FAX: +61-7-3875 5288
E-mail: j.a.scott@mailbox.gu.edu.au

Mr. Ian Christesen, Manager

Community Health and Safety
Brisbane City Council
69 Ann Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia
Phone: +61-7-3403 4720
FAX: +61-7-3403 9560
E-mail: MCHS@brisbane.qld.gov.au


Industrial Ecology (IE) is a rapidly emerging concept in the field of holistic environmental management, but whilst several case studies are available on its application in the manufacturing sector, the service sector has remained relatively ignored. Yet service industries, in particular large municipal councils with their high community profile, are excellent candidates to both implement IE principles, and then to promote and demonstrate the benefits to a wide audience.

Reported in this paper is a study aimed at filling this gap in knowledge and research, by focusing on the activities of Brisbane City Council (BCC). As a very large multifunctional service organization, BCC has, for a corporate body, an unusually wide range of co-activities that generate substantial material and energy flows (consumption, distribution and dissipation). Although mechanisms to minimize environmental impacts of individual operations are under constant review, a holistic view of material and energy flow webs (and their impacts) within the entire Council has not been previously undertaken.

The project aims to construct material and energy flow analysis models with the aid of modified life cycle assessment (LCA), thereby producing an integrated approach to improving overall sustainability. The analysis creates a "route map" of materials and energy flows through the entire organization, and categorizes their impacts, These help highlight the ultimate fate of inputs, products/services and wastes, and crucially can help in minimization of resource consumption and/or development of potential synergies between organizations in terms of resource exchange.

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'Buying GREEN' through the Federal Logistics Information System

Presenter: Steven Harris

Steven J. Harris

DLIS-SBA
Phone: 616-961-4652
E-mail: stharris@dlis.dla.mil


In response to the President's Executive Order 13101 with increased emphasis on 'Buying Green', and a subsequent tasking to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) by the Joint Logistics Commanders, the Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) is populating the Federal Logistics Information System (FLIS) with Environmental Attribute Codes (ENACs). ENACs indicate that a product meets strict, clearly defined environmental criteria established by the EPA or another recognized Environmental certifying agency or body. Further, these codes identify Environmentally Preferable products in FLIS that are alternatives to similar products that are used everyday. As of 4th quarter, FY 99, there were over 1400 National Stock Numbers (NSNs) with ENACs displayed in the Federal System.

To date, definitions for four ENACs have been approved by the Joint Group on Environmental Attributes (JGEnvAtt), a working committee composed of representatives from all of the armed services plus advisors from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency, all under DLA leadership. Federal Logistics Information System users can find products with ENACs during a standard FLIS query process, with the ENAC appearing in the Item Identification section, and its definition appearing in the Item Characteristic section. Products with ENACs are highlighted in the DoD Electronic Mall (EMALL) and in the CD ROM/DVD FED LOG programs by a 'Green Tree' symbol.

In the summer of 2000, Environmentally Preferable products found in the FLIS will also be available online in the new DLIS, Environmental Products (E-PRO) guide. DLIS E-PRO will be an Internet-based 'real-time' program, providing the user with a tool to quickly locate and identify 'environmentally preferable' products. DLIS E-PRO will exclusively showcase products that meet strictly defined Federal environmental agency criteria. Plans call for DLIS E-PRO to be linked to DoD EMALL to facilitate a 'one-stop' shop for finding and buying 'Green' products.

It is through programs like the Environmental Attribute initiative, and the new DLIS E-PRO, that the Defense Logistics Information Service is helping our customers comply with complex Federal Environmental procurement and reporting guidelines. By highlighting environmentally preferable products in the Federal System, the projected savings to the Federal Government from increased purchase and use of recycled and environmentally preferred products is expected to exceed $87.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 1999. A significant portion of these savings will come from the long-term reduction of costs associated with hazardous waste management and disposal. DLIS is taking a leadership role in promoting Federal Environmental policy and in encouraging and fostering the use of Environmentally Preferred Products throughout DoD and in the private sector.


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