Discussion Forum on Life Cycle Assessment

Mission and Organisation 

LCA practitioners working in industry, consulting companies and administration and LCA scientists. Each LCA forum is dedicated to a specific topic of immediate interest related to

  • experiences and challenges with LCA application in industry and administration
  • scientific questions in life cycle inventory and life cycle impact assessment metholodogy development
  • dissemination of new scientific findings and results of relevant LCA studies
 

  
The LCA Discussion Forum is a platform for the exchange between Internationally reknown speakers are invited according to the topic to present their work. Each forum offers an "open floor" session for short presentations. The LCA forum is dedicated to people interested in the field of LCA, working in Switzerland and abroad. Its content is defined by an advisory board.

New Downloads

DF series 2019:  Flyer for DF in 2019

DF 70:  Social LCA – Challenges and solutions in application and implementation  (Presentations and video recordings available)

DF 69:  Regionalization in LCA: Current status in concepts, software and databases  (Presentations and video recordings available)

DF 68:  LCA of key technologies for future electricity supply  (Presentations and video recordings available)

Current Meeting

DF 70 — Social LCA – Challenges and solutions in application and implementation 

Thursday, 22 November 2018, ETH Zürich, Alumni (GEP) Pavillon 

We cordially invite you to the 70th Discussion Forum on Life Cycle Assessment.
The official language of this event is English. 

Compared to environmental LCA, social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) is a young area with high potential for research and development. S-LCA has found its way into policy, industry and trade/ business thanks to new scientific findings and advances, e.g. regarding social life cycle inventories, impact assessment methods, assessment of positive impacts, databases etc.

The call for more socially acceptable products, documented with reliable information on their social impacts, is getting louder and is no more ignored by pioneering governments and industries. Especially in developing countries, the method is of high political interest. It is con-sidered as a possibility to combat social inequality, unfair working conditions etc., and to promote more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. In developed countries, the claim for sustainable and particularly socially fair production, e.g. in the food sector, requires the consideration of social impacts in addition to the traditional environmental based LCA. Pioneer companies and organisations have already implemented specific approaches for the social LCA of their products. 

The forum will cover both theoretical and practical approaches, presenting methodological progress and disseminating S-LCA applications. To begin with, the state-of-the-art of S-LCA and current research foci and progress will be outlined. The application of the method will be showcased by practical case studies covering different economic sectors. Another session will expose concrete, individualized examples of the interpretation and implementation of S-LCA in business and policy. In this context, the challenges and obstacles actors along the value chains are facing are of special interest. The forum will offer ample time for discussions about the outlined and future steps.

This forum is targeted to LCA practitioners, LCA software developers and LCA researchers.

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Future Meetings

Call for short presentations for DF 71 – DF 73:

You work on a topic relevant to one of the Discussion Fora in 2019 and wish to present your findings?

"Open floor" sessions for short presentations will be available in each forum. Please contact the LCA Discussion Forum secretariat – the sooner the better. 
For more information and to receive news on the LCA Discussion Forum, please contact: lcaforum (at) ethz.ch 
 

DF 71 — Environmental Benchmarks for buildings and infrastructures: Needs, challenges and solutions

Tuesday, 18 June, 2019, ETH Zürich, Alumni (GEP) Pavillon 

(The official language of this event is English.)

The Paris agreement requires a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. One of the priority sector is the building stock, as it is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions. COP23, IEA and increasing number of countries are extending their consideration from aspects such as building energy demand and emissions from building operation to building construction and the manufacture of construction materials.

This DF will allow participants to inform themselves on the state of activities and regulations on the environmental LCA of buildings and infrastructure projects in Switzerland, European and other foreign countries.

The day will focus on two aspects:
• environmental benchmarks: How are they derived? What is their level of ambition (checked against, e.g. the Paris Agreement and planetary boundaries)? How much differentiation is needed/offered (new/refurbished buildings, different types of buildings, different climate zones)?
• national assessment methods: The results of a round robin test are presented by researchers from different countries assessing one single building with their national assessment approaches.

This DF profits from the research activities of the IEA EBC Annex 72 “Assessing Life-Cycle Related Environmental Impacts Caused by Buildings”.

 

DF 72 — Normalization and weighting. The forgotten theme in LCA. 

Monday, 9 September, 2019, ETH Zürich, Alumni (GEP) Pavillon 

(The official language of this event is English.)

To draw the correct conclusions from LCA results can be a challenging task due to both the complexity of systems and the variety of environmental impacts that can lead to different results. Many LCA practitioners seek help in interpreting diverging results in different impact categories. However, considering that ISO standards do not declare normalization, weighting and grouping as compulsory, comparatively little scientific research on these steps is available. 

This DF will show the present state of normalization and weighting in LCA. The statements in ISO 14040 are taken as baseline, concerning e.g. internal and external reference points and hints on interpretation. 

A discussion of different weighting methods should shed more light on the uncertainties and differences of various monetary and non-monetary approaches (e.g. transparency, completeness, applicability). And how useful is the concept of the carrying capacity resp. planetary boundaries for aggregating indicator scores in this context?

In summary, the DF aims at a critical discussion and review of the available methods for normalization, grouping and weighting and seeks to demonstrate how the relevant information can be communicated to different types of stakeholders. 

 

DF 73 — Digital transformation: LCA of digital services, multifunctional devices and cloud data centres. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019, ZHAW Wädenswil (not ETH Zürich)

(The official language of this event is English.)

Increasing digitalisation not only makes our daily life easier but also causes changes in the environmental impact of our activities. The substitution of material-based services with digital services – for example films or music – alters the environmental impact of our everyday activities and shifts visible material use to less visible digital services. 

A holistic LCA of the transformation from material to digital services requires the assessment of information and communication technology (ICT) and takes into account new business models as well as emerging technologies. Modelling of digital services and multifunctional devices are complex and the choice of assumptions has a crucial impact on the final assessment. 

A discussion of all these topics in the LCA-community allows the evaluation of different approaches for the assessment of digital transformation.

This DF will therefore cover the LCA of transformation to a digital society with its wide range of devices and technologies as well as summation effects caused by new services enabled by modern ICT.

 

Flyer 2019

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