Research Needs and Challenges from Science to Decision Support. Lesson Learnt from the Development of the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Recommendations for Life Cycle Impact Assessment

Serenella Sala, Rana Pant, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, David Pennington

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    238 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Environmental implications of the whole supply-chain of products, both goods and services, their use, and waste management, i.e., their entire life cycle from "cradle to grave" have to be considered to achieve more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Progress toward environmental sustainability requires enhancing the methodologies for quantitative, integrated environmental assessment and promoting the use of these methodologies in different domains. In the context of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of products, in recent years, several methodologies have been developed for Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). The Joint Research Center of the European Commission (EC-JRC) led a "science to decision support" process which resulted in the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook, providing guidelines to the decision and application of methods for LCIA. The Handbook is the result of a comprehensive process of evaluation and selection of existing methods based on a set of scientific and stakeholder acceptance criteria and involving review and consultation by experts, advisory groups and the public. In this study, we report the main features of the ILCD LCIA recommendation development highlighting relevant issues emerged from this "from science to decision support" process in terms of research needs and challenges for LCIA. Comprehensiveness of the assessment, as well as acceptability and applicability of the scientific developments by the stakeholders, are key elements for the design of new methods and to guarantee the mainstreaming of the sustainability concept.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSustainability
    Volume4
    Issue number7
    Pages (from-to)1412-1425
    Number of pages14
    ISSN2071-1050
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Life Cycle Impact Assessment
    • Science for Policy Support
    • Integrated Environmental Sssessment
    • Environmental Sustainability

    Cite this