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Evaluation of two simplified Life Cycle Assessment methods
KTH, Superseded Departments. (Environmental Strategies Research Group)
KTH, Superseded Departments. (Environmental Strategies Research Group)
2003 (English)In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 8, no 3, 119-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goal, Scope and Background. Two methods of simplified LCA were evaluated and compared to the results of a quantitative LCA. These are the Environmentally responsible product assessment matrix developed by Graedel and Allenby and the MECO-method developed in Denmark. Methods. We used these in a case study and compared the results with the results from a quantitative LCA. The evaluation also included other criteria, such as the field of application and the level of arbitrariness. Results and Discussion. The MECO-method has some positive qualities compared to the Environmentally responsible product assessment matrix. Examples of this are that it generates information complementary to the quantitative LCA and provides the possibility to consider quantitative information when such is available. Some of the drawbacks with the Environmentally responsible product assessment matrix are that it does not include the whole lifecycle and that it allows some arbitrariness. Conclusions. Our study shows that a simplified and semi-quantitative LCA (such as the MECO-method) can provide information that is complementary to a quantitative LCA. In this case the method generates more information on toxic substances and other impacts, than the quantitative LCA. We suggest that a simplified LCA can be used both as a pre-study to a quantitative LCA and as a parallel assessment, which is used together with the quantitative LCA in the interpretation. Recommendations and Outlook. A general problem with qualitative analyses is how to compare different aspects. Life cycle assessments are comparative. The lack of a quantitative dimension hinders the comparison and can thereby hinder the usefulness of the qualitative method. There are different approaches suggested to semiquantify simplified methods in order to make quantitative comparisons possible. We think that the use of fabricated scoring systems should be avoided. If quantitative information is needed, one should consider performing a simplified quantitative LCA instead.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 8, no 3, 119-128 p.
Keyword [en]
Electric cars, ERPA-matrix (ERPA: Environmentally Responsible Product Assessment), Life cycle assessment (LCA), MECO-method (MECO: Materials, Energy, Chemicals and Others), Semi-quantitative LCA, Simplified LCA, Streamlined LCA
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8251DOI: 10.1065/lca2003.04.114ISI: 000183349200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8251DiVA: diva2:13524
Note
QC 20100616 Available from: 2008-04-23 Created: 2008-04-23 Last updated: 2012-01-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Life Cycle Thinking in Environmentally Preferable Procurement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life Cycle Thinking in Environmentally Preferable Procurement
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Products generate environmental impacts during their life cycle by consuming raw materials and energy, releasing emissions and producing waste. A procurement organisation can be a considerable driving force for more environmentally friendly products e.g. by requiring that products meet certain environmental criteria. The scope for environmental consideration when procuring materiel can be limited by lack of reliable information about the environmental characteristics of the product or service. Different types of tools (e.g. eco-labels, guidelines, checklists and tools for environmental assessment) can contribute some knowledge and help identify environmentally preferable products.

This thesis focuses on use of tools for environmental consideration in Swedish defence acquisition but the results are also relevant for other organisations, since the procurement process analysed is rather general and the legal requirements are similar for other public organisations in Europe. A Swedish government decision in 1998 requires the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) and Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to take environmental consideration in all phases of the acquisition process. The importance of a life cycle perspective is stressed in several SAF and FMV environmental documents. The starting point of this thesis was that environmental consideration should be taken in the Swedish acquisition of defence materiel, considering the whole life cycle of products, with the aim of formulating proposals on environmentally friendly procurement. Some Ecodesign tools were reviewed and evaluated, two methods for simplified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) were compared, tools and methodology were recommended, and used to study military materiel, and environmental Life Cycle Costing (LCC) was examined.

In environmental work lacking a life cycle perspective, the most significant aspects risk being overlooked. Use of quantitative and/or simplified LCAs and inclusion of environmental costs in LCC are therefore recommended. LCA proved an appropriate tool for involving environmental consideration in the acquisition process, since it focuses on products and their life cycle. The MECO method proved best for simplified LCA. These suggested methods were evaluated by interviews with actors in the acquisition process. Four areas for LCA use in acquisition were identified: learning about environmental aspects of products; fulfilling customer requirements; setting environmental requirements; and choosing between alternatives.

The interviewees were interested in using LCA, but there is a need for an initiative by one or several actors if the method is to be used regularly and the results must be communicated within the organisations involved in procurement. Environmental consideration should be taken early in the acquisition process and environmental matters integrated into other activities of the organisations involved. Environmental costs are not explicitly considered in the LCCs used by the interviewees today, but internal environmental costs should be included. Costs likely to be internal can also be included.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008
Series
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2008-05
Keyword
Life Cycle Thinking, Life Cycle Assessment, Environmental Procurement, Life Cycle Costing
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4705 (URN)978-91-7178-910-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-09, M3, Brinellvägen 64, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100616Available from: 2008-04-23 Created: 2008-04-22 Last updated: 2012-01-18Bibliographically approved
2. Assessment of tools for environmentally preferable procurement with a life cycle perspective: the case of acquisition in Swedish defence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of tools for environmentally preferable procurement with a life cycle perspective: the case of acquisition in Swedish defence
2004 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Procurement in public and non-public organisations has the potential to influence product development towards more environmentally preferable products. In 2003, public procurement in Sweden was 28% of GDP. Different types of approaches can contribute some knowledge and thereby facilitate the choice of environmentally preferable products. The thesis focuses on procurement in Swedish Defence. According to a decision by the Swedish government in 1998, the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) and Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) are required to take environmental consideration in all phases of the acquisition process. The importance of a life cycle perspective is stressed in several SAF and FMV environmental documents. The starting point of this thesis was that environmental consideration should be taken in the Swedish acquisition of defence materiel, considering the whole life cycle of products. The aim was to produce suggestions for how this can be done.

In order to make this suggestion some Ecodesign tools were reviewed and evaluated and two methods for simplified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) were compared. Suggestions of tools and methodology recommendations for environmentally preferable procurement in the Swedish defence are presented. For this purpose qualitative and/or simplified LCAs were suggested. The suggestions have been evaluated through interviews with actors in the process. When a simplified LCA is needed, the MECO assessment is recommended. Methodology recommendations for use of the MECO method in the Swedish Defence are presented. LCA is an appropriate tool for taking environmental consideration into the acquisition process, since it focuses on a product and includes its life cycle. If the environmental work lacks a life cycle perspective, there is a risk that the most significant aspects will not be considered. Four areas for use of LCA in the acquisition process were identified: Learning about environmental aspects of the product; fulfilling requirements from customers; setting environmental requirements; and choosing between alternatives.

The actors interviewed were interested in using LCA methods, but there is a need for an initiative by one or several actors if the method is to be used regularly in the process. It is important that the results are communicated within the organisations involved in the procurement process. Environmental consideration should preferably be taken early in the acquisition process and environmental questions should be integrated into other activities of the organisations involved in the procurement process. Such work would be facilitated if there were greater cooperation between the procuring and environmental units, in this case at FMV, SAF and the Swedish Ministry of Defence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2004. 37 p.
Series
Trita-KET-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2004:20
Keyword
Chemical engineering, Acquisition, Ecodesign tools, Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, MECO, Public procurement, Simplified, Kemiteknik
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-331 (URN)
Presentation
2005-07-25, 15:00
Note
QC 20100616Available from: 2005-07-27 Created: 2005-07-27 Last updated: 2010-06-16Bibliographically approved

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