Life Cycle Approach in the procurement process: The case of defence materiel
2006 (English)In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 11, no 3, 200-208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Goal, Scope and Background. Procurement in public and non-public organisations has the potential to influence product development towards more environmentally friendly products. This article focuses on public procurement with procurement in Swedish defence as a special case. In 2003, public procurement in Sweden was 28% of the GDP. In the Swedish defence sector the amount was 2% of the GDP. The total emissions from the sector were of the same order of magnitude as from waste treatment (2% of Sweden's emissions). According to an appropriation letter from the Ministry of Defence in 1998, the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) are required to take environmental issues into consideration during the entire process of acquiring defence materiel. Environmental aspects are considered today, but without a life-cycle perspective. The aims of this article are to recommend suitable tools for taking environmental concerns into account, considering a product's life-cycle, in the procurement process for defence materiel in Sweden; to make suggestions for how these tools could be used in the acquisition process; and to evaluate these suggestions through interviews with actors in the acquisition process. The procurement process does not include aspects specific to Swedish defence, and it is therefore likely to be comparable to processes in other countries. Methods. The method involved a study of current literature and interviews with various actors in the acquisition process. The life cycle methods considered were quantitative Life Cycle Assessments, a simplified LCA-method called the MECO method and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). Results and Discussion. Methodology recommendations for quantitative LCA and simplified LCA are presented in the article, as well as suggestions on how to integrate LCA methods in the acquisition process. We identified four areas for use for LCA in the acquisition process: to learn about environmental aspects of the product; to fulfil requirements from customers; to set environmental requirements and to choose between alternatives. Therefore, tools such as LCAs are useful in several steps in the acquisition process. Conclusion. From the interviews, it became clear that the actors in the acquisition process think that environmental aspects should be included early in the process. The actors are interested in using LCA methods, but there is a need for an initiative from one or several of them if the method is to be used regularly in the process. Environmental and acquisition issues are handled with very little interaction in the controlling and ordering organisation. An integration of environmental and acquisition parts in these organisations is probably needed in order to integrate environmental aspects in general and life-cycle thinking in particular. Other difficulties identified are costs and time constraints. Recommendation and Perspective. In order to include the most significant aspects when procuring materiel, it is important to consider the whole life-cycle of the products. Our major recommendation is that the defence sector should work systematically through different product groups. For each product group, quantitative, traditional LCAs or simplified LCAs (in this case modified MECOs) should be performed for reference products within each product group. The results should be an identification of critical aspects in the life-cycles of the products. The studies will also form a database that can be used when making new LCAs. This knowledge should then be used when writing specifications of what to procure and setting criteria for procurement. The reports should be publicly available to allow reviews and discussions of results. To make the work more cost-effective, international co-operation should be sought. In addition, LCAs can also be performed as an integrated part of the acquisition process in specific cases.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 11, no 3, 200-208 p.
Acquisition, Defence materiel, Integrated product policy, Life cycle costing (LCC), Life cycle management (LCM), MECO-method (simplified LCA-method), Public procurement
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8253DOI: 10.1055/lca2005.10.230ISI: 000237768000007ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33744929127OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8253DiVA: diva2:13526
QC 201009212008-04-232008-04-232013-12-09Bibliographically approved