Lessons learned: Review of LCAs for ICT products and services
2014 (English)In: Computers in industry (Print), ISSN 0166-3615, Vol. 65, no 2, 211-234 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Application of information and communication technology (ICT) is often expected to result in decreased environmental impacts. Several studies have, however, also addressed the possibilities of negative impacts. It is therefore important to assess environmental impacts of ICT products and services. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool for assessing the potential impacts of a product or service over the whole life-cycle, i.e. from raw material acquisition to waste management via production and use phases. The aim of this paper is to review LCA studies of ICT products and services, including a few Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) studies. Many of the studies have considered consumer products, such as computers and TVs. Other consumer products, such as game consoles and TV peripherals, as well as business products, e.g. related to networks, are however more rarely assessed. Manufacturing and use phase have the highest impact in the life cycle. Use phase seems to be the predominant in energy consumption and global warming for some ICT products but for others, especially energy efficient, low weight products, manufacturing may dominate. Rapid technological development is stressed by several authors as a source of variability of results, impacting the production processes and suppliers as well as the content and energy performance of the actual devices. In the future, conducting LCA on ICT, the research community needs to consider the limitations found in the studies conducted so far. It encompasses, among others, the need to address a broad spectrum of environmental impacts, including human and ecotoxicological impacts; modeling actual e-waste management, covering informal management when relevant; and considering user behavior in a realistic way, accounting for rebound and other indirect effects.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 65, no 2, 211-234 p.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Information and communication technology (ICT), Environmental impact, Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA), Social impact, Electronic devices
Other Environmental Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-137192DOI: 10.1016/j.compind.2013.10.003ISI: 000331682900001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84888213904OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-137192DiVA: diva2:678223
FunderSwedish Research Council
QC 201402212013-12-112013-12-112016-06-13Bibliographically approved