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Towards harmonizing natural resources as an area of protection in life cycle impact assessment

Thomas Sonderegger, Jo Dewulf UGent, Peter Fantke, Danielle Maia de Souza, Stephan Pfister, Franziska Stoessel, Francesca Verones, Marisa Vieira, Bo Weidema and Stefanie Hellweg (2017) INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT.
abstract
Purpose. In this paper, we summarize the discussion and present the findings of an expert group effort under the umbrella of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative proposing natural resources as an Area of Protection (AoP) in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). Methods: As a first step, natural resources have been defined for the LCA context with reference to the overall UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) framework. Second, existing LCIA methods have been reviewed and discussed. The reviewed methods have been evaluated according to the considered type of natural resources and their underlying principles followed (use-to-availability ratios, backup technology approaches, or thermodynamic accounting methods). Results and discussion. There is currently no single LCIA method available that addresses impacts for all natural resource categories, nor do existing methods and models addressing different natural resource categories do so in a consistent way across categories. Exceptions are exergy and solar energy-related methods, which cover the widest range of resource categories. However, these methods do not link exergy consumption to changes in availability or provisioning capacity of a specific natural resource (e.g., mineral, water, land etc.). So far, there is no agreement in the scientific community on the most relevant type of future resource indicators (depletion, increased energy use or cost due to resource extraction, etc.). To address this challenge, a framework based on the concept of stock/fund/flow resources is proposed to identify, across natural resource categories, whether depletion/dissipation (of stocks and funds) or competition (for flows) is the main relevant aspect. Conclusions. An LCIA method—or a set of methods—that consistently address all natural resource categories is needed in order to avoid burden shifting from the impact associated with one resource to the impact associated with another resource. This paper is an important basis for a step forward in the direction of consistently integrating the various natural resources as an Area of Protection into LCA.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (review)
publication status
in press
subject
keyword
Abiotic resources, Biotic resources, Land, LCA, LCIA, Method review, Soil, Water
journal title
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT
Int. J. Life Cycle Assess.
ISSN
0948-3349
1614-7502
DOI
10.1007/s11367-017-1297-8
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
8515714
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-8515714
date created
2017-03-27 08:00:57
date last changed
2017-07-24 07:53:23
@article{8515714,
  abstract     = {Purpose. In this paper, we summarize the discussion and present the findings of an expert group effort under the umbrella of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative proposing natural resources as an Area of Protection (AoP) in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA).
Methods: As a first step, natural resources have been defined for the LCA context with reference to the overall UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) framework. Second, existing LCIA methods have been reviewed and discussed. The reviewed methods have been evaluated according to the considered type of natural resources and their underlying principles followed (use-to-availability ratios, backup technology approaches, or thermodynamic accounting methods).
Results and discussion. There is currently no single LCIA method available that addresses impacts for all natural resource categories, nor do existing methods and models addressing different natural resource categories do so in a consistent way across categories. Exceptions are exergy and solar energy-related methods, which cover the widest range of resource categories. However, these methods do not link exergy consumption to changes in availability or provisioning capacity of a specific natural resource (e.g., mineral, water, land etc.). So far, there is no agreement in the scientific community on the most relevant type of future resource indicators (depletion, increased energy use or cost due to resource extraction, etc.). To address this challenge, a framework based on the concept of stock/fund/flow resources is proposed to identify, across natural resource categories, whether depletion/dissipation (of stocks and funds) or competition (for flows) is the main relevant aspect.
Conclusions. An LCIA method---or a set of methods---that consistently address all natural resource categories is needed in order to avoid burden shifting from the impact associated with one resource to the impact associated with another resource. This paper is an important basis for a step forward in the direction of consistently integrating the various natural resources as an Area of Protection into LCA.},
  author       = {Sonderegger, Thomas and Dewulf, Jo and Fantke, Peter and de Souza, Danielle Maia and Pfister, Stephan and Stoessel, Franziska and Verones, Francesca and Vieira, Marisa and Weidema, Bo and Hellweg, Stefanie},
  issn         = {0948-3349},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT},
  keyword      = {Abiotic resources,Biotic resources,Land,LCA,LCIA,Method review,Soil,Water},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Towards harmonizing natural resources as an area of protection in life cycle impact assessment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11367-017-1297-8},
  year         = {2017},
}

Chicago
Sonderegger, Thomas, Jo Dewulf, Peter Fantke, Danielle Maia de Souza, Stephan Pfister, Franziska Stoessel, Francesca Verones, Marisa Vieira, Bo Weidema, and Stefanie Hellweg. 2017. “Towards Harmonizing Natural Resources as an Area of Protection in Life Cycle Impact Assessment.” International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.
APA
Sonderegger, T., Dewulf, J., Fantke, P., de Souza, D. M., Pfister, S., Stoessel, F., Verones, F., et al. (2017). Towards harmonizing natural resources as an area of protection in life cycle impact assessment. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT.
Vancouver
1.
Sonderegger T, Dewulf J, Fantke P, de Souza DM, Pfister S, Stoessel F, et al. Towards harmonizing natural resources as an area of protection in life cycle impact assessment. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT. 2017;
MLA
Sonderegger, Thomas, Jo Dewulf, Peter Fantke, et al. “Towards Harmonizing Natural Resources as an Area of Protection in Life Cycle Impact Assessment.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (2017): n. pag. Print.