Using life cycle assessment to achieve a circular economy

Peña C, Civit B, Gallego-Schmid A, Druckman A, Caldeira- Pires A, Weidema B, Mieras E, Wang F, Fava J, Milà i Canals L, Cordella M, Arbuckle P, Valdivia S, Fallaha S, Motta W (2021)

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The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 26:215–220


The current global interest in circular economy (CE) opens an opportunity to make society’s consumption and production patterns more resource efficient and sustainable. However, such growing interest calls for precaution as well, as there is yet no harmonised method to assess whether a specific CE strategy contributes towards sustainable consumption and production. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is very well suited to assess the sustainability impacts of CE strategies. This position paper of the Life Cycle Initiative (hosted by UNEP) provides an LCA perspective on the development, adoption, and implementation of CE, while pointing out strengths and challenges in LCA as an assessment methodology for CE strategies.

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