Social and Sustainability LCA

Traditional Life Cycle Assessments have focused on biophysical impacts on ecosystems and selected human health issues. A more comprehensive assessment is obtained by adding Social LCA that covers both social and economic impact pathways and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). Thereby, we obtain a complete Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA).


Life Cycle Sustainability

To compare business decisions, performance, and improvement options for their alignment with sustainable development, and to be able to make trade-offs and identify synergies between options, a single measurement endpoint is required. The unique feature of the 2.-0 SDG framework is the use of sustainable wellbeing (utility) as a comprehensive summary indicator for all social, ecosystem and economic impacts. The endpoint is expressed in units of Quality-Adjusted person-Life-Years.
This indicator provides a single, quantitative endpoint for all causal impact pathways that have their starting point in the many different pressure (Life Cycle Inventory) indicators, measurable at the level of specific production or consumption activities. Each pressure indicator is linked to the endpoint via the indicators for 169 targets of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thereby, the 2.-0 SDG framework contrasts with the “cherry-picking” approach to the SDGs in current business applications. Instead, we support a rational choice of business development strategies through matching the sphere of influence of each specific business enterprise with the impact pathway framework.

Life Cycle Costing (LCC)

Traditional LCC has a single-stakeholder perspective (what does this product cost me throughout its lifetime?), while the ‘Environmental LCC’ that matches the system boundaries of environmental LCA, has a multi-stakeholder perspective (what does this product cost any stakeholder throughout its lifetime?), i.e., irrespective of which stakeholder is paying the costs.
LCC thus captures the internal costs of a product, i.e., the costs that are already paid by someone, as opposed to the external costs that are captured by the LCA. To obtain the full costs of product alternatives, so that trade-offs (Cost-benefit Assessments) can be made, the results of the LCC and the LCA must added, which requires that they are expressed in the same units. Thus, a conversion factor is required between life cycle costs and Quality-Adjusted person-Life-Years (QALY). This conversion factor can be obtained by comparing the current global per person life cycle costs of all products (also known as the global GDP) to the current global average level of QALYs per person, while considering that changes in GDP only explain about 25% of the changes in QALYs.