Phase 2: 2007- 2012

Based upon the achievements and success of Phase 1 and on the growing interest perceived from our stakeholders to advance life cycle approaches worldwide, UNEP and SETAC agreed to continue their partnership in Phase 2.

Feedback received from partners of the Life Cycle Initiative, members of the International Life Cycle Board (ILCB) and Task Forces, and from various relevant stakeholders and the recognition of the changing context where the Life Cycle Initiative works, have been extremely valuable inputs in order to adequately and in timely fashion re-address the activities of the Life Cycle Initiative in Phase 2.

At UNEP new opportunities favourable to the Life Cycle Initiative have been identified that will allow an optimal use of our resources and the access to more channels for international cooperation, dissemination and exchange. The 10-year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (Marrakech Process) (see website) that is being pursued by UNEP and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) directly deals with substantive issues which are within the scope of work of the Life Cycle Initiative[1] and consequently the planned activities for the second phase of the Life Cycle Initiative will be articulated with a clear link to the activities of this Framework of Programmes.

On the other hand, the ILCB members highlighted the need to better balance the activities of the Life Cycle Initiative between academic research and industry orientation. There is need to identify ways for a better approach and communicate to private businesses and to provide them with useful, feasible and innovative life cycle solutions.

The collaboration with other actors in the field of product policy and development to support them in taking a life cycle approach, and the strong focus on applicability based on lessons learnt from LCA rather than on further research will make a clear difference to the first phase.

To bring science-based life cycle approaches into practice worldwide

Phase 2 will build on the Life Cycle Initiative’s continual strength to maintain and enhance life cycle assessment and management methodologies and build capacity globally. As we look to the future, LCA and LCM knowledge is the Life Cycle Initiative’s anchor, but we will advance activities on LCA and LCM to make a difference within the real world.

Therefore, the objectives for Phase 2 are the following ones:

Objective 1: Enhance the global consensus and relevance of existing and emerging life cycle approaches methodology;

Objective 2: Facilitate the use of life cycle approaches worldwide by encouraging life cycle thinking in decision-making in business, government and the general public about natural resources, materials and products targeted at consumption clusters;

Objective 3: Expanding capability worldwide to apply and to improve life cycle approaches.

The identified four Phase 2 objectives will be met through projects in five Work Area Interest Groups (see Figure below):

a. Life Cycle Approaches for Methodologies and Data (including data, methods, case studies, etc.)
b. Life Cycle Approaches for Resources and Impacts (including natural resources, chemicals, water, energy, etc.)
c. Life Cycle Approaches for Consumption Clusters (structured in housing, mobility, food and consumer products)
d. Life Cycle Approaches for Capability Development (including institutional empowerment, training, curricular development, etc.)
e. Life Cycle Management in Businesses and Industries

The Figure below indicates the relationship among the WAIG. In this way it is expected that the impact of the Life Cycle Initiative will go beyond the work on methodologies and capacity building, to practical “applications” that make a difference in the real world and thus contribute more effectively to the ongoing international efforts to change unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. See Annex 2 for a brief description of each of the WAIG. The expectations for each of the objectives will be met by having the Secretariat conducting the work and the experts carrying out projects in the five WAIG.

Figure 1: Relationship among the 5 WAIG chosen for the practical application approach of Phase 2

The International Life Cycle Board (ILCB) welcomed on January 2009 in Paris (France) the new Coordinating Committee, which will lead the activities and projects during the next years until 2012. Internationally recognized professionals and leaders in their fields are part of the Coordinating Committee that is chaired by Jim Fava:
  • Work Area on Life Cycle Approaches for Consumption Clusters: Jim Fava acting as Chair and Amy Costello as co-Chair
  • Work Area on Life Cycle Approaches for Resources and Impacts: Rolf Frischknecht
  • Work Area on Life Cycle Approaches for Business and Industry: Allan A. Jensen
  • Work Area on Life Cycle Approaches for Methodologies and Data: Andreas Ciroth as Chair and Till Bachmann as co-Chair
  • Work Area on Life Cycle Capability Development: Sonia Valdivia as Chair and Hongtao Wang as co-Chair
  • Technical Review Committee: Reinout Heijungs as Chair and Michael Hauschild as co-Chair
  • Coordinator of the Secretariat: Guido Sonnemann

Phase 1 of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative (2002-2006)
Four areas of work were set up during Phase 1:

Phase 2 Sponsors