22nd SETAC Europe LCA Case Study Symposium | 20-22 September 2016
Our keynote speakers:

1. Professor Roland Clift 

2. Dr. David Pennington  

 
 
 
 
Professor Roland Clift CBE FREng from University of Surrey, UK 

Tuesday 20 September I 9:30 I Amphitheatre Lamour 


Emeritus Professor of Environmental Technology and founding Director of the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey; previously Head of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey and past Executive Director and President of the International Society for Industrial Ecology.  He is Visiting Professor in Environmental System Analysis at Chalmers University (Sweden), Adjunct Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia (Canada) and Visiting Professor in Industrial Ecology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal).  
 
Roland is a past member of the UK Eco-labelling Board, of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), the Science Advisory Council of Defra, the Royal Society/Royal Academy Working Group on nanotechnology, the Working Group which drafted and updated the BSI/Defra/Carbon Trust standard on carbon labelling (PAS 2050), and of Rolls-Royce’ Environmental Advisory Board.  In 2004-5, he acted as Expert Adviser to a House of Lords Select Committee enquiry into energy efficiency. He was a contributing author and Review Editor for the 5th Assessment Report of IPCC (2014).  His research is concerned with system approaches to environmental management and industrial ecology, including life cycle assessment and energy systems.

 

FROM INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT TO ECOLOGICAL LIMITS:
HOW MIGHT THE PLANETARY BOUNDARIES APPROACH BE APPLIED IN LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT?

Roland Clift
Emeritus Professor
Centre for Environmental Strategy
University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK. 

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment has generally slipped into assesing incremental improvement – whether a product or system represents a reduction in environmental impact, rather than whether it is compatible with keeping human activities within the ecological constraints needed for the planet not to be tipped out of its “Holocene” state.  Arguably, LCA needs to be applied in a more rigorous and stringent way.  The “Planetary Boundaries” (PB) approach, originally proposed by Rockström et al. and much discussed since, provides a conceptual framework for defining and potentially quantifying ecological constraints which human activities must observe to be sustainable.  Life Cycle Impact Assessment could potentially use the PBs in a “distance to boundary” framework, analogous to the more familiar “distance to target approach”.  However, applying the PB concept at the level of a company or a product system raises a number of conceptual and practical problems. 
 
This keynote lecture will focus on two of the problems: 
1. Boundary definition: How and at what geographical scale can each boundary be defined?
2. Apportioning: How can an equitable basis be found to share the “ecological space” between different activities? 

These issues will be explored for specific Planetary Boundaries, selected to show a range of different operational questions and practical difficulties.  Both boundary definition and apportioning entail scientific assessment but also political consensus.  A specific example, to be discussed, is the boundary for atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases: is it realistic or constructive to define the Planetary Boundary as a concentration which has already been exceeded?  Does the “contract and converge” approach provide a sufficient basis for apportioning greenhouse gas emissions?

  

Dr. David Pennington from the JRC/European Commission 

Thursday 22 September I 13:30 I Amphitheatre Lamour  

 

Dr. David Pennington is a Principle Scientist of the European Commission.  He is Project Leader for Raw Materials in the Directorate General Joint Research Centre (JRC), in the Land Resources Unit of the Sustainable Resources Directorate.  Key activities include supporting the development of the European Knowledge Base on Raw Materials, in particular the Raw Materials Information System (RMIS), as well as the EU Raw Materials Scoreboard, Critical Raw Materials assessment, and supply chain assessment of raw materials.  Dr Pennington has a PhD from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Chemical Engineering and a B.ENG from the University of Surrey.  He worked in the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).  He’s been on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment as well as of the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

 

MEETING THE KNOWLEDGE NEEDS OF BUSINESS AND POLICY: THE CASE OF RAW MATERIALS 

David Pennington, Gian Andrea Blengini, Tamas Hamor, Philip Nuss, Cynthia Latunussa, Beatriz Vidal, Viorel Nita, Lucia Mancini, Simone Manfredi, Fabrice Mathieux, Fulvio Ardente, Serenella Sala, Valentina Castellani, Rana Pant, Luca Zampori, Simone Fazio, Dominic Wittmer, Jo Dewulf
 
Ensuring the secure and sustainable supply of raw materials is essential to maintaining and strengthening industry in the European Union. Associated knowledge of supply chains and their role in our industry is crucial. But, can the scientific community meet the needs of business and governments? 

The European economy requires a wide variety of raw materials. Not all of them can be provided domestically through mining or recycling. Trends suggest continued growth in demand, with an increasing diversity of the raw materials required for emerging new technologies and more sophisticated products. Reliance on international supply chains for raw materials and semi-finished products is increasing. This international nature, the complexity of global supply chains and the diversity of raw materials are challenges to providing a relevant knowledge base. 

Governments and business must assess supply chains in relation to ethical, environmental, and economic considerations; considerations essential to sustainable and secure supply, which is fundamental to the competitiveness of industry in the EU. Reliance remains mainly on primary raw materials, biotic and abiotic. But, there is equally a growing focus on secondary raw materials from urban mining and recycling. 

A variety of assessment methods are now available to support sustainability and security analyses of raw material supply chains. These include Material Flow Analysis, Life Cycle Assessment, criticality assessments, resource efficiency assessments, trade outcome and value chain diagnosis, and others. Such methods can provide insights at the macro scale of the economy, as well as for supply chains of specific materials and products. Similarly they are useful for insights into current situations, as well as for assessing future policy scenarios and business improvement opportunities. 

In terms of coverage, information is often available only for bulk primary material supply chains, usually with a limited geographical and technological scope. Analyses tend to address resource quantities, world production distribution, trade flows of raw materials and products, flows in terms of quantity between the ecosphere to the technosphere, applications, final consumption, etc. Analyses remain, however, in their infancy in relation to social considerations associated with supply chains, including in relation to conflict minerals policy, and of economic considerations such as criticality, including the risk of supply chain disruptions. 

The EU’s Raw Materials Initiative, together with the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials and the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) on Raw Materials, bring together key stakeholders that all have a role in the provision of the European Knowledge Base on Raw Materials; governments, business, and academia. Activities include H2020 research projects, industry commitments, as well as developing investment funds to facilitate e.g. small and medium entreprises. 

The EU’s Raw Materials Information System (RMIS) is evolving at the heart of its Knowledge Base. Methods and data supporting the environmental and social assessment of supply chains are advancing, including in terms of data availability, coherence and quality assurance. Data on supply chains and activities for regions outside the EU remain a challenge, but one that is being addressed through international data networks, awareness raising, and tools such as crowdsourcing. Sustainability data on supply chains of high profile materials, such as critical raw materials and recycled materials, are increasing in availability; while a lot more remains to be done to fill gaps and to improve quality. 

The scientific community has an important role to help meet these raw materials knowledge challenges, complementing business and government activities as well as helping to support meeting their needs. Opportunities exist to integrate methods across disciplines, as well as to better integrate considerations relevant to business and policy support into assessments to meet needs.