Life cycle assessment data – a prerequisite for sustainable innovation
Other - Swedish Life Cycle Center publication, 2016
It has become clear throughout the project that there is a need for LCA data in Sweden. Environmental authorities, government agencies, municipalities, companies and academia among others have been identified to be in need of LCA data. The most commonly sought data concerns energy production, transport, commodity produc- tion and waste management.
The publishing of collected data results in a potential gain, where data can be reused and individual businesses can avoid recollecting the same data. Small businesses that lack the means to acquire data and businesses in the public sector that can use data in public procurement to achieve their environmental goals, have been identified as the ones in most need for open (free) data. The public sector is advised to lead the way by publishing LCA data describing their own businesses, such as municipal energy companies.
The UN is governing an extensive intergovernmental cooperation in order to link existing LCA databases into a single information network. Although Sweden have not yet contributed with any concrete data, Swedish participants are currently active in this cooperation.
The proposed strategy includes identifying national reference data, that is, quality assured data representative
of the Swedish operations, which can meet the needs of a large group of stakeholders. Reference data enables
the focus of discussion to shift from which data are applicable to manage the environmental issues of concern. Through a joint process, unnecessary work can be avoided for organizations that are in need of comparable data. Procedures and requirements for how the data will be managed needs to be agreed upon. There are a number of key stakeholders in Sweden who have the knowledge and skills necessary to design a reference data system. Other countries have already implemented such systems and can function as role models. Securing of funds for collection, compilation, publication and provision of data is needed, while details are yet to be determined at the time of publication of this agenda. The lack of a clear political affiliation of the life cycle thinking is a challenge, as it links the environment, industry, and society together.
The lack of understanding for the potential of open data in general and a lack of understanding for the benefits of LCA data in particular represents some of the identified obstacles in this agenda. Further obstacles includes that the benefits are spread over several, sometimes weak stakeholders, and that data need to reach a critical mass to become really useful.
By making national reference data available to the public the chances increase significantly for all companies and organizations operating in Sweden to increase awareness of their products and services from a life cycle perspective. This is a prerequisite for achieving real sustainable solutions throughout the value chain.
Life Cycle Assessment
Project and Centre Management
Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis
Project and Centre Management
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
National strategy for development of energy production related environmental data for sustainable innovation
Swedish Energy Agency (P40962-1), 2015-09-01 -- 2016-05-31.
Other Computer and Information Science
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Innovation and entrepreneurship
Areas of Advance