Describing Values in Relation to Choices in LCA
Journal article, 2005
Intention, Goal, Scope, Background. It has gained growing acceptance in recent years that there are values in LCA, and several authors have discussed how value orientations can influence LCA models and results. The aim of this article is to continue this discussion and to focus on value choices in LCA. Objectives. To find a way of describing value orientations in relation to choices in LCA. Methods. This objective has been pursued in this paper by investigating the relationship between values and traditional science, exploring the concept of values, investigating the relationship between values and choice, and suggesting a way to describe the value base for specific choices in LCA. Results and Discussion. Research on how to improve the environmental performance of products resembles peace research in that it aims to achieve a certain value-laden situation in society. The epistemological basis for peace research also seems to apply to LCA research. The term value has many meanings. There are several classification methods for values and I claim that one is more suitable for choices in LCA than the others. The correlation between values and choice is not straightforward, and values can only partially explain choices. Conclusions. Describing the value base for choices in LCA increases the consistency and transparency of the value choices and offers a means of justifying them. Recommendations and Outlook. It is recommended that the value base is described in terms of 1) what is included in the concern for the environment 2) how tradeoffs are made and 3) how uncertainty is handled. © 2006 ecomed publishers (Verlagsgruppe Hüthig Jehle Rehm GmbH).