Global GreenTag personnel in collaboration with the Ecquate Evah Institute are presenting papers in Brussels this week at SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) European Forum.
SETAC is a not-for profit, global professional society established in 1979 to explore theories and advances in ecological risk assessment and life-cycle assessment, chemical manufacture and distribution, management and regulation of natural resources, and the study, analysis, and solution of environmental problems.
David Baggs, Global GreenTag’s CEO and Program Director is presenting the paper: Driving ‘Beyond LCA’ Metrics for Net Positive Cities at the forum on May 8.
Delwyn Jones, Director of the Ecquate Evah Institute, is presenting: Positive LCA Factoring Planetary Boundaries on May 9.
Mathilde Vlieg, Product Assessor with Global GreenTag, is presenting: Forest Product LCA: Carbon Form, Fire, Fuel and Fate Rules on May 9.
David Bagg’s paper (authored with Delwyn, Mathilde and GreenTag’s Lead Products Assessor, Shloka Ashar) will present CASE studies using metrics and tools that will show how to measure progress towards true sustainability across the whole built environment – from products to buildings and infrastructure for cities. Included in his address, David will be presenting:
- Applications of the novel Life Cycle Benefit Analysis (LCBA) concept, including exemplars vital for establishing how developments and products can deliver net positive carbon outcomes.
- The need for a change in the way LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) is conducted.
- How to integrate planetary boundaries as well as address calls to correct LCA methods for Climate Change Assessment from 25 Non Government Organisations (NGOs) from 6 countries.
- Various tools that enable industry-wide, easy comparison of products and with adaption, assessment of developments, explore what is needed to constitute truly sustainable communities and cities.
This paper by Delwyn Jones (authored with Mathilde Vlieg and Shloka Ashar) challenges the existing boundaries of LCIA. The International Standard Organisation Environmental Management LCA methodology focuses mostly on pollution generation and resource depletion but, the paper advises:
“If LCA is to assess architecturally ‘Positive Development’ in ‘eco-retrofitting of the vast urban fabric we already inhabit’ it must evolve beyond LCIA.”
Delwyn’s presentation extends life cycle assessment (LCA) beyond impact assessment (LCIA) to consider benefit assessment (LCBA) integrating planetary boundaries, stating that:
“The reach of LCIA is negative to zero often in loss of human health, ecosystem quality and natural capital. Apart from lower ecological loads, LCA methods need to quantify recovery and regeneration of safe operating space and planetary boundaries for sustainable development.”
To illustrate the case, Delwyn tables preliminary results from a residential high rise garbage chute over 60 years use – cradle to grave – and results show:
“Overall gains in space and diverting recyclables from landfill are far greater than losses from manufacturing impacts,”
To quantify positive outcomes, the proposed LCBA theory, Delwyn’s paper calls for new concepts, methods and metrics to assess positive benefits, goals and benchmarks to supplement established LCIA methodology.
Mathilde Vlieg’s paper (authored with Delwyn Jones and Shloka Ashar) outlines work that pushes beyond the limits of current life cycle methodology to enable modelling of potential and actual carbon sequestration and sinks. Practitioners of LCA have long struggled with this issue, the paper claims, as there are unique fundamental challenges in modelling e.g., forest forms, history, habitat richness, species diversity and management.
Mathilde’s presentation will show that while it is argued that stored carbon should not be counted as it will re-enter the atmosphere sooner or later, there is a ‘recognised’ need for accounting of sequestered carbon, warning that:
“… this time factor is critical as we approach tipping points in the next decades …when LCIA practitioners currently often ignore carbon sequestration, most significant legal and ethical issues arise.”
Mathilde’s paper reviews more than 30 cradle to grave case studies of plantation product supply chains. Results considered exclusion of Brazilian and Malaysian timber sequestration, because of continuing loss of rainforest forms across both nations.
The paper found:
“The significant difference in carbon uptake found depended on biofuel use for debarking, chipping, and sawmilling. Results were compared for timber fibre rich exterior cladding with various carbon sink values considering tropical interior boards and others. Forest product carbon sink values very significantly with management form, fire history, fuel use and interior and exterior applications and fate in re-use, recycling and landfill varied so LCA with detail knowledge of forest sources is essential.”