Life Cycle Assessment and Beyond
Release Date: June 2021
Professional Accreditation: IEMA (as part of MSc)
Lead Organisation: IBERS, Aberystwyth University
Evaluating environmental impacts: do your assessments measure up?
Life Cycle Thinking is at the heart of attempts to improve the environmental, social and economic sustainability of production. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approaches are widely used to quantify the impacts of production, identify hot spots, and analyse the consequences of change. The use of LCA has broadened over time, from an initial focus on quantifying environmental impacts to the exploration of social impacts via Social LCA, the analysis of economic costs through Life Cycle Cost Assessment, and the development of integrated Life Cycle Sustainability Assessments. The scope of LCA studies has also increased, with the advent of the Circular Economy requiring assessments capable of incorporating reuse and recycling into ‘cradle to cradle’ studies.
This module is designed to introduce Life Cycle Thinking and to provide a holistic understanding of LCA approaches and their application, giving students the knowledge they need to critically engage with LCA studies, from choosing the most appropriate types of study for specific contexts, to interpreting results and identifying limitations.
The course will consist of a series of lectures and guided learning focused on:
List of Units
|Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking||
Introducing LCA approaches, their context and use
|LCA: Goals, Scope and Inventory Analysis||
Attributional and Consequential LCA and an exploration of LCA studies from the setting of goals to the collation of an inventory of production effects
|LCA: Impact Assessment and Interpretation||
Examining the LCA process from the classification of inventory data to their transformation into impact indicators and the interpretation of findings
|Evaluating LCA Case Studies||
Evaluating a range of LCA studies to identify their strengths and weaknesses
|The Global Carbon Cycle Farming and GHGs||
Modelling the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of food production
|Carbon foot-printing: the impacts of livestock farming||
The first part of an exploration of livestock farming and its emissions
|Carbon foot-printing: Evaluating the models||
The second part of the exploration of livestock farming and its emissions and a hands-on carbon foot-printing exercise
|Ecolabelling and implementing||
What comes after the identification of environmental issues? LCA as a basis for Eco-labelling and the challenges to implementing change in farming
|Introduction to Social LCA||
How does S-LCA work, what are its challenges and how has it been applied?
|Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment||
Integrating the quantification of Environmental, Social and Economic impacts of production – where are we up to and where is LCA heading?
|Dr Richard Kipling|