External drivers for managing life cycles


Application of life cycle approach in environmental policy

The life cycle approach is gaining an increased acceptance and relevance in environmental policy making within the EU and worldwide. Examples of existing policy instruments that are based on a life cycle approach are Green Public Procurement, the EU Eco-Design Directive, Environmental Labeling and official indicators to follow global environmental impacts of different product groups, trade and consumption activities.

For further and more effective implementation, robust methods and reliable data and are required to assess the overall environmental performance of products, their market penetration and to monitor progress. Such methods also need to be cost-effective and easy to apply, for policy makers and for industry. Data on products and related environmental impacts required and collected under different tools should be shared as much as possible.

When possible, the use of European harmonized standards, ideally based on International standards should be explored, thereby ensuring increased coherence of policy instruments, lower cost for industry and good relations with third countries and their manufacturers.

This session will focus on the application of the recently proposed EU LCA methodology and other life-cycle based methodologies as a basis for public policy interventions and decisions. Expected outcome is an increased common understanding about the applicability of LC-methodologies for different types of policy instruments in environmental policy making.

Format: Oral session and posters


LCM and the financial community

How actors in the financial community evaluate a company is vital for the company’s future profitability. The financial community influence the cost of accessing capital through investments and loans, and consequently, how actors in the financial community evaluate a company is vital for the company’s future profitability.

What environmental and social aspects are considered by analysts and how those aspects are assessed is of interest for the companies being assessed. It is important to know how corporate external sustainability reporting is being reviewed by the financial community. Do the companies understand what kind of information the analysts seek and  what the investors actually use in their decision making? Also, do actors in the financial community understand what aspects that are considered fundamental within the assessed industries and how the assessed company measure and steer its sustainability work?

This session seeks to elaborate on organizational aspects relating to responsible funds’ investment issues concerning communication obstacles – such as information asymmetries between actors from the assessed companies, accountancy firms, analysts and investors. How do cultural and educational differences as well as incentive structures influence the choice of companies within this investment value chain?

Format: Oral session and posters


Management of chemicals

Chemicals management is high on the international political agenda and a number of initiatives are underway. Among them the prominent Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) under the auspices of the United Nations, and the European legislation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (EC 1907/2006). Discussions are also underway in the USA to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). A necessary interdisciplinary scientific contribution regarding effective and reasonable approaches is needed and the development of sound conceptualizations along with research strategies and empirical studies can provide important inputs to the ongoing policymaking.

This session therefore invite scientific contributions from a wide field of research disciplines in order to illuminate various existing research where the product chain/life-cycle perspective, including actors and their interplay, plays an important integrative role. We foresee contributions dealing with information generation and flow, the handling of national and international relations in product chains, the importance and function of national chemicals management strategies, trade regulations, voluntary agreements and other kinds of hard or soft law. Furthermore is research on the construction of information systems, in a wide sense, of importance for the development of knowledge regarding contents of hazardous substances and the emission and exposure associated to consumer products.

Format: Oral session and posters


Preparing for right prices

Internalization of external costs in product prices is a well established policy. How does this work in practice?

At the UN Rio conference 1992, the “polluter pays principle” was spread over the world. It was accepted by many governments that external costs due to environmental impacts should be reflected in the price of a product. During the EU IPP initiative (IPP = integrated product policy) the policy statement was changed to “get the prices right”, probably to give it a more positive tone and to acknowledge that there are positive externalities too, especially when changing to a sustainability approach.

The session welcome contributions on how this principle is applied in practice and how companies prepare or can prepare for future costs and financial risks from application of the “get the prices right” policy. Questions like: How does industry prepare for future costs? What are right prices? How to measure internalization? and Which external costs may be expected the next 5-10 years? are examples of topics that is of interest.

Format: Oral session and posters