Global resource efficiency


End of life management

The analysis of various aspects regarding the End of Life of goods and services is a fundamental point of view to fully understand the potential environmental and economic benefits coming from closed cycles of resources. This includes several issues that concern both purely technical aspects and management aspects which strongly influence the pathway of the end of life of products/materials leaving the production and consumption system.

End of life management plays a crucial role for boosting the closing loop of materials, even more important is the growing attention in the European Union about raw materials scarcity.

Main strategy documents of UN, OECD and EU on sustainability point out on the need to implement a “green economy” which is substantially different from “greening” the present production/consumption systems. In that sense EoL Management could offer an effective methodology to improve the whole production and consumption chain, by analysing how production and use phases can influence the EoL phase.

Moreover, LCA focused on the EoL chain could offer a suitable tool to examine and systematize the possible downgrading of materials by the end of life up to their potential reuses.

Format: Oral session and posters


Food waste in a value chain perspective

Food waste is a topic with increasing interest all over the world, as a substantial amount of food that should have been eaten, ends up as waste from different parts of the value chain of food.  This represents a resource problem, an environmental problem, an economic problem and a moral challenge for the modern society. 

In this session we want to focus on methodologies to assess food waste in the society, how to prevent food waste through changes in behavior and knowledge, through technological innovations and better life cycle management of food.  We welcome both studies of specific product groups as well as a broader specter of food products.  Studies can be on single stages in the value chain (e.g. primary production, food processing, retail shops or food consumption, or on the whole value chain.  A more limited focus on a single stage should however be related to life cycle management and a supply chain focus.

Format: Oral session and posters


Governance of critical materials

Materials may be “critical” for several reasons. The EU and the US have identified materials of both supply risk and of future economic importance to electronics and emerging low-carbon technologies. Conflict resources originate from areas of severe political and humanitarian crisis.

Material-related risks need to be handled at many levels. Nations need to implement supportive policies. Industries need to consider product chain approaches, technical substitution and recycling opportunities.

Life cycle management, as a field of study and practice, is well positioned to characterize and address the problems of critical materials. We invite proposals addressing LCM theory, methods and practice for governance of critical raw materials. This includes, but is not limited to:

- Product chain partnerships and integration
- Approaches for information on content, design and origin (material declaration databases, B2B certification, information for recycling)
- Take-back and product service systems, remanufacturing
- Materials recycling
- Sustainable product design and technical substitution
- Characterizing of life-cycles and flows (LCA and MFA)

We encourage proposals related to traceability and certification of e.g. pharmaceuticals and food, which could provide important learnings for the governance of critical materials. Increased exploitation of primary resources, consumer programs and consumer labelling are outside of the scope.

Format: Oral session and posters


Management of natural resources (abiotic and biotic)

The way natural resources are managed can have a profound effect of the sustainability of using them. Since all production either directly or indirectly depends on the use of natural resources, their sustainable management represents the basis for any type of sustainable production. This is even more important for products where early life cycle stages are of major importance such as products of agricultural production, fisheries and forestry. Management of abiotic resources like minerals and water can likewise be very important in determining the environmental performance of products and presentations in this area are also invited. The intention of the session is to illustrate how LCA can be used as a tool for private or public policy–making in the areas of biotic and abiotic resource use and both oral or poster presentations in the field are invited.

Format: Oral session and posters


Workshop: Biodiversity and ecosystem services in LCM – methods and values

The present high rate of biodiversity loss has been pointed out as a major threat to functioning ecosystem services and hence to human welfare. Due to their complexity, the large uncertainties involved, and their largely qualitative features, biodiversity and ecosystem services are issues that are difficult both to assess and communicate, which is reflected in a shortage of studies reporting on these aspects as compared to those reporting on for example GHG emission. The importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services is however increasingly recognized in business, and the last 10 years has seen a remarkable increase in the number of studies published on these issues, both in general and related to management. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are directly or indirectly crucial for most industries in terms of e.g. resource supply – and are furthermore value laden issues of potentially high importance in marketing. There is hence a need for tools, methods and practices within industry to assess and communicate these issues and the values related to them within companies as well as along product chains.

Format: Workshop and posters

Please note that we do not call for tradtional oral presentations for this session. It is however possible to nominate yourself for holding short introductory presentations or to suggest issues to discuss at the workshop.  Register and write your topic and/or question including a short motivation as “abstract”.