Moving towards a more sustainable society thanks to life cycle analysis

Published on 12/09/2017

After Copenhagen, Barcelona, Zurich, Cape Town, Berlin, Gothenburg and Bordeaux, Luxembourg City had the honour of hosting, from 3 to 6 September 2017, the 8th international "Life Cycle Management" conference (LCM2017). This event, organised by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg and ArcelorMittal, was held at the European Convention Center Luxembourg (ECCL). This three-day conference, the theme of which was "Designing sustainable technologies, products and policies: from science to innovation", attracted no fewer than 730 international scientists and practitioners of life cycle analysis (LCA, a tried and tested method of quantifying the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of a product or service), ecodesign and the circular economy. Top-tier international companies such as Volkswagen, ArcelorMittal, Unilever, Amcor, BASF, Nestlé, Delphi, Kronospan and Tarkett, along with senior representatives of European institutions and national governments, took part in the event, which featured a series of star speakers and visionary leaders of the field. Delegates also had the opportunity to meet with His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri who, accompanied by his son, Prince Louis, took part in the closing session of the conference.

LCM 2017 was thus an opportunity for the whole community of researchers who believe in the effectiveness of LCA to gather together, but it was more than that. Above all it provided practical responses to the challenge of firmly establishing LCA as a tool to support political and business actions and activities, thereby making an effective contribution to the transition to a safer, more sustainable society. Focusing on the implementation and evaluation of the circular economy, the conference gave pride of place to new smart technologies, such as:

  • Blockchain, an information storage and transmission technology,
  • Building Information Management (BIM), in which sensors, meters, network infrastructures and 3D models aid decision-making,
  • nature-based solutions for cities, such as planted roofs.

As well as these technologies, the conference gave prominence to presentations stressing current standardisation approaches, the guiding principles of the life cycle approach, best practices, and the visualisation and interpretation of results. It turned the spotlight on a number of star speakers such as Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, whose conference-opening speech conveyed his optimism and faith in a more environmentally-friendly future, and Mathis Wackernagel, the CEO and co-founder of Global Footprint Network, which aims to help put an end to ecological overshoot by placing ecological limits at the heart of decision-making power.

The next edition of the biennial Life Cycle Management conference has already been scheduled to be held in the city of Poznań, Poland, from 1 to 4 September 2019.

Luxembourgish research takes centre stage

As well as organising the conference itself, LIST took the opportunity offered by LCM2017 to showcase its life cycle analysis research activities. These activities are undertaken by the researchers in the "Life Cycle Sustainability and Risk Assessment" unit. One of their priorities is to identify factors jeopardising the health of the environment and opportunities to reduce the environmental impacts and risks associated with industrial activities and human consumption patterns. LIST has developed a number of environmental assessment tools, such as Ecopact, which makes it possible to carry out simplified LCAs on behalf of SMEs, and OASIS, which improves the ecodesign of drinking water production plants using an approach which combines simulation-optimisation with LCA.

LIST's researchers are currently working on numerous LCA-related research projects, including VALUES ("VALUing Ecosystem Services for environmental assessment") and CONNECTING ("Large-scale life cycle analysis (LCA) of multimodal transport policies – the case of Luxembourg"), both funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund. While the former aims to integrate the evaluation of biodiversity and ecosystemic services into the LCA methodology, the latter seeks to develop an operational method of carrying out a large-scale LCA of multimodal electric transport scenarios.

Restrospective of LCM2017

More photographies to come on lcm2017.org

Main image : image caption, from left to right : Bertrand Piccard (SolarImpulse), Brian Aranha (ArcelorMittal), Enrico Benetto (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology), Carole Dieschbourg (Minister of the Environment - Luxembourg), Lucien Hoffmann (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology)

Share this page:

Contact

Enrico-Benetto.jpg
Dr-Ing. Enrico BENETTO
Send an e-mail