Home Forums Best Answers Competition How does Life Cycle Assessment differ from Life Cycle Management?

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    • #9208

      Please submit your answer below. Make sure you have read the rules of this competition!

    • #9273
      Fritz Balkau

      Assessments and management are quite different things.

      <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Assessments</span> generates data.  Often this data sits idle because there is no-one with enough authority to act on it (i.e. talk but no walk)  LCA identifies the life chain stages that are responsible for the significant impacts or implications.  It is useful that LCA also identify ‘key players’ along the life chain so as to ease the transition to the management stage.

      <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Management</span> is what designated persons or organisations do with the data.

      Management is focussed on the structural relationships and actions by the life cycle partner organisations and individuals to produce a desired outcome.  It is an “organisational” endeavour, rather than a scientific process.

      It involves building stakeholder partnerships and communication along the life chain, identification of objectives and targets, establishing performance metrics and measurement, reporting, review and benchmarking,

      While LCA is always a helpful first step, there are also examples of successful life cycle management initiatives that are not based on a formal LCA.

      Note that sustainable supply-chain management (SSCM) – already in widespread use – is a derivative of LCM.  SSCM provides useful lessons on what works and what does not.

      A weakness in many LCA, LCM, and SSCM exercises is the very restricted range of sustainability criteria taken into account.   For example, energy efficiency or renewables are a noble objective, but do not on their own constitute ‘sustainability ‘ since they ignore all the other criteria, some of which may be adversely effected by the proposed action..  There is a need to broaden the LCA (and LCM) exercise to cover additional environmental, social and economic issues that have been ignored in the past.

      Fritz Balkau



    • #9460
      Martina Prox

      Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method that enables to analize and evaluate potential environmental (sometimes including socio-economic) impacts along the Life Cycle, applicable to products, services and organizations. Thus LCA provides an evaluation in form of a set of metrics of a past, current or future status of potential environmental and/or socio-economic impacts caused by the object (product, service or organization) under study.
      Life Cycle Management (LCM) is a management approach, that aims to systematically reduce and avoid environmental impacts along the life cycle, which uses the metrics of LCA to prioritize action and trace progress. There is currently no ISO standard on Life Cycle Management as there is for Quality Management or Environmental Management, but understanding LCM as a management tool allows to follow the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, known from management systems.

      So what’s the difference and the link? LCM includes taking action (PDCA), while LCA provides information, that can be used for LCM, in order to Plan where to start or to focus and in order to Check, if the “Do” has created the intended progress / improvement.

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