Session Title: Fostering Regional Sustainable Development through Life Cycle Approaches
Time: 3:45 – 4:15pm
Session Type: tba
Regions everywhere have increasing development responsibilities, significant budgets and independence in many policy domains. To implement their programmes, European regional institutions are starting to appreciate the value of life cycle thinking, long regarded more as the domain of industrial activity. A number of independent activities such as avniR http://www.avnir.org/EN/, the FSLCI summer school series https://fslci.org/lcss/lcss2019/ and various conference sessions and publications have in recent years laid a foundation for the use of life cycle methodologies by European and other regions. These complement initiatives on other continents ranging from regional circular economy initiatives in Australia to applications of LCA and MFA to support regional waste management, as well as wider sustainability policy and action.
A particularly pertinent European initiative is the LCA4Regions – Improved Environment and Resource Efficiency through use of Life Cycle Instruments for implementation of regional policies of the European Union project https://www.interregeurope.eu/lca4regions/, carried out under the EU’s Interreg Europe programme. This project commenced in 2019 with the aim of a horizontal sharing of life cycle related experience by seven European regions *. The learning from other regions effectively improves appreciation not only of LCA theory but also identifies the practical possibilities and obstacles to applying it at a regional level by public organizations. The project runs until 2023; this paper briefly informs about the structure of the project and the preliminary results from the first year of operation.
To underpin the project, a framework of life cycle tools and methodologies was developed to help regions identify their existing use of such methods in policy implementation (the regional life cycle “toolbox”). Regions provided information via questionnaire, written submissions and direct face-to-face meetings, informing each other of the status of their life cycle thinking, and the practical results obtained.
Parallel independent research also identified other regional life cycle initiatives outside the project frame in part to benchmark the project partners’ progress, and also to capture further experiences beyond the project.
This twofold approach has allowed a wide variety of methods to be inventoried, extending beyond traditional LCA exercises of regional relevance – electric vehicles, building renovation, waste disposal installations, export opportunities for innovative companies, etc – to examine also life cycle management approaches such as sustainable or circular public purchasing, use of EPD and eco-labels as an aid in policy making on products and materials, application of LCC to infrastructure, use of MFA to determine best management options for plastic bottles, to cite just a few examples.
Many of these life cycle methodologies were applied in the wider context of regional circular economy, industrial ecology and bio-economy frameworks.
This work is still ongoing and updated examples will be reported in June 2020
LCA4Regions partners are: Government of Navarre (Spain, Lead Partner), Industrial Association of Navarra-AIN (Spain), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), Pyhäjärvi Institute (Finland), CIMBAL – Baixo Alentejo Intermunicipal Community (Portugal), Lombardy region (Italy), National Institute of Chemistry (Slovenia), AIN (Spain) and ACR+ – Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management(Belgium), Lodzkie (Poland).
Textile industry’s environmental impact depends on the amount of energy, land and water use, and hazardous waste and effluent streams in the value chain. Also, a large proportion of textile production happens in developing countries, hence social impacts are also critical. With availability of low cost (machine made) trendy products, today consumers are buying more in terms of numbers while quality, sustainability, and traditional crafts all suffer. Fashion could become more sustainable if consumers were to switch from buying large numbers of cheap throwaways to fewer numbers of less polluting and socially beneficial products.
This presentation is set in the context of India’s huge and vibrant textile industry. The country has a share of 61% in world loom capacity and 30% of India’s export comes from this sector. In India, after agriculture, textile is one of the largest industries providing high export revenue. It has generated huge employment for both skilled and unskilled labour throughout the value chain, including farmers, labours and artisans and continues to be the second-largest employment-generating sector in India. The handloom sector in India employs more than 43 lakh people, directly or indirectly, contributing to more than 15% fabric production in the country. The sector holds a unique position globally, constituting 95% of the world’s hand-woven fabric. Except for very few countries, handloom products have almost vanished from world markets. Artisans and weavers engaged in the handloom sector do not have much access to entrepreneurial opportunities or organized grooming/capacity-building initiatives that other manufacturing industries offer. As a result, many of the traditional crafts are dying, even though many top international fashion brands offer products incorporating traditional craftsmanship. Sunblossom Foundation focuses on restoration of the dying specialized weaving art and offers unique showcase opportunities to Indian artisans at global platforms and forums by promoting exceptional products developed through personalized facilitation and innovation by its founding members.
The presentation will take a life cycle perspective to show how the work being done by Sunblossom Foundation is improving environmental and social sustainability performance of selected textile products along the value chain. Conclusions will be drawn from the case study to develop life cycle knowledge useful for practitioners and researchers engaged in developing and deploying innovative approaches and tools for environmental and social sustainability assessment.
Praveen Siluvai Anony
Amidst intensifying global concerns over resource efficiency, developing countries must respond to many different triggers for change, e.g. public concerns over pollution, water and waste management, decoupling of economic growth from resource use, gaining access to green markets, and need for addressing sustainability issues while developing new products to meet national priorities. While different countries experience these triggers with varying intensity and try to fix resulting problems in one way or another, there is little clarity on how to fix the problems in a sustainable way. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is among the best tools to assess and thereby support improvements of sustainability performance in a holistic manner. LCAs are “data hungry” as all flows from and to the environment, of all processes throughout supply chains, over all phases of the product or service life cycles must be considered. LCA data is a cornerstone of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 and the availability of a national LCA database is thus a key requirement for developing more scientific and holistic solutions to national sustainability problems. Since October 2018, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) Nagpur, India has been leading the India component of a project on national LCA data roadmaps for six countries. CSIR-NEERI has now emerged as the potential focal point for Indian national LCA data. As part of the roadmap implementation activities, CSIR-NEERI is working towards development of a prototype of the data handling process and the IT solution through a new LCA study in collaboration with other national research institutes. This presentation will explain the roadmap developed under the project and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the process followed for its development.
CSIR website https://www.csir.res.in/ CSIR-NEERI website http://neeri.res.in/ CSIR- IIP website https://www.iip.res.in/
Report of consultations with key stakeholders on ‘Readiness for development of Indian LCA database’, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, January 2016. http://www.indialca.com/pdf/2016-indian-lca-database-project-report.pdf
NITI Aayog pitches for transition to Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy as an Economic Paradigm for New India https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/india/57035/niti-aayog-pitches-transition-resource-efficiency- and-circular-economy-economic-paradigm-new_en
The fashion industry is among the largest and one of the oldest industrial sectors in the world. The fashion sector, which comprises of textile and apparel creation and production, is the second largest economic activity of the world in terms of trade, valued at $ 1.44 trillion. The world textile mills market is forecast to rise by 26.2% since 2015, and reach a value of $842.6 billion in 2020, (Shenglufashion.com, 2017). A report by (UNIDO 1992), has predicted that, by 2150, total textile consumption will probably double, even by following the relatively conservative (1990’s) estimates of 8 kg/person per year (Hasanbeigi, 2010). In short, future population and economic growth will lead to a rapid growth in textile production and consumption, which, will eventually lead to significant increases in associated energy use, water use, and carbon dioxide (CO2) and other environmentally harmful emissions (Hasanbeigi, Price, & Arens, 2013).
The Indian textile market accounts for 14% of the total industrial production and constitutes approximately 15% of total exports from the country (texmin.nic.in, 2012). India is the second largest producer of silk and contributes around 18% of world silk production. Silk is an important cottage industry and employs over 700,000 farm families. India has the unique position of being the only producer of all four varieties of silk; Mulberry, Eri, Muga and Tussar. Mulberry is the most popular variety of silk produced. This is the first ever life cycle study conducted on a Saree, which is by large the most popular outfit among Indian women, contributing nearly 33% of the entire retail value of womens’wear market. This is a cradle to grave study, and will focus on all the stages involved in the life cycle of a saree made from mulberry silk. The study will cover silk producing villages of Murshidabad district of West Bengal (India).
The work takes a life cycle approach to analyse the life cycle impacts of silk Saree to assess its environmental and social sustainability performance along the value chain. The stakeholders include; raw material suppliers, reelers, spinners and dyers, craftsmen (weavers), retailers, transporters, consumers, resellers, recyclers and designers. Conclusions drawn from the case study would help in developing life cycle knowledge which can be beneficial for practitioners and researchers in understanding and evaluating impacts and making improving the sustainability of their product.
Hasanbeigi, A. (2010). Energy-Efficiency Improvement Opportunities for the Textile Industry.
Hasanbeigi, A., Price, L., & Arens, M. (2013). Alternative and Emerging Technologies for an Energy Efficient, Water Efficient and Low Pollution Textile Industry. Retrieved from http://eetd.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/emerging_ee_tech_textile.pdf
Shenglufashion.com. (2017). shenglufashion. Retrieved from https://shenglufashion.com/2017/06/06/market-size-of-the-global-textile-and-apparel-industry-2015-to-2020/)
texmin.nic.in. (2012). Textile Industry Overview. Retrieved September 10, 2019, from http://texmin.nic.in/sites/default/files/texind-overview.pdf