Recently Mark Goedkoop from PRé Consultants, Netherlands, wrote an open letter on the establishment of the FSLCI and why we should change course. But there are many who say that we might not only be on the right track, but may in fact be driving on the same highway that Mark suggests we should take.
The FSLCI is about promoting Life Cycle Thinking
Mark’s main argument is that we intend to promote traditional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and then goes on to highlight the many differences and challenges that the community has discussed over the years to build consensus on some issues and not on others. He wonders how we can be ignorant of these and simply promote one way forward as if all these debates were non-existent.
Well, we don’t intend to. There is not a single sentence in our communications about promoting one methodology of Life Cycle Assessment, yet many which refer to Life Cycle Approaches, Life Cycle Thinking, Life Cycle Concepts. And the difference matters. It isn’t the „we know what’s right“-approach, but that taking a life cycle perspective, or to phrase it differently, a systems-perspective is key. That decision-makers should have an understanding of trade-offs and impacts throughout the life cycle of a product.
Along these lines we also understand Life Cycle Innovation in terms of creating a push for innovation in achieving sustainability through the application of life cycle thinking. It’s thus not about reinventing LCA or about picking one tool or approach over another, but about changing mind-sets and ways of taking decisions. Actually, we want the public to understand the added value of life cycle thinking for sustainable innovation so that it is not necessary to explain again and again the basics.
Engaging business is on our agenda
Of course Mark is right when he remarks that most of our planned activities focus on the community itself. As a community organization, serving the community is our first priority. We must come together to look within and introspect, as well as to look outside and reach beyond our traditional community. We need to do both, so let’s make it happen!
We are also already talking to major companies to listen to their needs, what they would like us to do and how they could come on board. It may not be so visible yet, but it’s happening!
Get engaged to get it right
We’ve just launched. We don’t think that we’ve got everything right from the start. We welcome everyone with open arms to help shape what the FSLCI becomes going forward. After all, FSLCI will be shaped by the community, by you. This platform is yours, thank you for letting us launch it. And thank you for coming up with your doubts; they will push us to think of issues we may otherwise miss.
Will there be different views? Of course. Will we make mistakes? Probably. But as we invited Mark some months ago to join and help us in getting it right, we invite you to join us now. Sitting on the sidelines and giving advice is easy. Getting engaged to get it right is what matters.
Tags: approach community engagement life cycle thinking outreach