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LCA & Circularity 2 | Conference recaps: Circularity19, ISSST, CILCA

June/July 2019
Sustainability News and Views Newsletter

 


LCA and the Circular Economy Part 2: A Look at Reader Comments from Around the World Garbage burning

A few months ago, we shared some thoughts on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and its relationship to the concept of the circular economy, with a particular focus on LCA’s potential for assessing the environmental impacts of recycling and other end-of-life actions.

We posted the article on LinkedIn and were gratified to see a spirited discussion of LCA’s value and limitations, with thoughtful perspectives from people representing different sectors of the sustainability community in diverse parts of the world. A number of interesting points emerged, and it seems worthwhile to take another look at the subject.

Read what the Sustainablity Community has to say here
 

 

EarthShift Global Team's Thoughts on Recent Conferences Attended: Circularity, ISSST, and CILCA

Lauren Phipps, Circularity '19 conference organizer, set the stage
 
















 

Sam's View of Circularity '19

 

This summer, GreenBiz put on its first-ever Circularity Conference in Minneapolis, and Sam had the pleasure of attending. 

Catch up on the conference excitement and these key takeaways.

Lise's View From ISSST

The 2019 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) conference, held in Portland, OR, was once again a hotbed of groundbreaking work. Here are a few of Lise's highlight takeaways.

Low-Carbon and LCA at Exxon-Mobil Research
In an exciting keynote, Mike Kerby of ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering group revealed that his organization will focus only on low-carbon energy solutions from here on, and that Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) will be a key tool in their development decision-making process. To read more about ExxonMobil's position, read here.
The widespread acceptance of LCA at ExxonMobil is a great development, and evidence of the effective effort of longtime advocate (and one of my early LCA students) Abdelhadi Sahnoune

Mini-Race4Good on Portland Resiliency
The conference attendees also performed a mini-Race4Good with Linda Cruse. The challenge? To provide the city of Portland Oregon (where the conference was being held) solutions for feeding and sheltering people should a major disaster occur concurrently with a power outage. 
The Portland area is at risk for a major earthquake, so that scenario was explored deeply by the participants. County and city government officials and the local power company were very interested in the Race and participated via advisors who helped by answering a fixed number of questions. Concerns over the city being split in two because of damaged bridge networks, broken water and sewer lines, and looting were all issues that the participants considered over the course of the conference. Two teams competed for the winning solutions, and ended in a tie. Some proposed solutions included drone fleets, enlistment of private boats for transport, and neighborhood pop-up stands with emergency equipment. 

A Healthy Mix of VoicesMinal MIstry gives the keynote at ISSST2019
As always, the conference included veteran speakers with cool new ideas and students presenting for the first time. The mix of experience levels and the open-mindedness that is a hall mark of the conference meant that new ideas were met with positive and constructive criticism as well as encouragement to go to the next step. Brandon Kuczenski led a session on “Reimagining LCA” that resulted in many great ideas for taking LCA (and Life Cycle Inventory in particular) into a stronger and better future. 

Valentina's View From CILCA

The Latin American Conference of LCA, known as “CILCA”, was held this year in Cartago, Costa Rica. The conference brings together LCA practitioners and researches from all over the Americas with some participation from Europe. EarthShift Global was one of the sponsors and hosted a workshop on LCA. 

Valentina had the pleasure of delivering a workshop that was a great opportunity to implement our most recent Life Cycle thinking guide which is available for free on our website. The workshop introduced life cycle thinking, the LCA framework, and guided some exercises in EarthSmart. Participants were energetic during the workshop, and questions in LCA such as functional unit, and system boundaries were addressed and the parameter feature in EarthSmart was explored. 

Valentina Prado giving a workshop on EarthSmart at CILCA2019 in Costa Rica.

















During the conference Valentina saw presentations about case studies with industry which is a sign that it is being adopted by companies in Latin America.  There was also attendance from representatives of the ministries of environment of Ecuador, Guatemala and Chile. Valentina was impressed by the environmental engineering program from TEC (Universidad Tecnologica de Costa Rica), the host of the conference. There, many undergraduate students are pursuing theses in partnership with local organizations and businesses where the student can support the companies' improvement and certification efforts, via LCA. From the conference, it is evident there is increasing adoption of LCA by companies and government, as well as methodological advancement in terms of impact assessment for the region and increased availability of inventories (see the recent development of perulca.com ).

At this conference, EarthShift Global also sponsored a 1-minute sustainability video competition and the submission was postponed until September 1st to allow for more participation. Our team looks forward to even more sumissions!

Overall CILCA was a great conference for getting a sense of the LCA field in Latin America as well as connecting to key people and organizations.

Next CILCA will take place in Argentina in 2021.  Hope to see you there!

 


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