A maior rede de estudos do Brasil

314 pág.
LCA part3

Pré-visualização | Página 22 de 50

understanding of the (market) operation of a product system and/or product chain, or a new basis of
comparison for other process results, etc. For the outside world, as well as for certain process
participants, it may be very important to give these aspects of the project specific status as subsidiary
goals. All this means additional risks as well as opportunities with respect to the success of the project.
Experience shows that overall progress of the LCA process may be hampered by several factors:
- insufficient use is made of the advantages arising from the fact that process participants and
outsiders recognise subsidiary process goals of greater or lesser importance;
- insufficient action is taken to combat the drawbacks arising from the fact that process participants
and outsiders recognise subsidiary process goals of greater or lesser importance.
Process item 12: Honouring input
In principle, LCA-based decision-making should run its course as an open and transparent process. All
the parties involved must be able to contribute their views and see them sufficiently honoured. Some
parties may also consider the process as a kind of trap, however: by participating in the process they
become committed to its outcome, without having been able to make any contribution of substance.
Perceptions of this nature will be manifested differently by each of the various parties.
A different or additional problem may occur if there is too great a discrepancy between the actual
process results and the actual value of the LCA results, on the one hand, and the impressions gained by
the world outside. If some parties see their views reasonably well honoured but are meanwhile
confronted with exaggerated 'image-building' efforts by other parties, they may be prompted to withdraw.
This is particularly relevant when public relations departments gloss over or disregard participants’
comments on the value of the LCA results and/or process results.
Experience shows that overall progress of the LCA process may be hampered by several factors:
- there is unfounded 'image-building' based on provisional/anticipated LCA and process results;
- there is insufficient respect for the wishes of some parties that announcement of
provisional/anticipated LCA and process results should be accompanied by these parties’
Part 3: Scientific background 45 May 2001
- there is no prior establishment of one or more opportunities for interim evaluation during which
participants have an option to withdraw (giving their reasons for doing so).
1.3.7 Process outcome
In the LCA-based decision-making context a distinction should be made between an LCA result, the
process conclusion and the process result. An LCA result is the sum total of results yielded by a life
cycle analysis. The process conclusion is the conclusion drawn about a problem identified prior to the
start of the project, motivated by an LCA result, or after comparison of one or more LCA results. The
process result is the result the process conclusion being implemented.
This section is concerned with the steps followed in moving from goal to LCA result, process conclusion
and implementation.
Process item 13: Clarity of purpose
It is crucially important that the goal of an LCA study be formulated such that the ultimate results of the
LCA are optimally suited for use in the framework of the process goal. In the first place, this means that
before the LCA study is started there should be measured reflection on the potential significance of the
LCA results within the established framework of system boundaries and assumptions vis-à-vis the
product system. Second, it means that the LCA study must be carried out as an iterative process, with
ongoing reflection throughout. It should be emphasised that considerable prior attention should be
devoted to formulating a clear-cut goal for both the process result and the LCA result. It is better to
define the product system as appropriately as possible at the outset than to patch up a deficient
definition on the basis of supplementary sensitivity analyses and considered options for subsequent
improvement. A misfit between the final LCA result and the intended process result is a waste of
research time and process time, moreover.
Experience shows that overall progress of the LCA process may be hampered by several factors:
- at the beginning of the LCA there is no critical, collective reflection on the goals of the
commissioning party or of the LCA (with respect to adequacy and feasibility) by all the parties
- during the process a lack of exchange between the LCA commissioner and practitioner prevents
tightening or revising of established goals from being discussed where necessary.
Process item 14: Relation between LCA findings and process conclusions
The principal result of an LCA, or a series of comparative LCAs, is one or more environmental profiles: a
review of the environmental scores of one or several product systems. LCA-based decision-making
involves interpreting these profiles and drawing appropriate conclusions. This interpretative step has
several aspects: the value the decision-makers attach to the environmental scores as such, the margins
of error to be considered in doing so, insights concerning possible options for improvement, the relative
importance of the environmental themes considered, how the modeled product system conforms to
pictures of reality, and so on. Ultimate process conclusions often prove to be based not only on LCAs,
but also on considerations of corporate economics or general policy concerns, for example.
It should be borne in mind that although both the interpretative step and the last-mentioned step are
more difficult to objectify than the actual LCA process, it is feasible to design and implement appropriate
procedural arrangements.
Experience shows that overall progress of the LCA process may be hampered by several factors:
- prior to the LCA process, there is no established decision-making procedure indicating as explicitly
as possible how to deal with the issue of balancing considerations stemming from the LCA relative
to considerations of corporate economics, policy and so on;
- insufficient prior consideration is given to procedures for handling the following issues in the
conclusion phase:
- the margins of error in the environmental scores;
Part 3: Scientific background 46 May 2001
- the respective weighting of the environmental themes considered;
- insights obtained after considering options for improvement;
- insights obtained after performing sensitivity analyses (vis-à-vis assumptions in the modeled product
systems, for example).
Process item 15: Relation between process conclusions and implementation
A key question in many decision-making contexts is how binding the process conclusion is to be. Are
all the conclusions to be implemented exactly as they stand? Or is there to be some leeway, with the
party or parties implementing the conclusions operating under certain degrees of freedom? The
advantage of the first option is that the conclusions bear major significance; parties can count on their
findings being implemented. The drawback of a binding process conclusion is that it can loom as a
threat over the conclusion process (and the preceding analysis), for if participants are aware that the
process conclusions are to be implemented as they stand, there will be a strong incentive for certain
parties to resist particular conclusions.
Experience shows that overall progress of the LCA process may be hampered by several factors:
- the conclusions drawn during the process and the ultimate process conclusions are too binding with
respect to subsequent measures;
- the opposite is true, permitting opportunistic use and abuse during the process;
- the process is insufficiently transparent, compounding these opportunities for process abuse;
- no measures are taken to avoid opportunistic use and abuse of non-binding conclusions after
termination of