The European Commission has created a Web site devoted to the environmental impact of designing, manufacturing, and disposing of products, services, and energy. The site includes publications and a glossary. Life cycle information impacts agriculture, manufacturing, energy, waste management, constriction, and retail sales.
Life Cycle Thinking and Assessment
From the description
Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) seeks to identify possible improvements to goods and services in the form of lower environmental impacts and reduced use of resources across all life cycle stages. This begins with raw material extraction and conversion, then manufacture and distribution, through to use and/or consumption. It ends with re-use, recycling of materials, energy recovery and ultimate disposal.
The key aim of Life Cycle Thinking is to avoid burden shifting. This means minimising impacts at one stage of the life cycle, or in a geographic region, or in a particular impact category, while helping to avoid increases elsewhere. For example, saving energy during the use phase of a product, while not increasing the amount of material needed to provide it.
Taking a life cycle perspective requires a policy developer, environmental manager or product designer to look beyond their own knowledge and in-house data. It requires cooperation up and down the supply chain. At the same time, it also provides an opportunity to use the knowledge that has been gathered to gain signicant economic advantages.