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Life Cycle Initiative

  • Published on August 28, 2019
The Life Cycle Initiative is a public-private, multi-stakeholder partnership enabling the global use of credible life cycle knowledge by private and public decision makers. Hosted by UN Environment, the Initiative is the interface between users and experts of Life Cycle approaches. It provides a global forum to ensure a science-based, consensus-building process to support policies. It delivers authoritative opinion on sound tools and approaches in order to achieve global goals more efficiently.
The Life Cycle Initiative works in partnerships to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris Agreement faster and more efficiently by bringing Life Cycle Thinking to the mindsets of decision makers with the practical knowledge and tools to enhance the sustainability of their decisions. Partnerships are targeted with key global initiatives such as the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Global LCA Data Access network (GLAD), as well as relevant regional or national initiatives such as Europe’s Environmental Footprint or China’s National Green Product Policy. The Initiative fosters progress towards sustainable development in two ways. First, it advances the understanding of life cycle thinking by private and public decision makers and of the decision-making process by life cycle experts. This is in order to improve decisions that need assessing, and comparing products, technologies, lifestyles and economy-wide choices. Second, the Initiative builds consensus on, and facilitates access to environmental, social and economic life cycle knowledge (LCA data, methods, indicators, etc.). The Life Cycle Initiative focuses on three key programme areas. 1. Technical and Policy Advice, and Stewardship for Life Cycle Approaches: The Life Cycle Initiative offers a Community of Practice of choice. This allows collaboration towards mainstreaming Life Cycle Thinking and approaches into decision and policy making. Typically, a group of users seeking guidance for life cycle approaches in concrete applications would be gathered with relevant experts, selected in an open process. 2. Life Cycle Capacity Development: Work on Life Cycle Capacity Development aims at generating the necessary skills and capacity for the global application of life cycle approaches. Diverse channels and products are provided for the various target audiences of capacity development programmes: policy makers, business decision makers, practitioners. Such products include e-Learning, workshops, on-line and on-paper dissemination of success stories and best practice, and pilot projects. 3. Life Cycle Knowledge Consensus and Platform The Life Cycle Initiative ensures science-based global consensus building for the basic knowledge necessary to underpin life cycle approaches at the pre-competitive level (life cycle data, and environmental, social and economic impact assessment factors). This is done through robust processes engaging the global experts and user communities. Access to Life Cycle Knowledge as a public good and endorsed by the Life Cycle Initiative – including LCA databases and libraries of impact characterization factors properly linked through a global nomenclature system – is provided through a knowledge sharing platform. This enhances the robustness of life cycle approaches applied globally. The direct users of deliverables in this area are mainly Life Cycle Assessment practitioners and experts. Regular non-technical summaries on progress in the life cycle knowledge area are provided to inform policy and decision makers. In its new 2017-2022 phase, the Life Cycle Initiative aims, by 2022, to: Mainstream the use of Life Cycle Thinking into at least four global areas of decision- and policy-making for sustainable development, showing positive impacts towards the achievement of global agenda goals through partnerships in at least 15 countries and 30 companies. Train at least 2,500 policy makers, business decision makers, and LCA practitioners on the ways Life Cycle Knowledge can be best used in enhancing the effectiveness of decisions / policies towards sustainable development, and share at least 20 impactful success stories on how Life Cycle Thinking has improved the positive impact of their decisions. Offer a solution to access all LCA databases globally in an interoperable way, alongside a library of recommended impact assessment factors linked through a global nomenclature system for priority (environmental, social and economic) impact areas defined by policy and industry users. There are two ways to get involved in the Life Cycle Initiative. Become a member: The Secretariat of the Life Cycle Initiative invites you and/or your institution to join us as we move into an exciting and highly active period, delivering strong results for all stakeholders in the years to come. Please download the membership application form (available here: and return signed to Become a funding partner: Sponsors may provide core funding and additional, programmatic funding to the Initiative. Funding partners can gain visibility as a supporter – through conferences, reports, our website and newsletters. Additionally, they can exert influence by maintaining close links to the debate, the discussion spaces and Assembly. Finally, funding partners can access advice and expertise through a global forum of experts and practitioners. For more information, including funding rules please visit our website (available here:

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