INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL 2023
Life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) refers to the evaluation of all environmental, social and economic negative impacts caused by a process, product and/or service and highly influences the decision-making processes towards more sustainable products throughout their life cycle.
Increasing interest in methods to better understand and address the impacts of products along their life cycle has been stimulated by a growing global awareness of the importance of protecting the environment; an acknowledgment of the risks of trade-offs between possible impacts associated with manufactured and consumed products; and the necessity of taking account of climate change issues and biodiversity from a holistic perspective.
Potential and future decision-makers, stakeholders, enterprises and consumers can benefit from LCSA in the following ways:
- LCSA organizes complex environmental, economic and social information and data in a structured form, showing enterprises the full spectrum of impacts associated with their products and services. Moreover, as a result, it gives a normalized quantitative value which may be easily compared with the results obtained by other researchers all around the world, so, in a more and more competitive and globalized world, the use of this kind of tools is becoming a necessity for most of the companies.
- The information provided by these analyses clarifies the trade-offs between the three sustainability pillars, life cycle stages and impacts, products and generations by providing a more comprehensive picture of the positive and negative impacts along the product life cycle. As a result, enterprises and value chain actors stimulate innovation in order to become more responsible thanks to the design of improvements of the product life cycle. As a consequence, environmental aspects are considered as the same level of importance as economic and social ones.
- Transparent LCSA information of benefits of products designed according to sustainable pillar can be included in labeling of products, supporting consumers in determining which products are not only cost-efficient, eco-efficient or socially responsible, but also more sustainable.
- Nowadays, this kind of analysis are required in almost all the commercial fields, as they can be used for marketing, design, optimization and many other purposes.
In consequence, it is necessary to encourage the development of courses to apply a minimum of ‘life cycle literacy’ to university students across various disciplines by increasing the availability, visibility and quality of their teaching on life cycle thinking but also encouraging critical systems thinking.
The course aims to address a complete introduction to the methodology of the life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) as a tool for decision-making to promote sustainable development based on the evaluation of the environmental life cycle (LCA), the life cycle cost (LCC) as well as social life cycle assessment (S-LCA). The role of LCA will be discussed in the context of the circular economy as a fundamental tool to close the loop of processes and products. In addition, the development of case studies in different production systems such as construction, water management or agri-food industry is planned.
The aim is to raise awareness to researchers from different fields and with a multidisciplinary perspective about the importance of more sustainable processes and products. Likewise, it will try to support those who are interested in carrying out holistic evaluations of the environmental and social impacts of a product throughout its life cycle. Multidisciplinarity is guaranteed since the LCSA addresses the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. Both the profile of the teachers and the heterogeneous students’ origin ensure a collaborative and cooperative learning environment. GaBi LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) software will be used in the development of case studies in industrial symbiosis in the context of the circular economy to help students to acquire skills in understanding areas like industrial processes, transport modeling, human and ecological toxicity, and to know the existing inventories, inputs and outputs databases and sources to carry out this type of analyses.
On that basis, this course will be divided into different sessions according to the topic and the main lecturer. In total, 9 sessions will be carried out, according with the following timetable:
|Session 1. Introduction to Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment
|Session 2. Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment in Decision Making
|Session 3. Fundamentals of ecotoxicology in LCA analysis
|Session 4. Introduction to Gaby software
|Luz Marina Ruiz
|Session 5. Life Cycle Assessment. Cases study (student's lab)
|Session 6. Life Cycle Cost. Cases study (student's lab)
|Session 7. Social Life Cycle. Cases study (student's lab)
|Session 8. Industrial symbiosis in the context of the circular economy and role of LCA
|Maria Cristina Lavagnolo
|Session 9. Case study covering LCA in some examples of industrial symbiosis and circular economy (student's lab)
UPD: University of Padova
UBO: University of Bologna
Social and cultural activities
The following social and cultural activities will be organized to be developed for teachers and students:
|Monday 26 (18:00)
|Muslim sweets and tea tasting
|Tuesday 27 (time depending on availability)
|Guided visit to Generalife and Alhambra (2 hours)
|Wednesday 28 (18:00)
|Guided visit “De la Granada musulmana a la Granada Cristiana” (2,5 hours)