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The importance of selecting relevant impact categories and alignment of LCIA methods with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Reporting Categories
Natural Sciences & Environment Journal (NSEJ), Volume 2, Jan 2017

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International awareness and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) as an objective framework and method to assess true environmental and human health impacts has grown substantially in the advent of the new millennium. The framework of LCA, a holistic system based approach to identify and assess impacts associated with products, processes and services, is readily understood and widely supported. In practice, the methods that underlie the interpretation of impacts are deficient in scope of the relevant impacts that have been identified in the broader aspects of sustainability and ecosystem services. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to bring awareness to the importance of selecting relevant and appropriate impact categories when conducting life cycle assessment studies; second, to present an approach to align the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods to a broader, worldwide perspective that includes the concerns of both developed and developing nations. As such, the proposed approach to alignment is based on the UNEP Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) Framework. Key benefits include the promotion of a global consensus by researchers and policy makers; a means of integration with the broader international community of sustainability experts in government, industry and non-governmental organizations; and most important achieve a means of validating the efforts to raise human well-being and reduce abject poverty through life cycle assessment based on the work and comprehensive data and analysis that has been done through the MA efforts.

Author(s): Thomas Gloria
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