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Connecting LCA experts and business people at the LCM conference

I always enjoy conferences as a way to see how LCA and sustainability works ‘on the shop floor’ – to see how businesses and LCA experts alike grapple with making sustainability happen. This September, PRé and some of our clients will be speaking at the Life Cycle Management (LCM) conference, where we hope to see as many of you as possible. In this article, I’d like to introduce the focus area I’ve been working with: connecting business users and LCA experts.

By Eric Mieras on August 14, 2017

Connecting LCA and business at LCM 2017

 

Joining forces is the way forward

Recently I attended an event named “Declaring your data: Second Annual EPD Event”, where professionals from the construction sector engaged with the challenges and promises of environmental product declarations (EPD). The event was a very insightful experience, as it clearly showed that a user-friendly tool with expert support is the way forward. And that’s exactly what I want to talk about: the partnership between LCA experts and business users.

 

Opposites attract?

LCA experts and their business-focused co-workers often seem to live in two different worlds. LCA experts focus on the robustness and soundness of their models and chosen methodologies, dive into the details and want to make sure that everything is correct. Business users are primarily interested in the results, eager to see what happens when they make changes. The gap is big enough to make you wonder: will they find each other or will they keep speaking different languages?

 

A meeting of minds

The good news is: they can definitely find each other. At the EPD event, I witnessed many situations in which both parties started with a cynical attitude that quickly disappeared once they understood how they could benefit from each other.

 

For instance, business users got the chance to experiment with the LINA LCA tool PRé made for BRE, renowned specialists in environmental performance of building products and materials. What happened was that they started to work with the tool and each other. Here is where the magic happens: once they got the results and overcame the first struggles, LCA experts and business users both saw the value… for both of them.

 

Turning the lens around at the LCM conference: LCA success stories “outside-in”

To me, those stories are really encouraging. I expect to hear more about this struggle and collaboration during the session I’m co-chairing at the LCM conference with Alain Wathelet from international chemistry group Solvay.

 

The session is entitled “Turning the lens around” and the floor is open for stories that illustrate how LCA has helped business users achieve their business objectives and sustainability goals. Moreover, the speakers will share how they worked together and how this collaboration evolved. All stories will show the value of LCA for management and business.

 

How DSM is using LCA to implement circular economy

Our clients will also be speaking at the LCM conference. An interesting keynote speech at LCM will be from Henk-Jan Udding, Innovation Director at our long-standing client DSM. The speech will reveal how he has worked together with the internal LCA expert. His talk will focus on how LCA and circular economy can be complementary. Henk-Jan will tell about the way in which a circular economy is a potential route for enhanced product sustainability, and how LCA can make the circular economy stronger.

 

Contact Eric Mieras

Would you like to learn more about how you can help the business community to understand the impact of circular solutions through LCA? You are cordially invited to join our sessions at the LCM conference. You can also contact me directly, as I’m more than happy to share experiences with you.

Contact the author

‘Sustainability is all about impact. Positive impact makes you meaningful. But first you have to know where you are having an impact and where you can create shared value. That’s where PRé comes in. Pinpointing your impact is an essential starting point for taking joint action with people and organizations in your ecosystem. The combination of sustainability and social business can make a real change in the way we do business.’

Contact Eric Mieras
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