We’ve told you about the new LCA Chair at Montreal’s École Polytechnique Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) that was announced in May. Now this October 22-23 they are hosting CYCLE 2007 in downtown Montreal.
This is the 3rd Canadian Forum on the Life Cycle Management of Products and Services with speakers from Natural Resources Canada, the US EPA, Ghent University, DTU (Danish Technical University), European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, President of the Athena Institute, Wayne Trusty, President of Sylvatica, Greg Norris and Guido Sonneman from the UNEP Sustainable Consumption and Production branch.
This is just the beginning of a long list of life cycle experts that will be sharing their international views on methodological aspects of LCA, its role within SMEs (small and medium-size enterprises) and large companies, and case studies from Canada and the world. They will also be focusing on the inclusion of social impacts into LCA thanks to the UNEP/SETAC working group on the same topic. Social impacts are always difficult to objectively measure and include into life cycle assessment and are a pretty hot topic. The goal of the conference is to bring together all sustainable development stakeholders from industry, governments, academia, and NGOs. If you’re not sure about what the life cycle approach is the conference site provides a great description:
There is a current trend towards changing current production and consumption patterns that is gaining ground on the international level. New patterns are emerging which target a global minimization of negative environmental impacts while maintaining or positively increasing economic and social impacts. This is called the life cycle approach or life cycle thinking. The increasing popularity of fair trade and organic products is just one example of the tangible signs of this trend. The life cycle approach is promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and aims to reduce the pressure that a product or service exerts on resources and the environment throughout its life cycle, while optimizing the benefits for society and the economy. By doing so, there is a sustainable increase in the value chain.
The life cycle approach consists of a number of tools, of which life cycle assessment (LCA) is the cornerstone. Recently standardized by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, (see ISO 14040 and the subsequent standards), life cycle assessment is increasingly used throughout the world by large industrial corporations and their suppliers. The approach applies throughout the life cycle of a product or service, from its design, development, and marketing to the drafting of product management laws and policies, especially those pertaining to product management.
We’ll keep watching for results from this conference. You can look at registration info in the Registration & Accommodation section of their site.