The LCA4Regions project was part of the 10th International Conference on Life Cycle Management that took place on 5-8 September 2021 under the following theme: Building a Sustainable Future based on Innovation and Digitalization.

Following the acceptation of a paper entitled “Life cycle methodologies (LCM) for Regional Sustainable Development”, Jolanta Dvarioniene from Kaunas University of Technology joined the session “Achieving sustainability goals on the regional, national and international level”. The paper examines how regional authorities use LCM concepts and tools in their sustainable development policies and actions, building on the mid-term analysis of the LCA4Regions project. It illustrates the use of LCA for policy options in transport and for materials, examples of LCC for procurement and for optimising construction projects.

The analysis clearly shows the dependence of regional level LCA on national frameworks and on the international standardisation of procedures. And while examples of useful LC practices have indeed been identified, these are not yet mainstream in all regions. Nor does the scope of life cycle methods generally encompass multiple SDGs, rather they tend to be single-issue initiatives.

The paper concludes that regions are showing interest to apply LCA and LCM more widely in their sustainability policies but they are often handicapped by lack of political commitment, by a lack of LCA understanding in their organisations, and by the perceived cost of LCA procedures. Overall there is an on-going need to bring the benefits of a life cycle approach further into public administrations.

Picture: Fraunhofer-Institut für Bauphysik IBP