After four years of work, the partners of the Interreg Europe LCA4Regions project met one last time during a final conference in Brussels to reflect on the potentialities for increased sustainability that are opening when life cycle instruments are used in public policies. The positive experience and outcomes of the project convince them to continue advocating for a wider adoption of LCA thinking in all levels of our society, especially education.

No one needs to convince anymore the nine partners of the Interreg Europe LCA4Regions project of the benefits of using life cycle methods while implementing environmental policies. On the contrary, they have now become some of the most fervent advocates of integrating life cycle instruments in both policy planning and implementation.

Since August 2019, the LCA4Regions project has created numerous spaces for exchange on the topic between seven European regions and countries (Baixo Alentejo (PT), Lithuania, Lombardy, Navarra, Lodzkie, Satakunta, and Slovenia), and their advisory partner ACR+. During seven stops, the so-called “Transnational Learning Journeys”, including thematic workshops, site visits and peer reviews, they shared challenges, opportunities and good practices to improve their regional policy instruments.

If each stop was focusing on a specific aspect – such as public procurement, training and capacity building or monitoring and evaluating policies – they all pointed in the same direction. Much can be achieved in terms of sustainability if LCA become an integral part of policy making, for example applied to public procurement practices. The Good Practices and experiences already exchanged during the project highlight many local actions that are improved by LCA and can inspire other public authorities.

This is what the LCA4regions partner shared with their audience during the final conference of the project, that took place on 6 June in Brussels, hosted by the representation of the Lombardy Region to the EU. Three panels and a keynote speech enabled partners to discuss life cycle instruments for sustainable textiles, for regional policies, for green public procurement and as a tool to meet skills and training needs for sustainable regions.

The meeting was also a good opportunity to exchange with like minded projects and experts, namely 3LoE project and the LIFE ReThinkWASTE project. Participants learnt more about how 3LoE is establishing Centres of Vocational Excellence on green economy and implements a wide range of vocational education, training and higher education measures concerning green economy. They also discovered the LCA analysis on waste collection systems developed by LIFE ReThinkWASTE.

To conclude the conference, the LCA4Regions partners gave an overview of the impact that the project already had on their territories thanks to the implementation of Action Plans containing one or more concrete changes to a regional policy. Public authorities interested in the path followed by the project are invited to consult the roadmap published at the beginning of the year. It provides recommendations on how to design effective and sustainable policies incorporating LCA methods and instilling a momentum at large, through the proper development and monitoring of policies. As for the LCA4Regions partners, now that the dialogue between LCA and public policies has been opened, they are seeking new ways to continue their common journey.

Presentations from the event are available for download on the event's page.