In recent years there has been a lot of discussion about the value of life cycle analysis, or LCA, as a tool to advance sustainability practice. It is often touted as an important and robust way to ensure correct data is being incorporated into the decision-making process.
I don’t disagree with this, and I hope we continue to see increased uptake in LCA studies and growing interest in organizations with the expertise to conduct them.
But a lot of companies balk at LCA for a host of reasons. It’s too expensive, they say. It’s an overwhelming amount of data. It’s more for the product engineer folks, not the strategists. And on and on.
Enter the other LCA, where “A” is for “Approach”. Taking a life cycle approach is, in essence, applying the concept of life cycle thinking without necessarily conducting a formal LCA. Sometimes this means leveraging existing life cycle data and applying it to a different situation - fortunately, there are many LCA studies made available to the public. And sometimes, it just means using common sense - something that isn’t always present when well-intended marketers or strategists run with the sustainability agenda.