Sustainability assessment in the process industries - Current practice and paths for future development: Conclusions and recommendations from the SAMT project

Hanna Pihkola, Tiina Pajula, Maija Federley, Jouko Myllyoja, Carlos Tapia, Michael Ritthoff, Mathieu Saurat

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

    Abstract

    Life cycle-based sustainability assessment methods and life cycle thinking are well implemented in many kinds of activities within the different process industry sectors. However, there is room for further improvement and mainstreaming the use of the methods, and especially for integrating the methods in different processes capable of providing decision-support on a daily basis. Important drivers for sustainability assessment originate from the strategic choices of individual companies, and from the demands and recommendations of the underlying policy framework. New development needs seem to arise, as the understanding of different aspects of sustainability increases, and as the demands from stakeholders become more frequent.
    Although the methods can rarely provide ready-made answers to complex decision-making situations, they increase understanding of the evaluated phenomena, help preventing burden shifting and provide a sound, science-based background for decision-making. As the development of the LCA-based methods is moving from environmental assessments towards multidimensional assessments that would include economic and social aspects and extend from the product level to sector level, requirements related to successful implementation and interpretation of the results increase. Future activities should be targeted to achieve a comprehensive understanding of different sustainability aspects, at the same time allowing easy implementation of the methods. The implementation and interpretation phases should be supported by flexible tools and compatible datasets. Methods and tools should be applicable for addressing different aspects of sustainability, incrementally, and for conducting either comprehensive or streamlined studies, depending on the purpose. Results of the assessments should be communicated in a way that would help decision-makers and stakeholders in making sustainable choices.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages37
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8548-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Technology
    Number299
    ISSN2242-1211

    Keywords

    • sustainability assessment
    • life cycle assessment
    • sustainable development
    • process industry
    • roadmap
    • decision-making

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