Critical review and practical recommendations to integrate the spatial dimension into life cycle assessment

Abstract : Addressing the spatial dimension in life cycle assessment (LCA) appears to be a promising avenue to reduce the uncertainty of LCA results. However, to our knowledge, there is no comprehensive literature review on how to integrate geographic aspects at every LCA stage. This study aims to create a common language and build a framework guiding the LCA community to integrate the spatial dimension in LCA towards three specific objectives: (a) to review the literature to synthesize and classify current recommendations and approaches to integrate the spatial dimension in LCA, (b) to analyze each identified approach based on their level of relevance, development and operationalization and (c) to formulate recommendations on how to integrate the spatial dimension in LCA. From the literature review, 33 recommendations and 37 approaches were identified. The approaches were classified according to the main issue they aim to address when integrating the spatial dimension in LCA: goal and scope, inventory regionalization, inventory spatialization, regionalized impact calculation, impact regionalization, interpretation and application in LCA software. Then, each approach was critically and qualitatively assessed against the three following criteria: relevance of the approach, level of development and level of operationalization. Short- and long-term recommendations on how to address spatial dimension in LCA for each identified issue and for the different stakeholders in the LCA community were derived from the critical analysis. A decision-support diagram was set up to help for the implementation of the short-term state-of-the-art recommendations and guide LCA practitioners to prioritize inventory regionalization and spatialization efforts.
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Laure Patouillard, Cécile Bulle, Cécile Querleu, Dominique Maxime, Philippe Osset, et al.. Critical review and practical recommendations to integrate the spatial dimension into life cycle assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production, Elsevier, 2018, 177, pp.398 - 412. ⟨10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.12.192⟩. ⟨hal-01847043⟩

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