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Environmental sustainability and life cycle assessment for small businesses

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Oliver Heidrich


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An increasing number of policy drivers and stakeholder pressures are forcing businesses to examine the environmental sustainability of its processes and products. This paper presents some of the obstacles encountered by small businesses when assessing environmental sustainability, particularly those associated with Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). Accessibility, differences and methodological issues of LCA/LCI are described. A LCI illustrates the material and process flows, inventories and sustainability issues by using a recycling company that produces a drainage material from mixed plastic waste as a case study. The case study shows that large data sets and detailed LCI knowledge is required. Such requirements could represent barriers to small businesses in engaging with the sustainability agenda. Simpler tools may be required to assess and communicate environmental sustainability data to stakeholders.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heidrich O

Editor(s): Spath, D., Ilg, R., Krause, T.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 21st International Conference on Production Research (ICPR), Innovation in Product and Production

Year of Conference: 2011

Publisher: Fraunhofer IRB Verlag

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Sponsor(s): Frauenhofer Institute

ISBN: 9783839602935