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III Life Cycle Management as Part of Sustainable Consumption and Production Strategies and Policies

This part broadens the scope of life cycle management and presents it as part of sustainable consumption and production, discussing strategic opportunities for policy action and related responsibilities of consumers and policy makers, among other stakeholders, along the value chain.

Hotspots Analysis: Providing the Focus for Action

Mark Barthel, James A. Fava, Curtis A. Harnanan, Philip Strothmann, Sofia Khan, and Simon Miller

Abstract The technique 'hotspots analysis' belongs to the toolbox life cycle management. 'Hotspotting' or 'hotspots analysis' is an emergent technique being used in a growing number of different analytical disciplines, so research disciplines and functions within organizations (e.g., R&D, new product development, procurement), and in diverse geographies, in support of the green economy and the United Nations post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. It can be used to inform government policy priorities, drive growth and innovation in business and empower citizens.

Due to the growing interest of various stakeholders in applying hotspot analysis methodologies, the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative initiated the project “Global Principles and Practices for Hotspot Analysis”. During the first phase of the project, a study was conducted to map existing hotspots analysis methodologies and studies world-wide, which culminated in the report: Hotspots Analysis: mapping of existing methodologies, tools and guidance and initial recommendations for the development of global guidance. This chapter draws on knowledge derived from this report and presents a number of relevant findings.

Keywords Hotspotting • Hotspots analysis • Life cycle assessment • Life cycle management • Sustainability • UNEP/SETAC life cycle initiative

Introduction

The information-age has led to a proliferation of content, ranging from the assimilation and analytical challenges associated with 'big data' through to ever-increasing publication lists of research and innovation findings. The major challenge for businesses, policy-makers, academic researchers and consumers is deciding where and how to act to have the maximum impact. For any action a balance must be struck between speed of response and pragmatism and the need to be informed by reliable and trustworthy science-based evidence.

This prioritization method is called 'hotspotting' or 'hotspots analysis' and is an emergent technique being used in a growing number of different analytical disciplines.

This technique belongs to the toolbox life cycle management (LCM). LCM is the application of life cycle approach including LCA and related methods as SLCA and LCSA in business to drive business improvement. Life cycle management essentially embraces many applications of life cycle approaches, including product – as well as company-related approaches – to ensure that the full range of risks and opportunities are known and actions taken to reduce impacts across the value chain.

We believe there is now an opportunity to collate existing techniques from around the world to develop a proven methodology for hotspots analysis. This can be adopted by multiple research disciplines and functions within organizations (e.g., R&D, new product development, procurement) and in diverse geographies, in support of the green economy and the United Nations post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It can be used to inform government policy priorities, drive growth and innovation in business and empower citizens.

Due to the growing interest of various stakeholders in applying hotspot analysis methodologies, the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative decided in 2012 to focus its Flagship Project 3a on the topic under the title of “Global Principles and Practices for Hotspot Analysis”. During the first phase of the project, a study was conducted to map existing hotspots analysis methodologies and studies world-wide, which culminated in the report: Hotspots Analysis: mapping of existing methodologies, tools and guidance and initial recommendations for the development of global guidance[1] (Barthel et al. 2014).

This chapter draws on knowledge derived from this report and presents a number of relevant findings.

  • [1] The report can be accessed at: lifecycleinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ Flagship3a-Hotspots-Mapping.pdf
 
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