Results and Discussion

The following two sections present selected results of the ongoing research process. The results focus on a detailed theoretical description of the identified policy options for LCA deployment in legislation including existing examples from practice. In addition – but on a higher level – key findings from the analysis of the characteristics of the policy options are provided.

Developed Policy Options

Based on the theoretical approach, by combining different structural elements describing policy features, eleven policy options for LCA deployment were developed. The options range from voluntary to mandatory policies, describe legislations with and without direct effects on the product design, legislations which are either fully LCA based or which consider LCA or LCA data during policy development (without requiring full LCAs) and legislations addressing two different market roles i.e., “market incentive” and “market access”.

An overview of the 11 policy options identified is presented in Fig. 15.2. For voluntary policy options, the feature “market access” is not foreseen because of the nature of the policy options, they are not legally binding but intend to have indirect effects on the market.

The following sections provide further details on the policy options, including examples of how these options could theoretically look like. Moreover, examples from practice (focusing on Europe) are provided, allocated to the theoretical options and showing that some of the options are in fact already implemented in real world legislation. The sections are differentiated between mandatory-performance based options, mandatory-process based options and voluntary policy options.

3.1.1 Mandatory-Performance Based Policy Options

These options cover mandatory policies, thus “hard” legislations, which are based on product performance. Consequently, they have a direct effect on the product design and may require a product re-design. The mandatory-performance-direct policy option (Table 15.2) is the most stringent solution for using LCA in policy, while the mandatory-performance-indirect option (Table 15.3) is less stringent as it does not require full LCAs. The latter can be seen as an intermediate step for full

Fig. 15.2 Policy options for LCA deployment in legislation

Table 15.2 Mandatory-performance-direct policy options – theoretical and practical examples differentiated according to the market role

Mandatory-performance-direct policy options

Market role

Theoretical example (LC CO2 legislation of cars)

Examples from practice (EU)

Access

Company has to show a proof that LC CO2 emissions do not exceed defined limit values; e.g. an EU fleet limit of 100 g LC CO2/km or LC limit values per vehicle class

Renewable Energy Directive (RED): LC based limit values are provided for renewable energies; e.g. if the company shows that their biofuels meet these targets, they can enter the market as biofuels

Incentive

(a) Company has to provide LC CO2 values; the performance is used for criteria in GPP

No policy in the EU

(b) Company has to show LC CO2 emissions, e.g. by using an “LC CO2-label”; possible market advantage if consumers consider environmental performance for purchase decisions

Table 15.3 Mandatory-performance-indirect policy options – theoretical and practical examples differentiated according to the market role

Mandatory-performance-indirect policy options

Market role

Theoretical example (LC CO2 legislation of cars)

Examples from practice (EU)

Access

Company has to show a proof that CO2 emissions in relevant phases, e.g. in the use phase of a car do not exceed defined values, e.g. Xg CO2/km in use phase or Yg CO2/kg in the production phase of car

EU Ecodesign Directive:

Uses LCA studies in the preparatory study to identify implementing measures which are not full LC based

Incentive

Company has to show/publish CO2 emissions, which occur in a relevant phase, e.g. the use phase of a car (e.g. by using a non-LC CO2 label)

(a) CO2 label for vehicle:

Information on tailpipe CO2 emissions per km has to be available at the point of sale in EU

(b) Clean Vehicles Directives:

Requires that energy/environmental impacts linked to the operation of vehicles over their whole lifetime are considered in all purchases of road transport vehicles, as covered by the public procurement (PP) directives and the public service regulation

LCA based legislation. It also reflects existing policies, which are especially relevant for the automotive industry (e.g. CO2-label for tailpipe emissions).

3.1.2 Mandatory-Process Based Policy Options

These options capture mandatory policies, thus “hard” legislations, which are not directly related to product performance but refer to technical aspects of process based policies, e.g. requirements on a company level for continuous improvement. Thus, they are less stringent than the performance based options. The mandatoryprocess-direct policy option (Table 15.4) can be seen as intermediate steps to use LCA as basis for performance based legislation. The mandatory-process-indirect policy options (Table 15.5) as the weakest form of mandatory legislation can be considered as an introductory step towards full LC based (direct) and/or performance based legislation.

3.1.3 Voluntary Policy Options

These options cover voluntary policies, thus “soft” legislations. The voluntaryperformance-direct and -indirect options are based on product performance, and can have a direct effect on the product and may require a product re-design.

Table 15.4 Mandatory-process-direct policy options – theoretical and practical examples differentiated according to the market role

Mandatory-process-direct policy options

Market role

Theoretical example (LC CO2 legislation of cars)

Examples from practice (EU)

Access

Company uses LCA to determine LC CO2-emissions, e.g. an environmental product declaration (EPD) must be available, but the product performance documented is not decisive for type approval

No policy in the EU

Incentive

LC CO2 values must be available for GPP, e.g. for having an EPD a bonus in PP can be received, but the product performance documented is not relevant

No policy in the EU

Table 15.5 Mandatory-process-indirect policy options – theoretical and practical examples differentiated according to the market role

Mandatory-process-indirect policy options

Market role

Theoretical example (LC CO2 legislation of cars)

Examples from practice (EU)

Access

(a) Company has to show a proof that CO2 emission values in relevant phases (e.g. use phase) are determined (e.g. average values/ fleet)

End-of-Life Vehicles Directive (ELV):

Requires to provide recycling/ dismantling information as part of the type approval

(b) Company has to demonstrate a “certified” management system/strategy to decrease CO2 for cars which is based on LCT, but does not require full LCA implementation

Incentive

(a) Company gets more points if it has an Environmental Management Auditing system (EMAS) for GPP; the information must be available

No policy in the EU

(b) Company has to show that CO2 emissions, in relevant phases (e.g. use phase) are determined and documented, e.g. using a

non-quantitative label like “we have used LCA”; providing this could bring bonuses

The voluntary-performance-direct option is the strongest voluntary policy option and can be seen as an introductory step to reduce resistance against mandatory legislations. The same applies to the voluntary-performance-indirect option, which additionally can be considered as basis for full LC based legislations. The voluntary-process based option is the weakest policy option and represents a very first step towards performance based and mandatory legislations. Further details on the three voluntary policy options as well as theoretical and practical examples are provided in Table 15.6.

Table 15.6 Voluntary-performance-direct and -indirect and voluntary-process based options – theoretical and practical examples (market role: only incentive)

Policy options

Theoretical example (LC CO2 legislation of cars)

Examples from practice (EU)

Voluntary-performancedirect

(a) Recommendation to show LC CO2 emissions, e.g. using a label (LC CO2 label)

GPP:

Allows including full LC performance criteria in GPP

(b) Recommendation to use performance criteria documented in EPDs for GPP

Voluntary-performanceindirect

Recommendation to show CO2 emissions which occur in relevant phases, e.g. the use phase of a car, e.g. by using a label

EU flower:

LCA is used to develop criteria

Voluntary-process

Recommendation to present CO2-emissions as part of e.g. EMAS/inclusion of information on CO2 emissions in environmental program

EMAS:

Recommends using LCA

in the process of continuously improving the company's environmental performance

As described in Sect. 2.1, in a second step the identified policy options were prioritized. The following four policy options were selected:

Mandatory-performance-direct

Mandatory-performance-indirect

Mandatory-process-direct

Voluntary-performance-direct

These policy options cover the whole range of policy option features defined in Table 15.1: mandatory and voluntary options, options with and without effects on the product design as well as options which use full LCA or LCA as “backoffice” for legislation. For these four options, further detailed analyses were conducted. The high level results are summarized in the next section.

Characteristics of the Prioritized Policy Options

The different policy options require different solutions for implementation, which depend on their particular characteristics. The characteristics of the four prioritized policy options were described taking into account the technical requirements, methodology, models, tools, data, quality assurance and communication.

It was found that the differences between the policy options are partly not very significant and that some technical requirements are the same for both voluntary and mandatory policies. For example, all direct policy options, which consider the full LC, have some technical requirements, which are similar for all of them, e.g. the need of LCA data and LCA tool(s) and the need to specify the product system model and LCIA model as well as characterization factors. On the other hand, indirect policy options – with its “backoffice” use of LCA – generally may have less strict technical requirements than direct options. Moreover, it was shown, that sometimes, voluntary policy options have stricter requirements than mandatory options, for example with regard to communication as they require a specific communication format to reach the consumer.

The technical requirements of the particular policy options also determine their applicability (efforts), comparability, robustness, relevance or stakeholder acceptance, and thus are relevant for their feasibility and probability of implementation. The SWOT and RACER analysis from different stakeholder perspectives revealed that generally highest relevance regarding CO2 reduction, but also highest efforts for implementation seem to be related to the mandatory-performance-direct option. Moreover, it was shown that robustness and credibility can principally be guaranteed by all policy options and that acceptance strongly depends on the perspective of the stakeholders. Generally, it can be assumed that if the policy options are implemented properly, the acceptance is high, but if there is a risk of poor implementation the acceptance would be low.

 
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