Conclusions, Recommendations and Outlook
Conclusions and Recommendations
1. General progress since 2002.
Countries have advanced since 2002, when none of them counted on a life cycle network or a LCA database (UNEP/SETAC 2015b). The authors recommend reinforcing the trend in the countries analyzed with continual capacity-building programs, financial support and technical assistance endorsed by national and local governments and facilitated by agencies for international co-operation and inter-governmental organizations.
2. LC networks as a success in capacity-building.
The authors' experiences confirm that national life cycle networks are key to successful capacity-building programs.
3. Insufficient number of LCA professionals in the country.
The number of LCA professionals in all countries is low in relation to the size of the population.
4. Gender distribution.
This indicator has not been sufficiently researched in the LCSM field. However, the respective findings of the current study are encouraging. In general, the higher the percentage of women, the better the score concerning the status of mainstreaming conditions. Only in two countries, Argentina and Thailand, did women represent the majority.
5. Presence of LCA in policies.
The cases from Thailand, China, Mexico and Brazil reinforce the results of the status of mainstreaming condition assessment in which these countries rank in the top four. This shows that the use of LCA in policies is possible in emerging and rapidly growing economies.
6. Thailand with favourable LCSM/LCA mainstreaming conditions.
Of the 18 countries researched, Thailand excels in mainstreaming LCA, as it uses LCA-based results in policies on public procurement. However, the authors cannot conclude that LCSM is mainstream in this country. Nevertheless, the case of Thailand demonstrates how far a country with limited resources can go when strong political acceptance is given.
7. Countries with no conditions for mainstreaming.
Countries at the bottom of the ranking are in the position where the others were in 2002. The first step for them is to address awareness-raising events for decision-makers from business as well as municipal and national governments, and basic training for academia and consultants. Support from international organizations is key to assisting these countries in paving the way for the conditions in which mainstreaming LCSM can be envisaged.
Capacity-building programs on LCA/LCM/LCSM are needed to intensify and deepen their activities on a greater pace and to connect them to global programs such as CIP and SLE.
Ongoing international co-operation as well as new forms of inter-regional cooperation are key to improving the conditions for mainstreaming LCSM (UNEP/ SETAC 2015b).
According to current experiences regarding capacity-building and capability development trends, LCM, followed by LCA and footprinting approaches as well as data and database management, appear to be the most sought-after areas of skills development. While LCA appeals more to academia and consultants, LCSM is at the core of what companies are interested in.
Echoing the reflections of Paul Hohnen (2014), more awareness from politicians is essential to boost implementation of LCA in developing countries. Additionally, streamlined communication is needed at all levels. The implementation of LCSM and the tools and data required can no longer be presented as a complicated or expensive approach, but rather as a valuable and powerful management way toward innovation as well smart and responsible decision-making for more sustainable consumption and production (Hohnen 2014).
Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the following for valuable feedback provided during the development of the study and writing of the report: Sohini Gupta (FICCI), David Cozac and Sandra Mendez (EMPA).
Disclaimer The views and opinions expressed in this chapter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations.