Box 20.1: A Practical Example: Renault's Efforts to Inform Their Consumers About Their Life Cycle Management Work

To operationalize its commitment to the environment, Renault is using the life cycle management approach, focussing especially on incorporating sustainability concerns into the design and manufacturing process as well as the use phase of the car and its end-of-life treatment. In order to assess its cars' environmental performance, Renault conducts LCAs, such as, for example, for its Fluence

Z.E. The LCA as well as its critical review is publicly available from Renault's website, as are brief introductions into the LCM and LCA concepts.

To help its consumers identify easily which of its cars have the best environmental credentials and are also the most economical to drive, Renault introduced in 2007 the Eco2 label. The label is based on Renault's environmental policy and on the analysis of the impact of their cars in the three key stages of their cars' life cycle:

• Manufacturing: Eco2 vehicles must be built in ISO 14001-certified plants

• Utilization: Eco2 vehicles must emit less than 120 g of CO2/km

• Recycling: 7 % of the plastic in Eco2 vehicles must come from recycling and Eco2 vehicles must be 85 % recyclable

Renault's application of life cycle management and life cycle assessment concepts thus helps it to provide interested customers with an internationally accepted and scientifically sound decision-making basis when making purchasing decisions (Renault 2015).

As outlined in other chapters of this book, to be successful, life cycle information needs to be applied on a significantly larger scale to have an impact in management decisions. Only then the goal to enhance sustainability efforts and eventually achieve regeneration will be successful. Essentially following the vision of “A sustainable global society where life cycle approaches are established and decision makers have fully integrated them into their regular decision making processes.” To this end it is understood that life cycle approaches contribute to the overall goal of a sustainable society through providing data and knowledge for:

• Reducing a product's resource use and emissions to the environment, and improving its social and socio-economic performance throughout its life cycle

• Enabling consumers to choose more sustainable products

• Information policy to optimize trade-offs

• Influencing and validating choices for disruptive improvements, such as new economic models or radical technology, to move towards possibilities to regenerate the system and not only be “less bad”, but towards “more good”

However, for life cycle approaches to make a significant contribution to sustainability, they need to be used in a massive and systematic way, especially by companies and businesses within a framework and infrastructure provided by governments. Success will be when there is a broad understanding of the concepts around life cycle thinking by the general public and when these concepts are integrated into decisions by organizations in a systematic way through life cycle management (for example, integrated into standard design software or purchasing criteria).

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