Starting in November 2020, the ORIENTING project is a 3-year project that aims to develop a robust, operational methodology for product Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment. The project develops a robust, operational methodology for product Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). The principal value of the project relates to a holistic life-cycle approach that adopts an integrated approach to environmental, social, and economic impacts.
The methodology is applicable for evaluating linear and circular product systems, allowing practitioners to understand and manage possible trade-offs and supporting a societal shift towards a more sustainable and circular economy.
Sustainable development and the circular economy require balancing environmental, economic, and social benefits while decoupling economic growth from resource use. The European Green New Deal highlights the need for reliable, comparable, and verifiable sustainability information. Existing sustainability assessment approaches need more comprehensiveness, consistency, and practical tools for implementation. This results in fragmented and scarcely comparable information on product sustainability performance.
The ORIENTING project strives to develop a future Product Sustainability Footprint at the European level, evolving the existing Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and designing new indicators for evaluating material criticality and product circularity. New tools will be developed to support and simplify methodological application in business and policy development. Tools include guidance and training materials, data and software specifications, and a hands-on Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) IT tool. Five industrial case studies demonstrate the LCSA methodology and its enabling tools. The consortium works closely with various stakeholders (industry associations and clusters, SMEs, consumer organizations, and governmental and standardization bodies).
The project outcomes will enable informed business decisions and contribute to developing a level playing field – a single market – for products based on robust (i.e., transparent and verifiable) sustainability information.
The ORIENTING EU project is structured around different work packages, approaching various aspects of work towards developing a Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) methodology. Using its expertise in life cycle inventories, the data needs of life cycle-based sustainability assessments, and data and database management, the ecoinvent association assists or participates in most work packages.
Further, the association leads the task of creating an exhaustive ontology to facilitate interoperability between information resources, databases, and simulation software within the LCSA domain.