Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a technique used to evaluate how products and technologies contribute to environmental impacts from a life cycle perspective (eg. from cradle-to-grave, or from raw material extraction through materials processing, product manufacturing, distribution, use, and final disposal). LCA can also be applied to a business or public sector agency in order to evaluate the environmental performance of its operations. Such an analysis is called organizational LCA (O-LCA). This course will enable students to use the O-LCA method to evaluate the environmental impact of organizations from a life cycle perspective (i.e. from cradle-to-grave). Students will develop a ground-up understanding of O-LCA based on the International Standard Organization (ISO) 14000 series of environmental management standards and how they can be applied to organizations in different sectors of the economy. The course will also demonstrate industry best-practices through case studies, including a first-hand account of the recent international road test of the Life Cycle Initiative’s (an organization of the United Nations Environment Program/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) Guidance on O-LCA, and discussion on social LCA, and integrated environmental impact-financial cost analysis.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
Understand ISO requirements and guidelines for the application of LCA.
Identify major organizations involved in the development of LCA practice.
Interpret and provide critical review of O-LCA studies and claims to sustainability.
Operate Open IO-Canada tool.
Develop excel-based O-LCA model.
Use O-LCA to inform and communicate sustainable organization management.
Effective as of Fall 2017
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