3.7.4 Complementary material: Assessing CRM through the LCA framework

Course subject(s) Module 3. Analysis

Assessing CRM through the LCA framework

Performing a Life Cycle Assessment to assess the environmental impacts of CRM has some challenges, as was discussed during the lecture. This document presents additional material that illustrates the nature of these challenges and what is being done to overcome them.

A. Quantifying CRM in LCA

Due to the significant variation in ways to apply an LCA assessment, the European Commission released in 2013 the International reference of Life Cycle Data (ILCD) series. In this document, it is suggested that resources should be assessed under the resource depletion impact category.

Although the assessment of resource scarcity is generally accepted under this category, it is challenging to compare the outcome given that the definition of the category is not standardized. Several frameworks have been proposed to assess resource depletion, as can be seen in figure 2. The different methods vary according to the resource being evaluated and the level at which it is studied.

The lack of a consensus in the way resources are included in an LCA is problematic when performing one. However, the ILCD provides a guideline on which method to use according to each of the categories depicted in figure 2.

Figure 2: Overview of methods of classification for resource depletion. Source. ILCD (2013)