An LCA has been developed as a tool to evaluate the environmental aspects of the products. However, the applications to evaluate the environmental aspect of the organization using the method of LCA have been paid attention recently, which might be divided into two types of the methods. One is the method to focus only on the greenhouse gasses（GHGs）,（i.e. Carbon Footprint of Organization or Organizational Carbon Footprint）, and another is the method to evaluate the multi environmental aspects of the organization（i.e. LCA of Organization or Organizational LCA）. The former should include Scope 3 by GHG protocol of WRI/WBCSD and ISO-TR-14069（2013）, and in the latter Organizational Environmental Footprint promoted by EC-DG.Environment and ISO/TS 14072（2014）should be included. The current situation of the activities related to the above methodologies in the world is introduced, and the structure of this special issue associated with that background is introduced in this paper.
Purpose. The Organisation Environmental Footprint（OEF）of the European Commission（EC）measures the environmental impacts of organisations based on a life cycle approach. It aims to ensure no important issues are overlooked both throughout the value chain and regarding relevant environmental areas. It was developed responding to policy requests to establish a common methodological approach to measure and communicate the environmental performance of organisations.
Methods. The OEF provides the possibility for a more “top down” approach versus a product-centered approach like the Product Environmental Footprint（PEF）, making data collection easier and requiring less effort. The ongoing three-year pilot phase ending in December 2016 is exploring the development of more specific Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules（OEFSRs）.
Results and discussion. The Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules（OEFSRs）will lead to increased specificity, relevance and robustness of the assessments while at the same time striving for simplifications versus the OEF general guide. Simplification can be achieved e.g. by pre-identifying relevant life cycle stages and environmental impacts on a sector specific level, focusing the work on what matters most.
Conclusions. There is far less experience available on organisation-level assessment of life cycle environmental performance compared to the assessment of products. The pilot is an occasion to test this novel approach. This also and especially applies to the question if and how far comparability between organisations within the same sector providing similar products and services can be achieved. Considerations on whether to take any policy action is expected to take place starting from 2017 based on the results of the pilot phase, its peer review and evaluation.
The Product Environmental Footprint（PEF）methodology, published in 2013 by the European Commission, is a life cycle based multi-criteria measure of the environmental performance of products and services and aims at harmonizing existing methods, while decreasing the flexibility provided by ISO standards regarding methodological choices. Within the pilot phase the method is applied and tested for 25 product categories. The idea of a harmonized, life cycle based method enabling comparisons of products/organizations within the same product category/sector is principally good. However, it is accompanied by various risks and challenges and is controversially discussed by organizations, associations, science etc. The Chair of Sustainable Engineering at Technische Universität Berlin（TUB）was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Environment and the German Federal Environmental Agency to follow and assess the PEF process in order to establish the German position to it. This included for example a thorough analysis comparing ISO 14044 and PEF/OEF methodology. Some results of this analysis were published in the International Journal of LCA2）. Another result of this project is a first position paper on the general PEF methodology which was prepared by TUB and submitted to the European Commission and all member states. This position paper is attached here.
The UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative launched in 2013 the flagship project “LCA of organizations”. It aims to show that, although life cycle approach was originally considered for products, its application on organizations is relevant, meaningful and already feasible within the framework of product LCA standards. The centerpiece of the project is the so-called organizational life cycle assessment（O-LCA）that is a compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and potential environmental impacts of the activities associated with the organization adopting a life-cycle-perspective. The methodology follows the four-phase approach of the product LCA, with some specificity at the scope and inventory level. The project is organized in three main tasks. Tasks 1 and 2 have been devoted to the preparation of a Guidance document. The Guidance builds on existing internationally-agreed guides, methods and standards on the assessment of the environmental performance of organizations, and particularly strives to align with the upcoming ISO/TS 14072. To date, more than 100 participants have contributed to the drafting and consolidation of the document, and eleven early experiences in companies were included. During the third task, to start in spring 2015. the Guidance will be road-tested in real organizations. This paper aims to show an overview of the flagship project, the Guidance and the O-LCA concept.
Objective. The objective of this study is to propose an optional calculation method for category 2（capital goods）of GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard1） for the manufacturing industry.
Results and Discussion. The Technical Guidance of Scope 3 Standard2）does not describe the calculation method concerning the cases of selling capital goods or buying second-hand capital goods. Using the approach toward recycled materials described in Category 5, we explored a method of calculating Category 2 emissions for cases involving second-hand capital goods. As a result, we concluded that avoided emissions associated with reusing can be optionally counted in the calculation by subtracting the value of emissions based on the selling price when the product is sold second-hand. Purchasing/Selling prices of capital goods are indicated in cashflow statements. In purchasing capital goods, Category 2 emissions are calculated based on the purchasing price, and the emissions according to the remaining value（selling price）will be subtracted when being sold. This method is reasonable in that the buyer of the second-hand goods calculates Category 2 emissions using this subtracted value（i.e. purchasing price）which is regarded as the remaining amount of upstream emissions corresponding to the economic value of those second-hand capital goods at that point. In this way, Category 2 emissions relating to second-hand capital goods can be calculated easily.
Conclusions. The current work showed avoided emissions of capital goods associated with reusing should be counted in the calculation by subtracting the value of emissions based on the selling price when the capital goods is sold second-hand.
Objective. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of a variation of the calculation of methods for category 11（use of sold products）of Scope 3 standard. In recent years, quantitative evaluation methods of GHG and other environmental impacts on the entire value chain of the organization, such as Scope 3 initiated by GHG protocol initiative, related ISO standards and environmental footprint of the organization proposed by EU, have been developed. Increasingly, more companies have disclosed the information on GHG emissions of the organization based on these methods. This study, by applying calculating GHG for supply chain of electronics, examines category 11 especially, focusing changes in the calculation results in different situation.
Results and Discussion. The impacts on the result were due to the difference in calculation methods and operation scenario. In addition, evaluation result is largely dependent on selection of database, especially different GHG emission factors of electricity.
Conclusions. This study showed that the calculation methods and database for electricity to be applied are the key aspects to be harmonized for comparison. Intended comparability among the same industry sector, which is discussed in EU’s Organization Environmental Footprint（OEF）, may be too idealistic in the current situation. More discussion is needed with sufficient samples toward standardization for comparative analysis.
Objective. Recently, the CO2 emission of organization such as Scope 3 has been disclosed by many companies in Japan, partly because they have to report it to the rating organization such as CDP. In this context, the company that provide products（material, parts, etc）and service have to disclose the CO2 emission of their products and/or service to their customers. As Sun Messe Co., Ltd. Japan is a printing company, the CO2 emission was caused mainly by used paper and energy consumption for printing, which should be allocated to customers. In this paper the difference of the results by allocation methods were introduced.
Results and Discussion. The total amount of the CO2 emissions of Sun Messe Co., Ltd. was 78,736 t-CO2 in 2012, which was allocated by the following three allocation methods. Case 0 was based on the sales, which was introduced as the most popular method in the guidance of Scope 3. Case 1, Case 2 and Case 3 were based on the product quantity, the cost of printing paper and the weight of printing paper respectively. As the examples of the customers, three companies were selected. The main products of company A, B and C are flyers for sales promotion, books, and direct mails, respectively. The allocation results by three cases were completely different. However, if the CO2 emissions should be allocated by the physical background, the allocation method based on the weight of printing paper might be recommended.
Conclusions. In the guidance of Scope 3, the allocation method based on the sales is popular, but the characteristics of the works of the company should be reflected. Moreover, it should be agreed with the customer.
For the purpose of understanding difference of supply chain GHG（Green House Gas）emissions（Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 Emissions）among sectors, the ratio of supply chain emissions of each company is analyzed using the Data that the company submitted to CDP in 2014 and have agreed to their data being made publicly available.
Objective. The objective of this study is to consider the methodology to assess emissions of category 11（use of sold products）of Scope 3 in case of information and communication technology（ICT）solutions and services based on the data and experiences of assessment of more than 300 solutions and services using the environmental impact assessment method developed by Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. in 2004.
Results and Discussion. Both direct and indirect use-phase emissions was assessed based on the emission factor per revenue. It is proposed to develop emission factors per ICT solutions and services categories as the way to improve accuracy of result. It’s also envisaged that the method described in this article could assess avoided emissions by comparative analysis with the reference scenario without ICT solutions and services. Consolidating guidance and emission factors for ICT solutions and services will help to improve the result of assessment.
It will be advantageous for LCA practitioners to assert the contribution of their new products to the avoidance of environmental impacts compared to the current/past situations. In fact, some methods for estimating the contribution of products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions（GHGs）have been developed and proposed by several industrial associations from the viewpoints of specific sectors（e.g. chemical, electrical and electronics）. Some local governments also encourage industries to quantify and assess the contribution by publishing guidelines. On the other hand, there is still no consensus on the methodology to assess the effectiveness of so-called green products in terms of reducing environmental impacts. A study group was established in the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan on January 2014 to discuss about the crucial issues and build up the guidance for practitioners to assess avoided GHGs of their products based on scientific knowledge of experts. The study group drafted the summary of the discussion as “Guidline for assessing contribution of products on avoided greenhouse gas emissions”, and it was approved as the official paper of the Institute of LCA, Japan on February, 2015. The background of the activities related to assess the avoidance of GHGs of the products was introduced in this paper, and the personal opinion as the chairman of the study group to the guideline was also introduced.
In recent years, certain methodologies using LCA-based approaches to calculate avoided GHG emissions have been proposed in Japan. For instance, methodologies to calculate avoided GHG emissions from the products manufactured by the chemical industry and the electrical and electronics industry have been proposed. Also, Kawasaki City and Shiga Prefecture have established programs which calculate avoided GHG emissions and which incorporate the results in their planning and reporting systems designed to stimulate the regional industry. This move has taken place elsewhere as well. For instance, the International Council of Chemical Associations（ICCA）and the chemical sector of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development（WBCSD）have published guidelines on how to calculate avoided emissions, and the GHG Protocol have reviewed the methodologies. Globally, the interest in those methodologies is increasing. However, the methodologies currently proposed are specific to certain industries, and at present there’s no consensus on the methodologies. Given this background, and together with examples of the guidelines developed by the respective industries and local governments as well as the concepts on GHG emission reduction contribution methods, the Study Group on avoided greenhouse gas emissions, set up within the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment Japan, have debated what the best evaluation methods should be and published the “Guidelines for assessing contribution of products on avoided greenhouse gas emissions”. The Calculation Guidelines are explained in details in this paper.
While depressing greenhouse gas emissions has become a common target for human society to tackle climate change, it may not necessarily be efficient that all of the sectors aim to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by only themselves from the aspect of investment efficiency. When an intermediate product（like a semi-conductor）is developed to achieve high performance, production of the intermediate product may emit more emissions than conventional ones. Meanwhile it may achieve to reduce emissions after being incorporated into final products due to its high performance. Thus, such efforts on technological development should be appropriately evaluated and life cycle thinking will play a very significant role in the assessment of the contribution to avoided emissions. At this point, the published “Guideline for assessing contribution of products on avoided greenhouse gas emissions” by the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan will be helpful for practitioners to understand the principle and framework for the assessment. On the other hand, there will be more specific points at issue for assessing contribution on avoided greenhouse gas emissions in practice because the targets of the assessment may be varied types of products not only final products but also intermediate materials/parts and services. In this article, important points to be discussed are raised and outlined by mainly focusing on the procedure of the assessment. Regarding intermediate products（materials/parts）, identifying final products and functional unit is very influential in the results of the assessment as same as the estimation of amounts of final products in use and contribution rate of the target. In the case of durable final products, the definition of base-line may particularly lead to high uncertainty of the results because of the diversity of final products for comparison. In terms of data collection, the fairness in collecting background and foreground data shall be completely assured for both of target products and base-line. In addition, these processes shall be transparently explained in reporting phase. Application in practice will be expected to deepen discussions about points raised in this article.
Objective. Woody biomass has attracted considerable attention as a power generation system that utilizes wood resources. The woody biomass power generation system is expected to reduce carbon emissions and, by necessitating forest management for the purpose of wood chip supply, to increase primary production of forests. This paper describes the development of evaluation models for forest management and shows the environmental impact of introducing the woody biomass power generation system in terms of Japanese red pine forest management. In this study, influence of primary production, CO2 emissions and land use are calculated based on the “Life cycle Impact assessment Method based on Endpoint modeling 2 (LIME2)” methodology. The targeted forest comprises Japanese red pines, 30, 40, 50 and 65 years old. Management plans catering to each forest age bracket are set according to the logging area in accordance with the forest management guidelines. The management period of these plans is 20 years with two management methods, forest-thinning and final cutting. Results and Discussion. The evaluation results made it clear that forest management had a much greater effect in terms of CO2 emission and land use. Comparison of the environmental improvement rate per unit area in each plan shows that forest-thinning and final cutting have a similar effect when a forest is 30 and 40 years old, but that just final cutting is more effective for a forest aged 50 and 65 years. Conclusions. This study indicates that the forest management effect is greater than the CO2 emissions reduction effect. The process of supplying wood chips for the power generation system is judiciously planned considering forest age and characteristics, and is an important part of reducing environmental impacts.
Objective. Photovoltaic (PV) power systems are considered an essential component of environmental friendly society. However, the land area required for generating unit amount of power by PV system is larger than that for an equivalent coal-fired power system. In Japan there has been some instances of PV power systems being installed in forest areas. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the impact of PV power systems on Japanese forests. Forest vegetation is classified into the 13 types used in the “Life cycle Impact assessment Method based on Endpoint modeling 2 (LIME2)” methodology. This will allow us to establish the relationship between the reduced CO2 emissions of a PV power system and the system’s impact on forest by way of land use, compared with those of coal-fired power system. Results and Discussion. The environmental impact of a PV power system installed on a roof was calculated as 6.3% of the impact of a coal-fired power system. In contrast, placing the PV power system in oak or pine forest had a substantially greater environmental impacts, of 76.7% and 99.9% respectively. Following sensitivity analysis, it became apparent that the area required by a PV power system per generated unit of power is the most important factor. For example, with regard to the oak forest, the environmental impact of the PV power system can be reduced from 99.9% to 74.2% by decreasing the area required per generated unit of power from 15,200m2/MW to 11,000m2/MW. A further improvement of 5.8% can be achieved by planting grass under PV panels. Conclusions. LIME2 damage factors were used to classify land use impact for 13 vegetational types of Japanese forest. From the calculated results, it is clear that the environmental impact of PV power system land use on a forest should not be disregarded; however, the level of that impact will depend on the vegetational classification. Furthermore, reducing the utilization rate of the PV power system is an effective way to lessen the impact of land use.