Sustainability management has become an essential issue for society and for business organizations. A number of management tools to resolve sustainability issues have been developed, for example, MFCA（Material Flow Cost Accounting）and LCA（Life Cycle Assessment）. Both, MFCA and LCA, have been published as international standards within the ISO 14000 ff Environmental Management framework（ISO14051/2 and ISO14040）. Both approaches differ though considerably in scope, methodology, objective, and result. MFCA focuses mainly on material efficiency of production processes within an organization. LCA concentrates primarily on the environmental relevance of products considering the entire life cycle “from cradle to grave”. While MFCA is part of the Environmental Management Standard, in practice it has been predominantly used to improve cost efficiency. LCA on the other hand has been used to show the environmental impacts along the life cycle of a product, regarding mainly the amount of Green House Gases, not regarding economic effects. But sustainability requests the consideration of all three “bottom lines” simultaneously: the economic, the environmental, and the social. Even though MFCA and LCA differ in many respects, they are linked to each other by a common core element: material（mass）flows and their transformation. Products（regarded by LCA）are the result of transformation or production process（regarded by MFCA）. In this paper, we show some issues of MFCA as a sustainability management tool, based on the international standardizations of ISO14051 and ISO14052. When we try to integrate MFCA with LCA regarding economic, environmental, and social aspects, we first show some of the methodological differences. The possibilities to integrate MFCA and LCA are explained by the case example of a German Solid Biomass Heat and Power Co-Generation Plant, including the calculation of a corporate Carbon Foot Print. While most MFCA case examples focus on an in-company scope this case study covers a wider boundary, from forest to consumers, embracing the entire life cycle. We discuss possibilities to include economic aspects into LCA as well as putting more emphasis on environmental aspects in MFCA. And we consider the analysis of social aspects within such an integrated approach. This paper shows the possibilities to integrate MFCA and LCA in order to develop a comprehensive and efficient tool of sustainability management, for corporate efficiency and for public information purposes.
MFCA is considered a tool for establishing a positive relationship between economy and the environment, a so-called “win-win” relationship. However, this is not as simplistic in practice. MFCA can only partly connect economy with the environment through calculation of waste costs. On the contrary, the economic calculation may prevent environmental improvements with relatively small associated cost reduction. In order to overcome this problem, it is important to evaluate the environmental effects of MFCA; for this purpose, the possibility of integrating MFCA with LCA should be considered. This paper recommends an indirect integration between MFCA and LCA in which the results of MFCA and LCA are not merged, but used separately. In addition, IIRC’s Integrated Reporting framework can be used to develop key performance indicators that may be suggested by this integrated MFCA-LCA model.
The aim of this paper is to investigate how Material Flow Cost Accounting（MFCA）contributes to Green Supply Chain Management（GSCM）and how it relates to Life Cycle Assessment（LCA）. This article shows three merits and two difficulties when incorporating MFCA into GSCM. Both theoretical papers and case studies suggest addressing the problem from the organizational point of view, putting factory managers or product managers in charge of the loss reduction over the supply chain, and allowing a company or a consultant as a leader of GSCM to foster cooperation among companies. Additionally, from the accounting and technological points of view, combining MFCA and LCA may foster GSCM because this combination enables MFCA to consider life-cycle environmental impacts. Moreover, it makes it easier to share MFCA information among companies because the figures of MFCA, which are integrated with LCA, do not show material cost or labor cost directly. Although combining MFCA with LCA helps GSCM, we need more investigations as to how to use this information in decision making.
Challenges of energy efficiency, resource efficiency and in general sustainable development play a more and more important role in corporations and supply chains. In response to these challenges, organizations increasingly reason about implementing life cycle assessment based information instruments. The principal purposes of these instruments are ex post documentation and justification, but there is a growing concern that such an orientation may not be sufficient when the instruments should support internal decision making, in particular with regard to the improvement of internal processes. In the first part of the contribution, we want to develop a specification of a decision support instrument that provides information about the relationship between the improvement of internal processes and interrelated cost reductions and increasing resource efficiency. The second part shows that material flow cost accounting（MFCA）is an appropriate, coherent and stimulating implementation of such a specification. A special feature of MFCA is that it encompasses both the starting position and possible improvements within a single model. The most important keyword in this regard is material loss.
Objective. We propose a new method that can estimate transportation distance in order to enhance calculationof the Carbon Footprint of Products (CFP) even though detailed addresses are not known. When the detailed address of the origin and destination cannot be obtained because of business confidentiality or other reasons, this method substitutes an alternative address, representing an area in which the origin is located, for the detailed address. Using this method, we can control a degree of detail in the address. Results and Discussion. It is often difficult to collect actual addresses for estimation of transportation distance due to business confidentiality and other concerns when calculating CFP. Our method, which estimates transportation distance with controlled precision, is designed in order to overcome these difficulties. Transportation distance is calculated with a web map service. Three address levels with different levels of accuracy are used in this paper. The three address levels are general areas, prefectural areas, and fine city-town areas. CFP data calculated with the proposed method are almost similar to those calculated with detailed address. We also show CFP data that are calculated with a rule of fixed transportation distance. The rule determines a fixed value as the transportation distance based on locations of origin and destination. The rule is often used in Product Category Rules (PCR). The data calculated using our method is closer to the calculated data of the detailed address than that calculated using the fixed transportation distance. Conclusions. Our proposed method can estimate transportation distance when detailed addresses cannot be attained but a general area of the origin can be determined. The method shows better results than the conventional method described in the PCR.
Objective. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the supply of electricity by distributed power and a power interchange operation. The installed capacity of renewable energy systems, which utilize non-exhaustible energy resources, tends to increase with distributed generation. However, the stability of the supply-demand balance has become an issue because the amount of power generated by renewable energy and the power demand vary by location and time. When introducing mass renewable energy systems, it is necessary to stabilize the supply-demand balance to reduce variations in the power interchange. This study evaluated the contribution of power supplied from renewable energy systems, leveraging the power interchange to reduce dependence on the system power supply in the Kinki region of Japan. The power demand from the residential and business sectors and the power generated by renewable energy were estimated using economic statistics, social statistics, and weather observations from the 500 m geographic information system (GIS) grid. (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
Objective. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the environmental performance of solar thermal systems for domestic hot-water supply from life cycle perspective. Energy ratios and life cycle CO2 emissions of two different types of solar thermal system are analyzed, namely, the integrated solar thermal system and the separated solar thermal system that supply 40% of the total hot-water demand of a four people household. This analysis uses the material and energy data collected from eight manufacturers of solar thermal systems to reflect the present reality. Results and Discussion. The analysis shows that the life cycle CO2 emissions of solar thermal systems are 25-37% less than those of domestic gas boilers. Energy ratios of solar thermal systems are more than one, while that of a gas boiler system is 0.9. This is because solar thermal systems require less gas consumption compared to a domestic gas boiler. Moreover, comparison between the two different types of solar thermal systems reveals that the life cycle CO2 emissions and energy consumption of the separated solar thermal system are more than those of the integrated solar thermal system mainly because the separated type consumes electricity for pumps to circulate the heat medium. Furthermore, The effects on CO2 emission of the change in heat supply rate by the solar thermal systems are analyzed. The analysis finds that the more the heat supply rate increases, the less the CO2 emissions of the solar systems are. When the solar thermal systems supply 60% of the total hot-water demand, the life cycle CO2 emissions of solar thermal systems are 25-37% less than in the case of 40% supply. Conclusions. The present study reveals that both the integrated and separated solar thermal system are superior to gas boiler from viewpoints of energy ratios and life cycle CO2 emissions. Furthermore, comparison between the integrated and separated solar thermal system finds the former has better environmental performance than the latter.