Life cycle assessment（LCA）is utilized as a voluntary environmental management tool in industries, rather than enforced by the Japanese government. And then, still a number of companies have not introduced LCA into their business activities yet. The object of this commentary is to clarify key points of LCA introduction into company’s business activities. The article discusses 7 aspects;（1）goal definition,（2）introduction procedure and company’s structure,（3）timing of LCA implementation,（4）setting system boundary,（5）data collection from suppliers,（6）communication of LCA result and（7）reliability, workload and cost. In each aspect, general key points are addressed, but a product characteristic and business custom is varied in industries. An appropriate usage of LCA must be also varied. It is hoped that a user-friendly and cost-effective LCA application methodology in industries is sophisticated.
Objective. The objective of this paper is to provide information that help LCA case studies from the perspective of the environmental labels.
Results and Discussion. Our association has two environmental label businesses. One is type Ⅲ environmental declaration program as "Eco-Leaf", the other is a CFP communication program. It is intended to publish the LCA results in both the program, based on the PCR, we performed LCA. PCR is a rule for the implementation of LCA decided in each product category, and is formulated in accordance with ISO standard（ISO14025）. These PCRs have been published total 100 or higher already. Labels based on these PCRs have been published more than 1,000 already. In this description, to describe the results obtained by examining the contents of the PCR thereof. In other words, how to determine 1）scope for target product, 2）the method and scope for data collection, 3）calculation method, 4）for easy information disclosure and understand, was introduced by using a specific example.
Conclusions. The results are information beneficial for the LCA case studies, and hope in the various product groups.
Objective. We report the development process and future prospects of “Infrastructure LCA” that National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management, NILIM in Japan, has developed.
Results and Discussion. Infrastructure LCA is a methodology to calculate the CO2 emissions associated with social structure improvement. The characteristics of this method are the following:（1）this method consists of environmental impact formulas and environmental load units,（2）the formulas and load units are constructed at each stage of the decision-making of infrastructure development,（3）types of load units of construction materials are various. By using the Infrastructure LCA, we have calculated that the CO2 emissions of a tunnel construction can be reduced by 3% by exchanging from conventional construction technology to low-carbon construction technology. Also we have estimated to reduce approximately 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions without additional expenses by spreading 26 low-carbon construction technologies to various the social structure constructions. At the present, we are supporting builders and administrative officers through the dissemination of Infrastructure LCA. In the future, we are planning to study for more convenient Infrastructure LCA and to develop the calculation methods of CO2 emissions in service stage of infrastructure.
Conclusions. NILIM has developed Infrastructure LCA, a methodology to calculate the CO2 emissions of infrastructure. Previous studies have confirmed effectiveness of Infrastructure LCA. We plan to study of the spread and the advancement of Infrastructure LCA.
Objective. To validate effectiveness of a simplified calculation method of CO2 emission at a raw materials procurement stage using raw materials indication on the label of processed food which is obligated by JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) and also using secondary data covering domestic products. The validation aims to promote assessment of products environmental load and environmental influence by calculating CO2 emission (LC-CO2) through the total life cycle in the processed food manufacturing industry. Materials and Methods. On two frozen processed foods, frozen pork cutlet and frozen grilled rice ball, the inventory data (primary data) of raw materials are developed based on items of raw material indication following JAS. The primary data is connected to the unit requirement of CO2 emission (called “IDEA unit requirement” hereafter) compiled in LCA inventory database IDEA (Inventory Database for Environmental Analysis), and CO2 emission in the procurement stage of food raw materials excluding packaging material and transportation process is calculated. (We will call the above method as “JAS raw materials indication application method” hereafter.) At the same time, more detail raw materials inventory is developed based on product recipe used for product producing as an ideal calculation model based on primary data, then the same calculation as described above is done (called “the Recipe application method” hereafter), and quantitative assessment is done on analysis precision of “JAS raw materials indication application method” by comparing calculated value of the both method. Additionally, qualitative comparison is done throughout the total life cycle. In conjunction with these activities, the conformance of the above raw material inventory and the IDEA unit requirement is analyzed by each inventory items, and the ratio of matching cases where IDEA unit requirement and the inventory item matches is compared between “JAS raw materials indication application method” and “the Recipe application method”. (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
Objective. The objective of this paper is to describe a case study of carbon footprint of food in a supermarket. The supermarket conducted an activity of the carbon footprint of food with many food companies. We describe the activity that involves collecting data, calculating the carbon footprint of food, and exhibiting the results. Results and Discussion. We started to study the carbon footprint of food in 2008. The carbon footprint of 16 food products were exhibited in supermarkets of CO-OP Sapporo in 2010. The results have been revised three times until 2012. The number of the exhibited food was 37 in 2012. We organized a system with food companies in Hokkaido to calculate the carbon footprint of food. We designed a data acquisition sheet for food companies who were not familiar to the carbon footprint. We collected data of food in the food companies with the data acquisition sheet. We calculated the carbon footprint based on the data acquisition sheet. The carbon footprint has been shown in supermarkets by using Point Of Purchase (POP) advertising. The POP advertising is easy for the supermarket to show the carbon footprint to consumers because the POP advertising is under their own responsibility. On the other hand, it is difficult for consumers to notice the carbon footprint. There are a lot of products, about 30,000 items, in a supermarket and the number of the carbon footprint was too small. Conclusions. This paper described an approach to show the carbon footprint of food in supermarkets. We expected that the carbon footprint of food in supermarkets is a good method to appeal the global warming and the carbon footprint of products to consumers. We realized the system to collect and calculate the carbon footprint with the food companies. Our method in which we use POP advertising is one of the ways to show the carbon footprint in the own responsibility of the supermarket. Our approach has some good features to realize the carbon footprint, but revealed problems for consumers to recognize the carbon footprint in supermarkets.
Objective. Japan is increasingly becoming a society with fewer children, higher proportions of elderly citizens, and growing numbers of working women and nuclear families. These changes have driven a shift from cloth diapers to disposable diapers. By 2010, 95% of infants and 85% of adults who used diapers used disposable rather than cloth diapers. Nevertheless, due to factors associated with comfort, environmental issues, and benefits during diaper training, entrenched demand for cloth diapers remains. Use of cloth diapers is generally more time-intensive. Cloth diaper rental services offer consumers who choose to use cloth diapers the promise of greater convenience. Our study used data collected from three diaper rental plants covering the period from February 2010 through April 2012. We performed LCI analysis for individual processes in two different washing systems to assess the GHG emissions generated by cloth diaper rental services. Results and Discussion. For the cloth diaper rental industry, the results showed that regardless of differences between washing systems, the gas used to fuel the central steam boilers at the plants accounted for the largest proportion of overall GHG emissions, followed by electricity. For a system involving 12 continuous washing machines, the gas used to heat the washing water accounted for the greatest proportion of GHG emissions. For fully-automatic batch washing systems, the gas used for drying accounted for the greatest proportion of GHG emissions. Processes associated with dry cleaning shirts on the one hand and laundering rental cloth diapers on the other generated comparable levels of GHG emissions. Conclusions. The results of our study suggest that improved boiler efficiency may be a key factor in reducing GHG emissions. Comparisons of GHG emissions for disposable diapers and cloth diaper rentals showed no clear advantages or disadvantages for one or the other.
Objective. Both scenario development and Life Cycle Assessment（LCA）are seen as useful methods to envision sustainable society. Through developing a scenario, scenario developers can clarify future possibilities, obstacles, and opportunities to achieve futures. LCA provides a comprehensive understanding about the social, environmental, or industrial systems. The purpose of this paper is to survey the history and current trend of the studies about scenario development and discuss relationships between scenario development and LCA. In this paper, we classify the studies about scenario development into the following two categories; studies about the scenario development methods and developing specific scenarios.
Results and Discussion. In detail, the scenario development processes categorized as follows; forecasting/backcasting, qualitative/quantitative, and participative/non-participative. In forecasting, developers explore the futures from the present situation, while in backcasting, developers depict the ideal future visions at first, followed by drawing the transition paths from the visions to the present. Participative processes are also a current trend, in which various stakeholders are invited to the scenario development processes. Stakeholder participation is useful for diversifying the contents of scenarios and by exchanging various points of view. Participative scenario development is a trial to combine democratic decision making with scenario development. A number of scenario development techniques are proposed for support developing, elaborating, and evaluating a scenario. Often, some of these techniques are integrated into scenario development processes. Many of existing scenarios are developed in forecasting processes combines qualitative and quantitative elements. LCA can be used as a tool in quantitative processes in scenario development. A number of current LCA studies includes several scenarios to tackle future uncertainty.
Conclusions. As sustainability problems are becoming serious, there are growing needs for scenario development for making decisions about research and development, policy making, and dissemination of sustainable technologies. Development of global LCA databases, a current trend of LCA studies, encourages applying LCA to global scale scenario developments. LCA combined with scenario approach is used for many sub problems of sustainability problems. Communication and outreach to citizens are essential for taking actions to achieve the sustainable futures envisioned through scenario development. Namely, studies to translate the professional perspectives into understandable form for citizens and to show the rationales of the futures depicted in the scenario are required. Participative scenario development processes are examples of such studies.
Objective. The objective of this paper is to survey the empirical studies examining how Corporate Social Responsibility（CSR）has been evaluated in the financial market, and compare the estimated results of Japanese market with those of the US and the UK. Different methodologies, research periods and topics were examined in previous studies, therefore, we surveyed and summarised those results to grasp trends of effects of CSR activities on firms. We also reveal what tasks should be analysed for further research. Furthermore, we clarify and discuss the possible factors for the differences between Japan, the US, and the UK by comparing the results of the research.
Results and Discussion. We concluded that CSR activities do not affect stock prices in the mid- and long-term even though the estimated results are shown as being positive in the Japanese markets. From the point of view of the short-run impact, a positive reaction toward the CSR-related news, including environmental news, has been observed more clearly in recent years. The trends for US and European markets have been similar to the trends in the Japanese case. We also discussed other possible benefits of implementing CSR activities other than impacts on financial assets. These benefits are “attracting excellent human resources” and “increased productivity of employees”. Although these benefits could be one of greatest factors affecting the firms, few researchers have examined them. Therefore, we determined them to be topics that should be further analysed.
Conclusions. We summarised empirical studies of if and how CSR is evaluated in the financial markets of Japan and Western countries. It is concluded that investors in these markets have not greatly appreciated the socially responsible behaviours of firms in the mid- and long-term. On the other hand, CSR-related announcements, including environmental news, had positive impacts on stock prices in Japanese markets. During recent years, investors in Western markets have reacted to CSR-related announcements but the statistical significance of the reaction depends on the literature. Additionally, an announcement that a firm was removed from the SRI Index had a greater impact on stock prices than an announcement that a firm was included in the index. The possible reason could be that CSR-related activities are not considered to be important by Western investors.
Objective. It is necessary to recycle the waste from fish processing and to evaluate its environmental impact in order to improve the sustainable marine products industry. Thus, we evaluated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, one of the environmental impacts, of recycling the waste from fish processing from the composting to the end-use steps. We evaluated the process of conventional composting, the production of fish-meal fertilizer, disposal and acidulocomposting that is a novel eco-friendly composting system. Results and Discussion. In our evaluations, it was determined that the acidulocomposting process needs larger amounts of energy for heating the fermentation system than normal composting. The amount of energy required in acidulocomposting is almost same as that required in the manufacture of fish-meal fertilizer. The ammonia volatilization and CO2 emission in the acidolocomposting process are much lower than those in conventional composting. The proportion of GHG emissions from transportation and spraying to the recycling processes were low in all cases. The acidulocompost has much higher nitrogen content than the conventional compost because of low ammonia volatilization. Therefore, it can be used across larger areas than conventional compost from an equivalent amount of waste from fish processing. In addition, the GHG emission from the case of disposal is the largest, compared to the rest. Conclusions. Acidulocomposting needs large amounts of energy for heating the fermentation system but has low GHG emissions from composting. Moreover, acidulocompost has large nitrogen content. Acidulocomposting may be suitable for recycling the waste from the sustainable marine products industry.