The circular economy requires transparent and verifiable information on sustainability
Sustainable development and the circular economy require a balance between environmental and social benefits and the uncoupling of economic growth from the use of resources. To do so, reliable, comparable and verifiable information on the sustainability of products is necessary, as stated in the “European New Green Deal”. Existing approaches lack comprehensiveness and coherence and do not have the practical tools for their implementation, generating fragmented and incomparable information on the sustainability of products.
The ORIENTING initiative, led by TECNALIA, faces this challenge and is developing a solid and operational methodology for the life-cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA) of products and services. Innovation in this approach lies with the integrated consideration of the environmental, social and economic impacts. The aim of this methodology is to assess the products produced under linear and circular business models, enabling professionals to understand and manage the possible alternatives.
Within the framework of this initiative, various relevant agents in the circular economy (TECNALIA, UGENT, VTT, FRAUNHOFER, ECOINNOVAZIONE, PRE, EIFER, UCA, ECOINVENT, LAVOLA, ECOPRENEUR, ACLIMA, BASF, TERNUA, STORA ENSO and SOLANA) met at our centre to design new indicators for the assessment of the criticality of the materials and the circularity of the products; and to develop new tools to support and simplify methodological use in business and politics, such as orientation and training materials, data specifications and software, and a practical IT tool for LCSA.
The methodology and support tools will be applied in five industrial case studies which will act as demonstrators. In order to ensure their feasibility, the consortium is working in close cooperation with industrial associations and clusters, SMEs, consumer organisations, and government and standardisation bodies.
The results of the project will enable complicated business decisions to be made and will contribute towards the same game rules for all: a single market for products based on robust sustainability information, or in other words, information that is transparent and verifiable.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 958231.