Microeconomic sustainability assessment

A3_graphic_web_relaunchSustainability has achieved acceptance in all parts of society. Scientific assessment methods for measuring sustainability, which are needed to put the sustainability concept into practice, still remain to be defined. Therefore the indicators developed within the A2 project serve as a foundation to implement scientific and practical methodologies within value chains. The A3 project, in this case, focuses on the microeconomic assessment of products and processes, complementary to project A4 focusing on the macroeconomic assessment.
A proposed methodology is Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA), which aims to assess sustainability performances of product life cycles, from the extraction of raw materials, over the manufacturing, use, transport, recycling and reuse phase to the end of life. Therefore, the environmental dimension, via Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the economic dimension via Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and the social dimension via social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) are included.
To verify the applicability of the LCSA framework, practical case studies has been performed in cooperation with the subprojects A4, A5, A6, C1, C4, C5 and the B-groups in the fields of mobility (bicycles and pedelecs), production (LeG²O machine tool frames and welding technologies), and turbo machines (turning technologies for turbine parts). Within the practical case studies, the comparative hotspots of manufacturing are identified for further improvements towards sustainable manufacturing. Also, the results of the LCSA are provided to the A4 project to estimate the macroeconomic effects of manufacturing improvements on a regional and global scale. Those contributions provide valuable knowledge to support industry and governments in further research, process development, and decision making.
In addition, the challenges of the current LCSA framework are also recognized, like the different maturity level of the implemented environmental, social and economic assessment methods. Further, the developed approaches need enhancement to reach a general applicability and to achieve an integrated sustainability assessment model. To address these challenges, further research focuses on the implementation of advanced social and economic impacts and of comprehensive data sources for the social dimension. In addition, regional scenarios will be adopted and indicators will be implemented with addressing different countries in order to achieve a valid sustainability assessment model accommodating globalized value chains.

Learn more about challenges, approach and results of project A3 in this Powerpoint presentation