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Identification, categorization and life cycle validation


Indicators which reflect environmental, economic, health and safety issues, have been categorized as microecometrics and macroecometrics. The former, generally flow based measures, have been developed for local, firm-wide or product based assessments. Microecometrics include materials intensity, energy consumption and emissions data, often from life cycle perspectives. They are, generally, intensive and are scaled with respect to unit of production, GDP or per capita, though other normalization factors have been proposed. In contrast macroecometrics tend to be extensive and represent global conditions such as temperatures and environmental concentrations. Ecometrics are subjective and reflect the dominant value of the individual, family unit, stakeholder group or firm. As such overaggregating or reducing the number of ecometrics for given applications, such as the rating of investments or access to credit, presents potential conflicts. Furthermore, while eco-indicators used for internal corporate reporting should not, necessarily, be validated, those microecometrics which involve external reporting, or multiple stakeholders, are arbitrary if not derived from, or based on, comprehensive life cycle approaches.

This paper summarizes ECOMETRICS’98, a workshop held in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 19–20, 1998. It discusses ecometric needs of various users including consumers, designers, private sector decision makers as well as politicians and policy makers. A discussion regarding appropriate microecometrics for industrial sectors including chemical, pharmaceutical, insurance, finance, electronics, manufacturing and consumer products is also summarized.

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Correspondence to Gautam Biswas or Roland Clift or Gary Davis or John Ehrenfeld or Ruth Förster or Olivier Jolliet or Ivo Knoepfel or Urs Luterbachcr or David Russell or David Hunkeler.

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Biswas, G., Clift, R., Davis, G. et al. Ecometrics. Int. J. LCA 3, 184–190 (1998).

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  • Eco-indicators
  • Ecometrics
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Life Cycle Management
  • Sustainable Development